Re: The Friendly Skies meets "Schedule Suntan", Fwd: Nekkid Air

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Thu Dec 27 2001 - 16:04:04 MST

Mike Lorrey wrote:
mplicit trust of people appearing in western guise.
> This is a blatant attack on the foundations of trust that keep our
> society open and free. Frankly I highly dislike advocating the policies
> of temporary limited repression I currently do, but I see little
> alternative other than to just sit there and accept further attack as a
> cost of being free and open. I want to go back to trusting others again.
> This cannot happen while we remain open to attack.

Then you have a huge problem because there is no such thing as
limited repression leading to being totally impervious to
attack. There will always be the possibility of attack.
Freedom cannot be contingent on removing what will always be
with us. The best that can be done is to reduce the reasons for
attack, increase the ability to detect and defend consistent
with freedom, increase the costliness of such attacks and
create other mechanisms for dealing with problems than violence
and counter-violence wherever possible.

> This week, we see that our airliners are still no safer, other than that
> passengers are less willing to accept such behavior. Reid was able to
> smuggle a bomb of C-4 onto the plane, despite being extensively checked
> by French authorities and refused entry to a plane once already.

Now that is pretty ridiculous, I agree. With all of our
technology we should be able to detect a bit better than this.
> >
> > The problem we face here is that we now have a far larger and diverse
> > society with larger tensions - suddenly everything is global, your
> > neighbour is a gay zoroastrian sociologist and the smallpox genome can
> > be found on the Internet. Solutions trying to fix things by making the
> > world a smaller place (isolationism) are practiclly unworkable (the
> > benefits are enormous), as are attempts to put genies back in bottles
> > (relinquishment). Attempts to make people less diverse are not just
> > ethically questionable and impractical, they also tend to breed
> > resistance that produces just the kind of nasty backlashes we have come
> > to fear. Hence any solution has to deal with strengthening those webs of
> > trust.
> Yes. Part of this is mechanisms to better filter out those
> untrustworthies who have infiltrated the webs of trust. As a chain is as
> strong as its weakest link, the solution is to check each and every link
> for integrity.

And how will you do this without also greatly restricting
freedom and putting those minorities who think more like you or
I at considerable risk of repression or worse?
> >
> > I think the NYT article makes a mistake by suggesting the choice is
> > between a less open society (artificial trust established by having a
> > special trusted part - the government - being given all the power), a
> > more controlled world (which seems to imply the same thing, but now on a
> > global scale) or higher risk. The naked airlines idea really shows a way
> > out: a bit of lateral thinking mixing a technical solution with a social
> > one.
> >
> > If the west has exported hightech but not the social fabrics necessarily
> > to use it reasonably safely, we better find ways of packaging social
> > fabric with the hightech (maybe as packing material?).
> Well, it also depends on the method of application. For instance, take
> face recognition technology. Does a FRT device need to have a database
> of ALL individuals? No, it only needs a database of those whose
> trustworthiness has been limited in some way, much as the Insta-check
> system for firearms purchase only contains names of those who are
> prohibited from purchasing.

Ah, but then your face or mine can be added at any time for any
reason whatsoever no matter how much the government "shouldn't"
be hassling us. Of course, these systems will be used. But
they should be avaialable and used by civilians as well as
government if there is to be any checks and balances. We need
to spy on them as much and more than they spy on us.
> Should a non-citizen have the same trustworthiness as a non-citizen?

In some things, yes. Although "trustworthiness" prejudices
fundamental human rights discussions by artificially delimiting
what is being talked about.

> It's rather obvious that a citizen will be more well known by a society
> than a non-citizen of that society. Using the above formula for citizens
> in that crime records only record the reputations of criminals, not of
> law abiding citizens, a criminal citizen would have a more thorough
> reputation with a society than a person who has never violated a law.
> Who is therefore more trustworthy?

There is no person in the entire country who has never violated
a law. The issue of trust while preserving freedom is very

> This is why reputation brokers like credit agencies use a flawed
> methodology with citizens, because they automatically assume that
> someone with no reputation is implicity untrustworthy. When you are
> dealing with non-citizens, this may be applicable, but not with
> citizens.

Well, the person is an unknown even if a citizen in such
circumstances. So, in fact, I should not trust them with things
requiring a high degree of trust without adquate safeguards in
place. That the person happened to be born in my country is no
guarantee at all.

- samantha

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