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Re: Reputations/Credentials

Conrad Walton writes
> I'm afraid I don't understand what you guys are talking about.  My wife and
> I bought a car on Saturday.  We drove it away, based on what the dealer's
> computer printedout from his TRW inquiry. My personal credit (tied to my
> Social Security Number)is terrible. My wife's is pristine. We used hers.
> (Is this "transference of reputation?


> Could *I* use a couple different SSNs
> for different "reputations"?) 

Recently some tenants appeared to have a fictitious history.  My
wife ridiculed my suspicions - after all they have real social security
numbers -- they cannot cheat.

Needless to say, their history was fictitious, and I have no idea
how they managed it.  Perhaps Duncan can elucidate.

So yes, you can, and some people apparently do, use multiple social
security numbers for multiple reputations.

This is of course, dishonest, since you are misrepresenting yourself
to the landlord or bank.

Misrepresenting yourself to the IRS is completely
honest, because the IRS has no right to ask the questions that it
demands answers to, under threat of violence.  Furthermore most
landlords make this distinction also, though not necessarily on
the same philosophical grounds as I do.   I do not know if banks
make that distinction.

On the other hand multiple corporate identities are fine - I used
to be several different companies, and nobody gets upset provided
you refrain from running the companies through profitable bankruptcies.

There is nothing wrong with making it difficult for people to cross
reference information from one of your activies to another of your
activities.  But if you say you are revealing information about your
activities, and you are concealing it, then that is dishonest.

> My actions (good conduct) will be based on (enforced?) by the non material
> and semi-quantifiable value of the TRW credit report, not coercion (I want
> more stuff in the future). TRW seems like a "reputation reporting agency".
> I can take a copy of that print out into another bank and get another loan
> if I wanted. Is that a "credential"?

Exactly so.

> What's the difference? and what are
> the implications of the difference?

The printout is a credential.  The reputation is how impressed the
banks are by your credentials.

The implication of making a distinction is that clever use of
cryptographic signatures and the like on credentials will
not make the credentials worth anything.

A credential will only be of value to the extent that it impairs
privacy.  The objective therefore must be to maintain privacy
against uninvited third parties and make privacy impossible 
against invited parties.  More realistically, we must reveal what
invited parties wish to know, without revealing what uninvited
parties might wish to know.

> Give me a better model to illustrate what you think would be better or
> worse. Drug dealers only need cash and a gun to make transactions while
> they keep totally anonymous. Futures traders need a credit line and a
> government registered agent to work through and have *no* privacy, but more
> money than I'll ever make.

All the models you give are excellent.  The drug dealers transaction
is strictly local, and therefore can be completely anonymous.

Unfortunately complete anonymity and the lack of a storefront means
that loss of reputation is no problem.   Thus punishments for misconduct
also have to be local, hence the gun.

This suggests that people doing business in cyberspace cannot be anonymous
from each other, although their real physical identity and physical location
may be hidden, making them difficult to coerce.

The futures transaction is non local, and is backed both by reputation
and state coercion.

In some markets the transaction is backed only by reputation.   In 
others, such as China and Vietnam, arbitrary government coercion 
randomly prevents people from carrying through the deals that 
they have made.

> > By calling a credential a reputation, we imply that it automatically
> > has value.  Of course it does not.

> But this is like saying that a credit card has no value. While this is
> technically true, in reality, where I live, I can turn that credit card
> into food, gas, stereos and computers. If I don't pay my bill at the end of
> the month, they won't give me anymore stuff.

Credentials support a reputation, and a reputation enables one
to obtain a credential, yet chickens are not eggs.  If one defines
chickens to be eggs, one will have difficulty roasting a chicken.

The difference between your credit card and your reputation
is that if you lose your credit card it will be replaced, but
if you lose your reputation they will cut up your credit card
the next time your proffer it.

> Reputations *and* credentials both have nothing to do with the value, worth
> or character of a person, but I don't think the car dealer cares if I kick
> my dog, only if I pay my bills.

Quite so.