[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]



Sandy Sandfort writes:
 > I set up a meat-and-potatoes escrow business.  I keep my nose
 > clean.  I honor my obligations.  I build up a good reputation.
 > At some point, I'll be approached by a murderer and the person
 > who is hiring him or her.  I'll accept the payment.  When the
 > murder is committed, I won't pay off.  The murderer will (a) sue
 > me (I don't think so), (b) damage my reputation (I'll leave this
 > one as an exercise for the student), or (c) murder *me* (ah, but
 > first he has to find me; in the world we posit, that won't be
 > very easy).  If this scenario happens very often, it'll take all
 > the profit out of the murder business.  Of course, the murderer
 > can get the money face-to-face from the customer, but then we're
 > back to today's square one.

     Regarding (b), why wouldn't reputation be as important to "Murder
Escrows R Us" as to "Meat-and-Potatoes Escrow"?  Certainly the smaller
market will result in higher charges for customers of MERU, but I
don't see a qualitative difference in operation.

     Also, there is no reason for MAPE to know that they are paying a
killer.  The escrow could be set up to pay off or refund when a
trusted certification agency instructs MAPE to do so.  It might be
possible to spread the pieces around such that no one agent is aware
that they are participating in a murder for hire.

 > I set up a phoney murder-for-hire business.  Someone contracts
 > with me to bump-off their rich uncle.  The client deposits my
 > payment with a reputable escrow company, "Murder Escrows R Us." I
 > go to the uncle and tell him the whole deal.  Using digital
 > technology, bribed coroners, etc., we fake his death.  When the
 > news hits the Net, the escrow pays me off.  The uncle comes back
 > to life, disinherits whomever he suspects wanted him dead.  And I
 > laugh all the way to the digital bank.  I create a new pseudonym,
 > place another murder-for-hire ad, and do it all again.  Given our
 > Brave New World, nobody can touch me.

     This is a risk the customer is taking.  I'd make sure to only
hire killers certified by the Assassin's Guild, just as I'd only use
an escrow agency certified by people I trust.  I don't see this as a
service that is sufficiently different in _kind_ to require protocols
not required by other (pseudo)anonymous businesses.

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                A contract programmer is always intense.
Patrick May
[email protected] (public key available from servers)