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flimflamery on anonymity

james donald:
>Lucky Green and Dark Unicorn are not accountable.  This is a problem?
> Because it is a problem "We" need to do something about it, 

(last line is sarcasm for the sarcasm impaired)
a cpunk position I have seen repeated often. it goes along a very
simplistic line of reasoning that I have seen TCM evoke repeatedly.
it rather annoys me. it goes like this:

cyberspace is merely discussion between people. anonymity should
be allowed anywhere there are discussions (its a free speech issue). 
therefore it should be possible everywhere in cyberspace.

this idea lacks a lot of subtlety in thought and to my mind is
tremendously simplistic. first, it suggests that cyberspace as
we now see it is the way it will always be. but that is ridiculous.
what we have today in cyberspace is something like a sophomoric
debate society. it's gradually increasing in professionalism with
the rise of web sites etc.

cyberspace is going to grow to become a lot more than a debate
society, and is in this progress right now. whenever challenged
on anonymity in certain contexts, the extremist cpunk position
is to blur the issue into one of free speech. but the issue is
much different if we are talking about a professional situation.
scientists demand that each other be "accountable" for their
work, for example, and pseudonymous publication simply would
not be acceptable.

cpunks will also argue that anonymity can suffice for any 
business transaction. that may be so, but what about a business
that simply says, "we choose to require identity among our
customers, and you can go elsewhere if you disagree". the 
extremist cypherpunks would be in a quandary over this example,
because they think they can support anarchocapitalist 
freedom and anonymity at the same time. they will argue that
such a business will one day not exist. but shouldn't a business be 
free to make this decision? rabid cpunks would probably 
argue against such a decision.

cyberspace as a whole is *not* going to lead to a totlal motion
away from physical identity. in some ways physical identity will
be more strictly enforced in cyberspace, in "some regions".
there will be other regions of cyberspace in which "anything goes".

anyway, I want to emphasize my main point, that *anonymity* is
not merely about debate societies. it's about human interaction.
any time two or more humans interact in a host of ways that
go beyond communication (such as business transactions, professional
societies, etc) its going far beyond mere speech.

of course in the cpunk mailing list, who cares if there are
anonymous/pseudonymous participants? but using this as a metaphor
for anonymity in general shows a pathetic lack of sophistication
in thinking, imho. there is nothing at stake here on this mailing
list except reputations and egos. but far more is at stake
in the "real world" and the risks posed by anonymity will be
adequately diluted because of this. and it won't be by people
who are all "f***ing statists"-- it will be by reasonable people
such as those who head EFF, who are interested in a civilized

"cryptoanarchy"--? if what is being connoted by this is no one knowing
anyone else's true identity-- sure, in places, if you go looking for them. 
but it will be the invisible underside, not the mainstream of society.