I'm coming into this conversation involving Alex and Ken. I haven't
investigated the details/background so I am ill-informed (buyer beware).
I'll simply state a personal experience. Sometime last year one of
my credit cards was billed for multi-4-figure amounts. This turned
out to be charges from someplace in the U.K. presumably executed
by individuals connected with the theft of a large number of credit
card numbers and perhaps access codes in Russia (well documented
by the Moscow Times).
I don't know whether they broke the electronic access code encryptions
on the cash machines or simply found a clever way around the normal
authorization methods. But they found a way through the system and
exploited it big time. The net result was that I signed a piece of
paper indicating that I did not make the charges and my credit card
company had to swallow this loss. Now I'm sure I and other customers
are paying for this in the form of higher interest rates on outstanding
loans (the shareholders or management don't lose -- the clients do).
So I'm forced to agree with Ken -- there are bad (EVIL!) people out
there who will exploit the system -- so "trust" that people are
legitimate purchasers who will pay is essential. I'd also agree with
Alex that there *should* be purchases that I can make "anonymously".
Given recent events I'd also argue that there should be purchases that
one *CANNOT* make "anonymously" (e.g. chemicals for the production of
Sarin, microorganisms that produce human toxins, DNA synthesizers, etc.)
I think the dividing line lies someplace in the realm of the ability
to produce something that can "assault" another entity.
I question the value of being able to anonymously purchase (or download)
anything from "Crack-Attack" software to guns. The dividing line is this --
if something can only be used for defensive purposes, you should
probably be able to purchase it anonymously -- if something has an
offensive use, its anonymous purchase should be regulated.
Most probably a very slippery slope.
Regarding personal privacy and security we are obviously entering
a *very* interesting time. I can imagine people who have piercings
of various body parts, the knowledge of which they would like to
keep "private". Now however, as soon as they hit the metal detectors
at the airports things are likely to get a *bit* interesting...
Its not likely to be an offensive *or* defensive weapon -- but how
do you know this for sure?
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:14 MDT