Re: Brin (was Re: Capitalism)

Peter C. McCluskey (
Tue, 8 Sep 1998 08:29:47 -0700 ( writes:
>Dan Fabulich [] wrote:
>>The impression I got was that Brin thinks encryption will be pointless when
>>one can maneuver a fly-sized camera into your home and watch you type in
>>the cleartext of your message before you have a chance to encrypt it.
>Which merely means the paranoid will wear head-mounted displays and write
>by selecting letters or words with eye-movements, or something similarly

And the average person won't pay enough attention to these issues to implement a reliable defense against spy cameras.

>hard to see. And a few years later we'll be performing encryption and
>decryption on hardware attached directly to the brain. In any case, finding
>me and sending in a thousand fly-sized cameras to read what I'm typing
>is much, much, much harder than scanning my plaintext email for keywords
>at some centralised server...

But the difficulty is decreasing, and I can't see any major obstacles to it becoming something that any competent hacker can do (finding you will become trivial if enough cameras can be created to send a few to every house; the remaining obstacles are primarily computer vision problems which are slowly yielding to more research and cpu power.) Of course, it isn't obvious whether this will happen before something like uploading creates more obstacles.

>Brin's society is a paranoid fantasy which cannot work without stopping
>new technological developments and becoming a police state that would
>make 1984 look like utopia.

Brin's society? He has a bunch of ideas of widely varying quality, but makes no pretense of having a vision complete enough to be described as a society.
Which of his ideas do you claim require a police state? I can certainly imagine a basically libertarian society in which virtually everyone was subject to surveillance.

Peter McCluskey          | Critmail ( | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list