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Re: Forgery, bills, and the Four Horsemen (Articles and Comment)

From: [email protected] (Lucky Green)
> So it is harder to compile dosiers on people. Big deal. The recipient can
> still determine who gets the goods paied for by the "anonymous" ecash by
> conventional means (hint: shipping address), so the payee anonymity is of
> little value as far as protecting the privacy of the payer (most likely
> the recipient of the goods) is concerened.

This would be true for physical goods in any payment system, no matter
how anonymous, unless physical remailers are used (and they have their
limitations).  However software (including music, video, etc.) would be
easier to deliver anonymously.  It is generally agreed that more of our
economy is moving towards information exchanges and so ecash-like
systems can play an increasingly larger part in protecting privacy.  To
me, this is indeed a big deal.

Even for physical goods, the use of ecash is better than credit cards
because the information about purchases is distributed rather than
centralized.  Every time I look at my credit card bill I feel dismayed
at what the company is finding out about my family.

Ecash could also be used as a cash replacement in smartcards.  Consider
as an alternative a fully traceable payment system, where you use your
debit card at the supermarket, the bus station, the snack bar, the drug
store.  I suspect that if we don't get something like ecash then this
system will be the alternative.  It opens up possibilities for
dossiers that will fulfill Big Brother's dreams.  Virtually every move
of every citizen will be recorded in just a few centralized places.
IMO the protection of payor privacy that even Chaum's limited ecash
provides is very important.

> Ecash of course is of *no* value for the various assasination markets,
> drug dealing, money laundring, etc that routinely get mentioned in the
> same paragraph as Ecash. The reason is the *full traceability* of the
> payee that has been deliberately built into the current version of Ecash.
> A "feature" that you may rest assured will be part of all future versions
> backed by anyone with even marginal reputation in the financial markets.

Well, I have never fully accepted the notion that crypto was going to
usher in an age of anarchy.  As long as we deal with physical goods in
the physical world it seems to me that anonymity will be difficult.  On
the net it is easier but man does not live by bits alone.

For me, protecting privacy is a difficult enough problem.  Transforming
the world into a libertarian/anarchist utopia is somebody else's job.


P.S. Without seeing the technical specs it is hard to describe in detail,
but generally Chaumian ecash allows fully anonymous coerced transfers.
The payee/coercer supplies the blinded coins and forces the payor to use
them to make withdrawals from his account.  The resulting signed
tokens are passed to the coercer who unblinds them and now has fully
anonymous, untraceable cash tokens which he can spend.