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Re: Cybersecurity


    Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 08:06:13 -0400 (EDT)
    From: Duncan Frissell <[email protected]>

    I am also projecting a transition from physical to non-physical goods and
    services.  Thus most entertainment, financial services/investing,
    professional services, and indeed the rest of employment services will
    tend to be non-physical.  We see a lot of unbundling already in which
    services are split off from the more physical parts of a transaction.
    Drop shipping, contracting out, etc.

I agree with this projection as a shift in weight.  Presumably we can
also agree that the transition could never be total.  People will
continue to need and/or desire a significant number of physical goods
as well as services which involve the physical interaction.

    Say that it was 1750 and you were a French Physiocrat.  You might say
    that land and agriculture should

This single word represents a significant shift in the discussion.  Up
to this point, my understanding is that we were discussing what is,
and what we believe is possible in the future.  With the introduction
of `should' we veer away from that direction toward the more
philosophical.  While I enjoy philosophical discussions a great deal,
I doubt that we could find nearly as much common ground as we might if
we focussed on what is possible.  While I am a civil libertarian, I am
not an economic libertarian, as I believe you are.  I would expect
economic issues to be the focus of our differences in a philosophical
discussion, but they need not divide us in discussions outside of

    It is possible that the non-physical part of the economy will
    become much bigger than the physical.

I agree that this is quite possible.

    Note that most money itself is non-physical.

Agreed in part.  However, as we have seen already, non-physical
representations of money are not taken very seriously when it is
impossible, or even very difficult, to exchange them for physical
goods and services requiring physical interactions.  Very few people
would accept CyberBucks in exchange for a car.

    And if the physical part of the economy is taxed and the
    non-physical isn't the market will be skewed in favor of non-taxed

Agreed.  This is at least partially true already.  Certainly there are
investment instruments which are treated differently by the various
tax codes.  These differences certainly affect investors' decisions.
Still, there seem to be investors willing to purchase instruments
based on features other than taxability.

    Also even though most people are geographically bound, if their
    consumption switches to non physical goods, they can acquire these goods
    anonymously or securely from any place on earth.  So even if you don't
    travel, the locus of your transactions can.

Agreed.  As I said originally, I believe that ready access to strong
cryptography will eventually make government tracking of purely
information, i. e. non-physical, transactions infeasible.  At that
point, any feasible system of taxation will have to focus on physical
goods and services which involve physical interaction.

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A `hacker' is one who writes code.  Breaking into systems is `cracking'.