[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Credentials Without Identity

I do not intend my comments below to be disrespectful to the people of Sweden.

At 4:32 AM 11/5/95, Mats Bergstrom wrote:

>Ah, the Swedish way is so much more convenient. Directly after birth you
>get a tag around your arm, with a number that is later changed to an
>entry into several databases, including 'Birth Registry' and you get
>your Person Number for life, in the format YYMMDD-abcd, which is
>unique (at least in Sweden). All forthcoming database entries are based
>on this number, usually as a first key field. Surprise immigrants get a

The Swedish way may be more convenient, but the Nazi way was even more
convenient. The Person Numbers (or NonPerson Numbers, I suppose) were
tattooed directly on the arms.

For many of us, the essence of strong crypto, crypto anarchy, and the
Cypherpunks list is to avoid this "Swedish future." Truly a blight on
mankind, if you ask me.

The U.S is moving swiftly in this direction. (Ironically, the foreign press
clucks at our "fascism" with Proposition 187-type measures, while there own
countries are far more restrictive in allowing immigration.)

Fortunately, I have heard there is a "right wing" backlash growing in some
of the Scandinavian countries, especially Norway and Denmark. ("Right wing"
is what the press calls it...I hope it's really "anti-left wing,"

>other person). Most Government databases are open to the public, so
>the credit tracking agencies don't have to work very hard regarding

The worst of both worlds: the government mandates that information be
collected at every turn, then opens the records for all to see.

>Now, there are laws against cross-referencing various databases
>without the approval of the Data Inspection, which often says no.

To my surprise, several people on this list have expressed support for the
need for so-called "data privacy laws." I look at it this way: if I put
things on my computer based on things I have learned, or even compile lists
of people and places, etc., who can enter my home and demand that I expunge
these records? The problem with well-intentioned laws about data privacy is
that they impinge directly on the freedom to read and write, to make lists,
to enter thoughts into computers, etc. (I'm sure the _intent_ is to go
after MasterCard-type operations and inaccurate records, but businesses in
Britain are already facing investigation for having computerized mailing
lists. Ironically, the Cypherpunks mailing list might be illegal in the
U.K. unless the legal forms were properly filled out, the fees paid, the
parties notified on a regular basis of information about them, etc. And our
archiving of posts is ipso facto illegal under several interpretations of
the Data Privacy laws of some countries unless extensive notifications are
made and permissions received. The Data Privacy laws make us all criminals
for storing received messages in data bases.)

More practically, giving a government the power to say which data bases are
acceptable, and which data bases are illegal, is a terrible thing. Besides
the opportunities for abuse (by a Stalin, a Nixon, a Pol Pot, a Clinton),
it is also an impractical law to enforce, as Mats' next point makes:

>But if you do it illegaly, there is very little risk of detection.
>It looks like the Approved ID will be a smart-card with a signing
>mechanism (probably escrowed), naturally linked to the Person Number,
>real soon now, at least before the mythical y.2000 . Links to physical
>characteristics (retina?) are not (openly) discussed yet but may
>eventually come into play.


>2) Prepare for Crypto Anarchy. Create untrackable net aliases for
>   future use. Keep informed of all the tricks to bypass coming
>   futile attempts to link net pseudonyms to Person Numbers (or
>   physical characteristics). Enjoy (and help create and protect)
>   the virtual sanctuary with digital mixes and anonymous http
>   proxies (and DC-nets or something better eventually).

Sad, isn't it, that the world is rushing headlong into an Orwellian future.
"Disneyland with a death penalty" ("Wired"--S. Sandfort, W. Gibson).

--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."