Re: dumbocracy

Eric Watt Forste (
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 16:24:35 -0700

Hagbard Celine writes:
> I happen to think that in a short time, what we know of as "privacy"
> will be a thing of the past. Some others are not convinced of that.

Have you posted your reasons for believing this and I've just
missed them? If not, I'd be interested to hear your reasons.
Several people of my acquaintance have devoted a large portion
of their working time over the last few years to creating
software that people can use to protect their privacy, and
distributing it in a way that will make it difficult for
law-enforcement types to stamp out. Try a web search on
"cypherpunks" for further information.

> The technologies that we are pushing on this list are just as easily
> used against us as they are by us and for us. Since these technologies
> *will* someday exist, I feel also that the last remnants of what we call
> privacy will dissipate into a vestigial anachronism. I have resigned
> myself to this, and that attitude has infiltrated my post.

Defense has the advantage over offense in cryptography issues.
In the Information Era, most privacy issues reduce to
cryptography issues. The attempts by legislators to force people
to use weak cryptography will never be effective against those
who have the time and inclination to educate themselves about
the technologies involved. Cultural transformation could easily
lead to a society in which arrest and imprisonment of those who
use secure privacy software is socially accepted, but that's
hardly inevitable, at least in North America. And even if that
comes about, most hacker scofflaws go unpunished, and the more
hacker scofflaws get thrown in solitary confinement for eight
months (Kevin Mitnick is currently being abused this way, for
instance), the more hacker scofflaws will be motivated to work
on nasty little tricks, and to evade apprehension.

> Words are being put into my mouth as far as I can figure.

This is a problem that often afflicts those who draw their
handles from works of literature that are famous among the
audiences they are addressing. I myself put no words in your
mouth: I simply quoted the words of the person whose name you
are wearing.

> I am really unsure of what you are assuming about me. If thought Big
> Brother was inevitable, would this also mean I wanted it to happen?

No, but I haven't seen you present any reasons why you really
think Big Brother is inevitable, and I really would like to hear
more about what they are.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd