Re: The end of privacy?

Bryan Moss (
Wed, 1 Jul 1998 22:13:37 +0100

John K Clark wrote:

> If I increase the complexity of my encryption
> algorithm so that it takes me twice as long to
> encrypt a message, I have made my code not
> twice, but millions of times more difficult for
> an attacker to break. The government has access
> to more powerful computers than I do, but not
> that much more powerful. For the first time in
> human history everybody on Earth will soon have
> the ability to communicate with anyone on Earth
> in complete privacy.

Of course, even if the government violates their rights it's unlikely that the majority will adopt these technologies (not that it matters).

In the style of David Brin's _Transparent Society_ it might be an idea to explore the effects of greater privacy and anonymity in society. When you can't be sure of anything, what happens? Privacy creates paranoia, paranoia creates scepticism, and scepticism creates either insanity or rationality. Only the rational will survive (or maybe I'm living in a magical privacy wonderland).

> Brin responded to my points by calling me a
> liar, an ignoramus, a paranoid little boy, and
> some other stuff I'd rather not repeat, then he
> got nasty. He implied that I was anti Semitic.
> I still don't know how on earth he got that
> bizarre idea into his head or why he became so
> hysterical, but I had the strong hunch that if I
> wrote to him again he would reply by questioning
> the marital state of my parents and by telling
> me to do things that may not be anatomically
> possible. I decided that the very last thing he
> said to me was good advice, he advised that I
> "SHUT UP!", so I did.

If you wanted to be really witty, ironic and clever you could test Brin's theory by posting all of these embarrassing outbursts to this very mailing list (or the page for his book).