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Re: The Value of Anonymity

No, sometimes you don't learn till you've made a mistake.
As you could see I hurt really badly yesterday.

And now, so I can occupy myself quietly for a few days, are there
some good files to read so I can understand, and become a good remailer?

Registered<BETSI>BEllcore Trusted Software Integrity system programmer
Carol Anne Braddock   "Give me your Tired, your Poor, your old PC's..."
The TS NET                                  REVOKED PGP KEY NO.0C91594D     
[email protected]                                       [email protected]

On Sun, 8 Jan 1995 [email protected] wrote:

> The value of anonymity, both on the nets and off, seems to be poorly
> understood, even among its strongest defenders.  The positive value of
> anonymity is not merely about protecting a few special groups such as
> sexual-abuse victims and whistleblowers.  While these are certainly
> valuable uses, if I believed that anonymity's positive impact were
> limited to these outside-the-mainstream groups, then I probably
> wouldn't accept the benefits of anonymity as outweighing its costs.
> But in fact, I believe that anonymity has crucially important benefits
> for nearly everyone.  There are several good arguments to be made, but
> in the interest of brevity I'll focus on only one:
> The explosive development of such personal data industries as targeted
> marketing and consumer and demographic profiling, have demonstrated
> that the business community considers personal data to be of great
> economic value.  (There's a parallel observation to be made here about
> governments, but I won't go into that now.)  There are also myriad
> uses being made of personal data throughout the professions, from
> labor negotiators to house burglars.  It is something of a truism that
> anyone who knows enough about you can probably find a way to beat you,
> either legally or illegally, often at great profit to themselves.
> In an information-age society without extremely strong privacy
> protections, the chief factor which makes the difference between
> winners and losers may be how much information each of us has on
> others, and how much they have on us.  Given this degree of economic
> and social motivation, it is easy to imagine the sort of panopticon
> which will soon arise on the Internet (and its descendants), unless
> the strongest possible protections are adopted.  (And it is equally
> easy to imagine who the biggest winners and losers will be.)
> Relying on government to protect personal privacy is like appointing
> the fox to guard the henhouse (or, as I seem to recall John Perry
> Barlow once putting it, "... getting a peeping tom to install your
> window blinds," or something like that).  In addition to the
> government's own motivations for eroding privacy, all the above
> economic considerations enter into government through lobbying,
> desires to maximize tax revenues, fund-raising considerations, and a
> whole raft of other avenues.
> Furthermore, the only tools which government could bring to bear would
> be a complex web of laws and regulations governing the circulation of
> personal data.  Such laws and regulations would have to constantly
> shift in a never ending cat-and-mouse game with business; and what's
> more, many of these laws and regulations would necessarily conflict
> with the free speech rights of private organizations.
> Bottom line: Anonymity is the only available tool which puts control
> over my own privacy firmly into my own hands, where it belongs, and
> does so without infringing on anyone's freedom of speech.  Certainly
> there are drawbacks, and anonymity may invite some abuses; but we have
> survived anonymity's problems in the past, and 'tis better to suffer
> in the hell we know than to be dragged into a new and hotter one.  The
> only society without any crime is a society without any freedom.
> My ($.02) conclusion: For preserving meaningful privacy, and for
> preventing an ugly and probably irreversible transformation of our
> world, anonymity is the best, perhaps the only viable tool we have.
> 					---  mkj
> Version: 2.6.2
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