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Back on track(s)...
Hi... I haven't posted much here, but I've been lurking for quite
On the issue of "lost focus" and a return to projects, I'd like to
ask about some of the projects that were/are underway from a while
ago. Some months back, there was a push to get kits together for
different non-technical persons needing access to privacy, anonymity,
digital signatures, crypto, etc... such as journalists, political
activists, religious groups, terro^H^H^H^H^Hetc. This is an idea I am
very interested in, and I'm wondering if it's still ongoing. It seems
to gel well with the proposed cd-rom collection (I think some shareware/PD
distributors might be talked into a multi-disk privacy distribution set,
perhaps with some basic utils like antiviruses/text-editors/defraggers
as a "must have" basic start-up kit). Could one of the major FTP sites
be persuaded to maintain a privacy/anonymity section that didn't put them
in a legally tenuous position? No PGP, perhaps but articles (with sample
code?), steganographic utils, etc. Maybe some front ends for popular
What about digital cash? I thought some ongoing experiments testing ease-
of-use/speed etc. started up (or were announced) about six months
ago? (I lost net access for about three months a while back, so I may
have missed preliminary results.) I think that this is a fertile area
for trial balloons based on games. Set up a server with several games being
managed (possibly as either lists or CC-groups or with human moderators)
and use secure digital cash protocals(sp?) both within a game and between
games... sounds like the FBI (Flying Buffalo, Inc) Illuminati PBM and other
PBM's with requirements to progress from one game to another would serve as a
useful model.... Gnomic or Elusius(sp? the research-based cardgame from
one of the Penrose books, I believe) would serve as an excellent test for
popular secure anonymous voting by non-programmers. All in all, gamers are
excellent sources of guinea pigs, and usually quite willing (hmmm... how
about handing out disk packs at SF/Gamer cons?... MANY gamers are computer
users and they can be counted on the use the programs in their PBEM games,
spreading them on to other BBSing Gamers while they're at it... maybe I can
test this here in Tucson).
I think that just getting dialog generated will spark most of us to get
work done. I feel, personally, that the cypherpunks remailers need some
spec-work done and the specs published more openly, and similar work done
with steganographic tools, etc. We need more active, reputation-building
anonymous Usenetters, people who want to create such identities need to
feel that THEY can control the tools they will be using.
Are the pools still active?
Can a set of games be developed that model crypto/anonymity/steg?
rec.games.abstract is a wonderful source of ideas and shows what can be
done with an abstract idea (play both gnomic and elesius sometime!).
What we need is a list of projects that people are interested in/working
on, with some communication about how they're going. We have no dearth of
ideas, or people, or interest. It's the assumption that either, someone else
is already doing it (a bad attitude among the hacker-types that abound here,
reminds me of a SF story where a bunch of ship captians are put in a
simulator to see who gets a big promotion. The simulator is wretched, has
too many little (useless) lights, the AC blows in your eyes, the sound is
WAY too loud, etc. Everyone fails, all making the same complaints and
telling them how to redesign the simulator. The promotion goes to the guy
who tapes up the redundant lights, puts cardboard over the AC and turns the
speakers to face outward... the wanted a commander who would actually FIX
things, not make orders)
Cypherpunks aren't bery organised, nor should we be, but having some lists
of what some of us want to do, who's doing what, and what some of us are
thinking/worried about might be very helpful. Hmmm. maybe someone should see
if a regular digest of what's ACTUALLY being said/done on the list, for
reference, would go over well...
This week we discussed:
a) pagers and ping... most think it's a myth
(list of popular ideas for shirts)
c) Digital democracy debates
F) Someone is installing and will probably be reporting
on an encryption virus in the PD... there's some talk of a commented
dis-assembly being made.
g) the Phantom mailer when down (am I remembering this right? This is
h) California law being decided NOW about online access to current
legislative agenda. Get your viewpoint in before the 18th.
i) NSA asked for one year on the FOIA request about MYK78/80 (again,
pardonany misinformation, take NONE of this as gospel... check the
j) <more> with any reports on ongoing games/projects/running gags,etc.
Hmmm... some comments on this idea. a) We've done a lot more this week
than I'd noticed. b) it may be more bandwidth than many want (but a CC list
is easy to maintain for those that want it, or it could be dropped in to
archives and left to rot until someone cares enough to retieve it). c) it's
pretty easy to make. d) it will be, to some extent, subjective. e) I make
too many lists... probably a sign of something about my poddy training, I
suppose. f) I'm rambling.
When the kits idea was first kicked around, I expressed support (I think...
the message may have been lost by my mailer before it reached the list... that
happens here at launchpad), but offered no other help or support, a I was just
starting a new job. Well, now I'm about to be fired, so I have a bit of free
time (oh well, never set out to write Nintendo games, anyway.... sigh).
I suspect that we're not actually being stagnant at all. Maybe not even taking
Seth Morris ([email protected])
PS. T-shirt ideas: "We watch the Watchmen" and "Wiretapping is Privacy;
Censorship is Freedom; Publicity is Anonymity: 1994 -- the eight was a
"We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to
operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to
avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to
inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert."
-- J. Robert Oppenheimer