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Re: Many Topics are Appropriate for Discussion Here

At 10:35 PM 11/3/95, [email protected] wrote:

>        Just a calibration point. The libertarians on the list do not seem
>to shrink from expressing their political views. Indeed the entire discussion
>on the NSA is a political thread pure and simple. My post related directly
>to the question of personal privacy rights in a democratic, plural society.
>I do not regard that it was off topic in any sense. I was not aware that
>any agreement was in effect as to the method by which goals might be
>achieved. I chose to persue goals by the means most likely to succeed. In
>that I am a pragmatist. Government regulation often provides social benefits
>it is not by definition an evil to be avoided. In any case regardless of the
>rhetoric government regulation increases, I prefer to press for some
>regulations I like rather than dream about there being none whatsoever.

I for one have no problem with left-leaning (that is, nonlibertarian :-})
folks expressing views. That libertarians tend to be the most vocal and
perhaps most articulate advocates of strong crypto is only a trend: I know
of several left-leaning folks who strongly push crypto. We happen to
disagree on some points, but agree on others. On this list, Dave Mandl and
Rich Dutcher (probably no longer subscribed) have represented somewhat
leftist views.

The late John Brunner was a particular favorite of mine, whose "Stand on
Zanzibar" was an utter masterpiece, and whose "The Shockwave Rider" was of
course a major influence on many cyberspace privacy advocates. And yet he
called himself a leftist and was strongly opposed to the corporate state.

As I am, by the way. Much of the power of very large corporations comes
from the power of the State enforcing certain franchises and monopolies
granted to them. (Intellectual property laws are largely such
franchises---if one doubts this, imagine a return to the era of the guilds,
where the silversmith's guild could physically block other people from
smithing silver, and so on for all of the guilds. Modern intellectual
property law works mostly the same way, giving to Apple or Sun or Intel the
control a "truly free" market certainly would not.)

>        I do not separate the question of politics from technology. My
>reasons for working on the Web have from the start been explicity political.
>I regard the persuit of technology without consideration of the political
>consequences to be unethical.

I agree. And though I have been called an "ethical monster" for pushing my
agenda for crypto anarchy, I agree that one must always consider ethics and
politics in technological matters. (I suspect we disagree about many
conclusions of this view, however.)

>        I am only in a position to influence the political process if I
>understand the position of the administration and can demonstrate an
>appreciation of their concerns. As Sun Tsu said "you must build a golden
>path along which your enemies may retreat". The problem with government
>is not that it is a conspiracy, it is an interlocking series of
>beuraucracies which all seek to avoid responsibility.

I view governments as just another example of an organism or system which
perpetuates itself. It's in the genes. Evolutionary game theory, etc.

>        If you want to get Phil Z. off the hook or foul up the governments
>escrow scheme plans you have tobe prepared to step into their mindset
>and walk about on the inside a bit. somewhere inside the government there is
>a jobsworth who is deciding to hassle Phil Z., this person will be a civil
>servant, not a political appointee. Ie the dregs which get left behind each
>time there is a new administration. What we need to do is to identify that
>person and nail their ass to the wall. It has to become apparent to the
>administration that that individual has created an unnecessary source of

This I think we have been already been doing a pretty good job at. I have
been on panel discussions with Stewart Baker, former chief counsel of the
NSA (and now with Steptoe, a D.C. law firm, and still active in pushing
crypto legislation), and Ron Lee, the current chief counsel. And I spotted
Dorothy Denning's deep involvement several years ago. Ditto for key escrow.

And of course John Gilmore, Phil Karn, and others have been very active in
"nailing their asses to the wall," so to speak.

>        If somone makes contiuous political spiels themselves but object when
>I make one they disagree with (as one person has done) I am not going to take
>their objection as indicating anything other than an inability to argue their

As this post should make clear, I certainly don't object.

I doubt I'll have any energy to argue things I argued for the first time
almost 30 years ago, but I'm very interested in the nuts and bolts of how
strong crypto will affect institutions and policies.

--Tim May

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."