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Technical difficulties with AP [AP NOISE]
Aside from details like dead bodies, vendettas, and government suppression,
there are technical complications with Assassination Politics
that make it more than the simple job Jim Bell is imagining.
Some of them provide ways to defend against AP, and turn it into more like
[Do I _really_ want to bring up more discussion of AP?
Not sure, but if it's clear that it won't work very well,
it'll be less likely for the government media to freak about :-)]
Let's look at the critical part of the problem - paying the assassin.
The model we've generally been using is that the players are the
victim, the escrow agent who manages the system, an enthusiastic public,
and the assassin or assassins who are competing for the jackpot.
I can see three approaches to identifying the correct payee:
1) Payee provides physical evidence to the escrow agent -
the traditional approach doesn't work here: since the
escrow agent is anonymous, so you can't mail him the
victim's wallet or finger with well-known fingerprint or whatever.
2) Assassin leaves physical evidence at the scene which the news media
would be likely to report, which payee confirms with escrow
agent, presumably committing in advance (e.g. after the event,
the payee sends a key which allows the escrow agent to decode
the encrypted message that said "I'm leaving a note on the body
saying 'Jacques De Molay is Avenged - Assassin's Guild Member #32767'.")
Works fine for the first couple of assassinations, but after a while
the police will catch on and stop revealing kinky details to the media.
3) The main solution has been the gambling deal -
it's just a lottery on the date of death of the victim, which presumably
the payee will win because he knows when the assassin will strike.
For a lottery to be effective, prospective assassins need to
be able to determine how much the jackpot is and who the victim is,
so they can place their bets and be the closest winner.
But the prospective victim can also play, individually or as part
of an insurance pool (which is especially valuable for victims like
"the first IRS agent to be assassinated".) Obviously you don't want
to just bid up the price on your own head, so it needs to be accompanied
by publicity that the IRS Agents' Benevolent Association is placing
a large number of small bets every day to maximize the chances that
_they_ will collect the money rather than the assassins.
If the times that the bets are for are published, you can beat this,
but you also invite speculators to be small bets just before and after
your bets, so it becomes a mishmash and perhaps a race condition.
If the times aren't published, the assassin can make lots of bets
surrounding the planned date of the hit, which is also a warning
to the prospective victim to be careful if the bets on his demise
start increasing rapidly.
This does make the AP lottery somewhat of an extortion deal -
by advertising that someone is a target, you're forcing them to
continually make lots of bets. But if they've got any way of tracing
money, even partially, it'll help them find the escrow agent,
who can then be targeted for justice of one sort or another.
You're also forcing the assassin to make lots of bets, though in
a jackpot system the successful payee will recover most of it.
To some extent the defense can be fought if the escrow agent
wants to establish a minimum bet, say $100, which an assassin
can afford to make a few of for the targeted day, but the
victim can't keep paying too much. This also reduces the
since of the potential better pool, and therefore reduces
the jackpot and the attractiveness of the job to the assassin.
Lots of people might be willing to spend $5 to contribute;
$100 bets are much fewer, especially if there are enough
targets to successfully overthrow a government.
# Thanks; Bill
# Bill Stewart, +1-415-442-2215 [email protected]
# <A HREF="http://idiom.com/~wcs">
# You can get PGP software outside the US at ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/crypto