Re: The End of Privacy ?

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 01 Jul 1998 21:32:59 -0400

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> writes:
> > Anders Sandberg [] wrote:
> > >True. But today a moderately educated crazie can buy enough ammonium
> > >nitrate to blow up a block or two.
> >
> > And the fact that few do is strong evidence that the crazy threat is
> > vastly overstated.
> Sigh. You still miss my point: even very rare crazies with
> sufficiently powerful weapons are a problem. It is a simple product:
> population * proportion of crazies using big weapons * tech level =
> amount of damage done. I don't think crazies are a major problem
> today, but they might very well be in the future if the conditions are
> right.

Yes, it all depends on how much the government wants to crack down. If the population is used to being free, there will come a point where a sufficient percentage will no longer tolerate the opression. Any revolutionary program starts with the revolutionary group staging minor harassing attacks, which escalate goverment oppression in an effort to crack down on the brigands. This escalation causes grater numbers of people to sympathize and support the revolutionary cause, leading to more attacks and more government oppression. There comes a point where either the government or the revolution will commit a major outrage which will galvanize the public sentiment against it. This is the deciding event in a revolution, the fulcrum upon which a whole nation can be turned. In our own Revolutionary War, the events were the Boston Massacre and the Battles associated with the famous Ride of Paul Revere.

This is how our government was able to use McVeigh's attack in Oklahoma City against the burgeoning militia movement, and why the weight of evidence supporting the contention that the government was at the very least aware of the conspiracy (if not complicit) and let the attack happen seems so credible. If McVeigh had staged the attack during hours where there would have been no children in the child care center in the building, and when minimal numbers of civilian employees were in the building, then the government would have been hard pressed to make it look like such an outrage, and McVeigh's attack would have been seen by enough people to be attacking a legitimate military target (as defined in the Laws of War), that any laws passed by congress or enacted by presidential fiat to restrict public access to firearms or materials with explosives potential would have been seen as the most rank government oppression, and would have escalated the level of conflict. As it is, it has neatly defused the whole potential for wider conflict.

> > >Tomorrow he might buy an assembler
> > >kit and release industrial strength disassemblers in the watru
> > >supply.
> >
> > And if you're relying on keeping assemblers out of their hands as a
> > 'defence' you will die when they get one. If, like me, you're building
> > real effective defences you'll live.
> Did you read my analysis in my first post in this thread at all? I did
> point out that limiting access to many such technologies is hard or
> impossible. I also pointed out that it isn't given that a defense
> exists against all technologies, although this is still unsettled.

It all depends on how much you want to isolate yourself, and how much you want to make yourself a target. Granted that as transhumanists, we are all targets of hate from the fundamentalists and reactionaries of all stripes, which could in time lead to violence, however, we aren't oppressing anybody, so we do have some points in our favor.

> > >I think you miss my point in this thread: there is a real problem is
> > >certain technologies of mass destruction become too available and
> > >there are no good ways of protecting from them or avoiding them.
> >
> > But there are; I've given you the most effective defence against every
> > single one of them: don't be there when it happens. I'm talking about
> > living in reality, Brin and others are playing S&M fantasy games.
> In order to convince me that you are really realistic, you better
> convince me that you can get personal off-world capability before the
> risk posed by crazies with big guns becomes severe.

Since the risk by crazies is currently near non-existent (you are more likely to be hit by a plane falling out of the sky than attacked by a terrorist), and the only NBC attack by crazies was the sarin attack in Japan several years ago. Show me a nut with a nuke and I'll be ready to show you off world capability (If its so easy for him to get a nuke, then it should be just as easy for me to build a nuclear powered rocket!!!!)

> I'm really trying to clarify the issue, rather than propagate any
> favorite political memes. Let's try to do some risk assessments based
> on facts and reasonable extrapolations.

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?