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Re: Constitution and Contract [Was: CIA & FBI]
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> Unicorn writes:
> > Will a passport be issued to a non-citizen?
> Do you anticipate an enduring role for passports?
Assuming that strong cryptography is going to destroy all world borders
in either of our lifetimes is a stretch. Strong crypto is a powerful
tool to entitle the individual to resist state will, not a force that
will cause by itself the dissolution of the nation-state system. Even
assuming that there are no tariffs, no transaction costs, the human
elements of religion, race and belief, among other factors will always
enforce borders by themselves. Strong crypto does nothing to stop this,
it merely evens the odds in the Individual v. State game of intelligence
> What would be the
> point of strong cryptography if it leaves intact institutions able to
> enforce a demand for passports?
Your question hinges on the erroneous assumptions that:
1> Passports are per se a requirement to travel.
2> Cryptography can destroy the institutions to which you refer.
1> Passports as a per se requirement for travel:
They are not today, and were less so in the past.
A passport at the core is merely a request to treat the bearer as a
citizen of the issuing country. Such is even reflected in the
anachronistic language on most passports today. The United States
example is below:
The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby
requests all who it may concern to permit the citizen of the
United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and
in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.
It was in the McCarthy period that the passport began to be used as a
weapon. The upshot was that as a requirement to travel it was a
discretionary limitation on the right to travel. The passport was
finally afforded procedural due process protection in 1958, after 7
years of use as a blow to political dissenters. _Kent v. Dulles_, 357
U.S. 116 (1958). By this time, however, airline requirements and
discretionary issuance were so ingrained as to make passports a prime
candidate to regulate a person or keep track of travel. These issues
are discussed in detail in Comment, Passport Refusal for Political
Reasons: Constitutional Issues and Judicial Review, 61 Yale L.J. 171
(1952), and were partly the inspiration for Reich's New Property Note in
YLJ on which I have written extensively before. Reich, The New Property
73 Yale L.J. 773 (1964).
What affects this change is the increasingly widening category of
government largess where the individual finds that liberty is threatened
by the control of organized society.
I liken the change to the social security number. It was not (on the
surface) intended for identification, it just became a primary
identification tool because it was so fitted for that role. (Each
person only had one, almost everyone has one).
It is the oppressive uses of passports, and not passports that are the
source of the evil you seek to eliminate.
Cryptography helps dissenters remain anonymous, and helps you if you
want to fund projects without being watched or tracked. It does not
destroy state regulation, eliminate oppression or present some cure-all.
> Are they [passports] not as much an invasion of
> privacy as eavesdropping? If passports continue to be of significance
> in the future, wouldn't that indicate that strong cryptography has
> failed to achieve its promise?
2> Cryptography will eliminate the institutions that you seem offended
I find it hard to envision how cryptography will eliminate passports.
In fact I think public key cryptography strengthens the ability of the
state to regulate in some ways, especially in terms of citizenship and
immigration. It's pretty hard to forge a smart card passport that uses
a signature from the State Department as an authenticator. This is
especially true if it contains a digitized photo that is also signed.
The promise of strong cryptography was never that it would topple
governments and destroy borders, only that it would even the playing
field in issues of privacy where the individual is at a distinct
disadvantage. Cryptography is not used merely by the "good guys" any
more than atomic power is.
The source of the problem is in how states will seek to regulate and
influence the citizens. This will continue to be a problem with or
without strong cryptography, and incidentally, with or without
Additionally, I'm not sure citizenship is necessarily "bad." What is
disadvantageous about citizenship is merely which legal sphere of
influence it places you in, and how oppressive said sphere is. It's not
in itself evil for a state to keep track of immigration or who is given
government benefits, only the systematic logging, sorting, and
utilization of this information that is disturbing. Were
citizenship authentication checked blindly at the border via zero
knowledge proofs (that is the correct term yes?) would the potential for
privacy concerns be somewhat reduced? Sure. Will it end oppression?
Of course not.
And if cryptography really will topple nations?
The right to exclude would merely fall to private hands and
corporate type interests in the place of governmental influence were the
borders destroyed. Largess can take on ominous dimensions be it
under private or pubic monopoly. Look at DeBeers. The diamond
"markets" under DeBeers and the Oppenheimer family are great evidence
that a system of private exclusion to territory and largess would be in
many ways much more vicious and discriminatory than a public one.
What's the difference if your passport is enforced by a state or a
private conglomerate empowered with cryptography?
Focus on cause, not tools or effect.
> John E. Kreznar | Relations among people to be by
> [email protected] | mutual consent, or not at all.
- -uni- (Dark)
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