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Re: DejaNews all over again--a URL for Usenet Searching

[Please don't copy Eugene Volokh <[email protected]> on your follow-ups;
I copied him on my original because I had quoted him.]

At 10:04 PM 11/6/95, [email protected] wrote:

>Judging by the amount of posting you do here, I was surprised that I only
>got 36 listings on your new address (1/3 of which quoted you but not
>directly written by you). Either you post more to alt, soc and talk (which
>don't have) or you use a third address (the second thing I tried was
>[email protected], even less, though the archive's pretty recent, so that's

I do little posting these days on Usenet. There is almost no sense of
"community" there, in the sense of persistent, memorable posters, and in
the sense of even _slightly_ having similar goals and aspirations. A vast
number of the posts on any topic come from people who just rolled off the
turnip truck and who have no interest in learning.

>I figured I'd send this to you as a private note, but then I figured
>this thing really is scary and has a lot to do with anonymity.
>Watch out folks. Litte Brother is saving everything you've ever said on
>usenet. Your old posts just won't go away.

I've assumed this for many years. One used to be able to buy "Usenet on
CD-ROM"...before the volume got to be too high. I've always assumed that
archives would be increasingly available, eventually covering the entire
history of Usenet, going back to the early 80s, and with tools for tracking
the changes in login names over time (so that, for example, Perry's 1984
postings could be easily retrieved).

Dossier services are coming, of course. If not legal to operate in the
U.S., trivial to locate offshore. ("Employers, we will provide a scan of
prospective employers. We can let you know if potential employees have ever
posted to alt.drugs, alt.homosexual, alt.deviancy, or alt.cypherpunks.
Avoid needless risks.")

>(Not that someone who is so open in his views and true name as yourself
>would mind, Tim, but I'm certainly happy for my sake, that alt isn't archived
>yet. It's bad enough they have rec.)

Huh? What makes you think "alt" is not archived? Just because DejaNews
doesn't index it doesn't mean it is isn't archived in various places.

Paul Robichaux pointed me to another searcher, http://www.excite.com/,
which _does_ index the alt groups. I'm sure more are coming, reaching
further and further back in time. (At the rate the Net has been expanding,
by the time they can archive-and-index the last year of Usenet, they can
get the entire history for not much more. I'll bet this happens by the end
of 1997.)

>Ps. I will of course run searches on every other address that the who
>command on [email protected] supplies me with, so watch what you say
>ladies, gents and otherwise. ;->
>Get those 'nyms ready.

I offered the "Blacknet Dossier Service" a couple of years ago to the
Extropians list subscribers. Nick Szabo helped me out by claiming to the
list that he had purchased his dossier contents, and was "shocked" by what
he found. A number of the Extropian list subscribers were quite perturbed
before I told them it was a joke. Then I pointed out to them that there is
absolutely nothing which stops such things.

--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."