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Commercialism on Cypherpunks
We face interesting times.
It's apparent that the Cypherpunks list is now becoming even more of a
hangout for reporters, commercial vendors, and those seeking advance
knowledge of security holes and whatnot...maybe even a few stock traders
looking for tips :-}. It was this way to some extent a few years ago, with
Steven Levy, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Julian Dibbell, and others looking
to our list for stimulating ideas for stories. Now, the time between
something being posted here and its headline appearance in one of the major
papers is even shorter. The "electronic commerce" business is heating up,
and basic flaws and limitations are obviously big news.
And the list has grown in recent months, as publicity has increased.
In addition to the usual corporate connections that people have because
some corporation employs them, we have people _directly_ involved in
several crypto-related or security-oriented businesses, including Netscape
Communications, Digicash, First Virtual, Enterprise Integration
Technologies, RSADSI, Verity, Intuit, and so on. And a bunch of folks of
course from Sun, SGI, Apple, Microsoft, etc. (Sorry if I've left out your
Clearly some of these groups have conflicting goals and approaches. Some
have different exposures to security holes. Some of these electronic
commerce companies even stand to gain at the expense of others when
security problems are found.
Some of the commercial folks are concerned that the freewheeling, anarchic,
"say anything" nature of the Cypherpunks list is sometimes reflecting badly
on their companies. Some are concerned that reporters are reading the list
to find leads for stories.
Well, get used to it! (Lest you think I was going to pull a Rodney King and
say "Can't we all just get along?," I'm taking the anarchist route.)
People will say what they wish. Sometimes they'll speak inaccurately,
sometimes without all of the facts. Such is life.
There is no moderator, no leader, contrary to what at least one reporter
seems to think. And it's a good thing, as I could otherwise see that
moderator or leader someday being served with papers because of some insult
or denigration about a company or its products posted here. With the
"electronic commerce" market heating up so much, and with our list becoming
one of the several de facto watering holes where gossip and G-2 gets
exchanged, there are bound to be conflicts and alleged damages to
Think of our list as a kind of Casablanca, a "free city" not controlled by
any side. I'm "shocked, simply shocked," that anyone would think it could
be anything else.
--Tim, owner since 1992 of "Rick's Place"
Views here are not the views of my Internet Service Provider or Government.
Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected] 408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."