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law vs technology


Recently there's been a great deal of discussion on this list
about upcoming legislations (HR666 S314 etc.).  Maybe it's time
to step back a little and look at the bigger picture.  I've
been assuming (perhaps incorrectly) for some time that most
cypherpunks hold a belief somewhat like the following:

There has never been a government that didn't sooner or later
try to reduce the freedom of its subjects and gain more control
over them, and there probably never will be one.  Therefore,
instead of trying to convince our current government not to
try, we'll develop the technology (e.g., remailers and ecash)
that will make it impossible for the government to succeed.
Efforts to influence the government (e.g., lobbying and
propaganda) are important only in so far as to delay its
attempted crackdown long enough for the technology to mature
and come into wide use.

But even if you do not believe the above is true, think about
it this way:  If you have a certain amount of time to spend on
advancing the cause of greater personal privacy (or freedom, or
cryptoanarchy, or whatever), can you do it better by using the
time to learn about cryptography and develop the tools to
protect privacy, or by convincing your government not to invade
your privacy?  I argue that since there are many more people
doing the former (EFF, CPSR, etc) than latter, that you'd be
more effective if you spent the time on the former.

Wei Dai

Version: 2.6.2


E-mail: Wei Dai <[email protected]>   URL: "http://www.eskimo.com/~weidai"
=================== Exponential Increase of Complexity ===================
--> singularity --> atoms --> macromolecules --> biological evolution
--> central nervous systems --> symbolic communication --> homo sapiens
--> digital computers --> internetworking --> close-coupled automation
--> broadband brain-to-net connections --> artificial intelligence
--> distributed consciousness --> group minds --> ? ? ?