Re: Privacy

d.brin (
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 03:04:36 -0800

Hal Finney writes:

>You could still imagine a world in which massive encryption is going on,
>hidden behind all the music videos and corporate spreadsheets which are
>floating through the nets. But I think Brin is right that laws against
>encryption would succeed in greatly reducing its use.
>I see this as a bad result, because I suspect that it would only increase
>the distinction between conspiring criminals, who would certainly hide
>their messages, and ordinary people, who would be more out in the open
>and vulnerable than ever.

In a general atmosphere of candor, those skulking will quickly attract
attention from the masses of bright citizens, including whistle blowers in
abundance. We would swarm all over them with our amateur snoop programs
and rRadio Shack mosquito cameras. The Mafia wouldn't stand a chance.

Note: Hal does not comment on the historical fact that freedom directly
correlates with just one thing -- the power of people to deny shadows to

Instead, he advocates that we enter a huge, dangerous experiment,
encouraging people to cold-shoulder each other and wear habitual masks,
though he can cite no examples of his prescription working on a large scale
in any human society.