Truth Machines and Open Networks

John K Clark (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 08:56:25 -0800 (PST)


On Thu, 5 Feb 1998 Yak Wax <> Wrote:

>So John, what did you think of my "Truth Machines and Open Networks"
>post (a prediction of how open networks could create absolute truth)?
>It suffers none of the problems you associate with Brin's idea

Seems to me it has exactly the same problems as Brin's. You could never
obtain absolute truth from your One True Open Network (OTON) because if the
entire world's operation is based on it's information then people would have
enormous incentive to shape that information and change "the truth" to their
liking. Since everything is open I know exactly how OTON works and all about
its security, I can hack in and alter records and make history be anything I
want. It does no good to make an exception to the total openness policy for
OTON itself because that's by far the most important thing in the world and
if that's not open nothing is, besides, although you might reduce the risk
from hackers you'd vastly increase the meddling of the truth from world
leaders, that is, from the network administrators.

>encryption and fast machine-based organisation doesn't mix)

That's not true at all. A good one key encryption algorithm, the sort you'd
use to store information on a hard disk, slows things down by very little.
Public key encryption is a little slower but still not bad and machines are
getting so fast you'll soon never notice the slowdown. Ever though it's fast
it offers excellent security, because to break it you'd need to factor the
public key number and that would take a HUGE amount of cleverness or a COSMIC
amount of patience.

Today most keys are about a thousand bits long and no computer is close to
being able break it. Some people are really paranoid and make their key 4 or
5 thousand bits long, you will not be able to find enough silicon in the
observable universe to make enough chips for a computer to factor such a
number before the heat death of the cosmos. Unless a new factoring algorithm
is found that's a LOT faster than anything we know about today (if it only
speeded things up a trillion times it would be useless) then such a key will
never be broken. Until of course somebody makes a Quantum Computer.

>Anyway, what are you hiding?

If I told you I'd have to kill you. (:>)

John K Clark

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