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You really do want to volunteer, don't you?
Item: Getting a transponder or bar-coded "EZ Pass" for your vehicle is
completely voluntary....but if you don't have one of these transponders or
passes, you'll have to go to the "manual" lane...Oh, and it seems that due
to budget cutbacks we're short on staff and so you'll have to wait a
while...maybe _quite_ a while.
(Plus, while you're waiting maybe we'll just snap a photo of your license
plate anyway, as you might be a terrorist or Mann Act felon trying to evade
Item: The U.S. is proud to call its tax system "voluntary," in terms of
what citizens report. (The voluntary term was never that participation was
voluntary, only that a tax collector did not show up in person and decide
what a person owed.) However, to ensure compliance with the voluntary part,
citizen-units will find that their bank narcs them out to FinCEN and IRS,
and that electronic intercepts of financial dealings are common, and that
"compliance audits" are far more draconian than ordinary citizen-units
Item: Key recovery is purely voluntary. Unless you try to communicate with
foreigners. Unless you are involved in any communications with drug
dealers, money launderers, terrorists, child pornographers, or any other
(Wouldn't you really rather play it safe and use the Government Approved
Item (in the Very Near Future): "But, Mr. and Mrs. Zludnick, the
ChildFinder (TM) implant is painless and quick. Based on the technology
used to find lost pets, ChildFinder (TM) allows authorities in public
places to scan for kidnapped or lost children. Surely you'd want your
daughter to have access to this technology? While completely
voluntary--after all, Mr. Zludnick, we are still a democracy, aren't
we?--you should be aware that the school nurse will be most unhappy if your
children are not ChildFinder-compatible. Not to mention the teachers who
count on using RollTaker (TM) to automatically take the roll of students.
And your children will have to take tests in special rooms, and checked for
evidence of identity spoofing. All in all, Mr. and Mrs. Zludnick, I think
you can see the problems. Why, in a sense, it would be a kind of child
abuse, don't you think, to make your little Johnny and Suzy such oddities
in the class. I'm sure you wouldn't Child Protective Services to make one
of their "visits," would you? They're oh-so-thorough in uncovering signs of
an unwholesome home environment. And then where would you be? So, can I
assume you'll be volunteering?"
What we are seeing is an Orwellian abuse of the English language. Programs
are introduced as "voluntary" ones, but the alternatives are either
deliberately made time-consuming and annoying, or the alternatives are just
(I'm not talking about what private individuals or companies ask for.
Alice's Restaurant is free to require patrons to wear silly hats, as it is
their property. What I'm confining my comments to is the "mandatory
voluntary" nature of more and more government programs.)
The airline bag confirmation system is an in-between situation. It is
partly a security matter to require bags be correlated with actual flying
passengers...cuts down on bombs sent in bags. But it is also a
surveillance/tracking issue, and the airlines are playing the tune the
government calls for.
(Else why would airlines not accept passengers who a) in fact board the
plane, and b) pay in cash for their tickets? It used to be this way. No
more. Now they demand a True Name, regardless of how easy it is to buy
phony documents. If I can buy a phony set, or can even make up my own,
imagine what actual terrorists can do.)
And there's the whole issue of Social Security Cards. My card, issued in
1969, says it's not be used for any purposes except SS and income tax
matters. Tell that to the many agencies, public and corporate, demanding
The point? Our privacy is being "escrowed." The automobile transponders and
barcoded vehicle passes are touted as voluntary, but they really are not.
Chaumian, identity-protecting technologies need to be deployed.
Frankly, I think Cypherpunks are getting off track with all the recent
focus on "old" technologies (which I'll leave unspecified, as my point is
not to attack certain pet projects).
The real stuff is going undone.
There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected] 408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."