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Re: What is the EFF doing exactly?



Stanton McCandlish <[email protected]> writes on cpunks:
> [again, since I'm not on the CP list these days, feel free to bounce this 
> over to the list if it doesn't make it. I'm not sure what the 
> non-subscriber posting policy is and/or whether such attempted posts are 
> filtered out, though I seem to recall they didn't used to be.]

Cypherpunks always has been and remains an open list.  You shouldn't
need to wonder given cypherpunk views on free speech :-)

> Black Unicorn <[email protected]> writes:
> > enough with its own policy to prevent its staff and board from making
> > embarassing big brother type proposals to curtail the ability of any of us
> > to post without attributation would be an alternative.  I think an
> 
> In other words you propose an alternate EFF that censors its own
> boardmembers.

No.  But I too am rather suprised to hear an EFF board member
apparently speaking against free speech.  OK, so maybe she was
mis-quoted so I wait for her rebuttal, but nope, she basically to my
reading reiterates nothing but negative opinions on free speech and
anonymity.

Tim's quotes of her CFP speech further demonstrates her leanings.

> I'm not aware of any logical consistency that could adhere to an 
> organization that simultaneously says it supports free speech, yet 
> demands that its board of directors never speak except in agreement with 
> the organization's policy.  You are asking for a mini-dictatorship.  EFF 
> has no position on anonymity.  We also have no position on abortion or on 
> whether roast duck is better than fried chicken. You are in essence 
> demanding that EFF impeach any boardmember that offers an opinion in 
> public or in private about whether or not chicken is good stuff, or states
> a belief about right to choose v. right to life positions.  
> 
> I'm sorry that we are not totalitarian enough for you.

Lets put it this way: if Louis Freeh offered to be an EFF board
member, would you take him on board?  If he seemed quite
pro-anonymity, and free speech, and later turned out to be having
doubts, would you keep him?

Ie if her views are proving a liability for EFFs reputation, perhaps
you all ought to get together and see if you can work something out?

Anonymity is a pretty darn major issue here, so it'd be really sad to
see EFF coming down on the wrong side.  I've seen some of the other
EFF insiders own opinions, and would like to see them adopted in place
of Dyson's views, which whether they are her opinion or not, are more
likely to get misrepresented by the press as such, in face of a lack
of an EFF position.  EPICs statement looked a reasonable start.

> Incidentally, Dyson made no such proposal as you refer to, but simply 
> expressed questions and doubts about the misuse of anonymity, and made a 
> clear and correct statement of fact ("you need to be able to get at 
> somebody's identity to enforce accountability") without offering any 
> value judgement about whether that was a good idea. 

She sounded pretty anti-anonymity to me.

Are there a shortage of political and net-aware libertarians for board
candidates or something?

> She concluded that "the question is how do you also enforce freedom
> of speech and freedom from prosecution for unpopular opinions,"
> clearly indicating at least as much doubt about the value of any
> attempt to force identifiability and accountability.  Even Dyson's
> lead statement that "the damage that can be done by anonymity is far
> bigger" online that offline is factually correct, and does not
> consist of any kind of value judgement. It's simply an honest and,
> IMNERHO, necessary observation.

Perhaps the quote was unfortunate, perhaps she has also said
pro-anonymity things.  But a person who is pro-anonymity would surely
try to emphasise the pro arguments also?  The material I have seen so
far does not seem to indicate that this is the case.

If this is the case she needs to be _much_ more careful about what she
says in `personal' interviews.

> If we lie to the public, or lie to ourselves, we lose, because the
> opposition will have arguements we have not even looked at much less
> wrestled with.
> 
> I'm sorry we are not self-delusional and dishonest enough for you.

Be sure to express the pro-anonymity arguments while you're zealously
hammering out every last thing that can go wrong with anonymity: like
that free speech is not possible with out it.  It's pretty much all or
nothing, either you think free speech is worth the risk, or you prefer
big brother, government access to keys, the works.

[see http://www.c2.org/~winsock/ for a windows remailer]

Adam
--
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