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Re: sooner or later

At 11:22 AM -0700 9/19/97, Wei Dai wrote:
>On Fri, 19 Sep 1997, Tim May wrote:
>> You mean like the way the ban on drugs was impractical and could be skirted
>> in various ways, forcing the ban on drugs to "go away"?
>The ban on alcohol went away, why not the ban on drugs?  It won't even
>require a constitutional amendment.  Are you being sarcastic or agreeing
>with me?
>In any case, the analogy between crypto and drugs is interesting. Perhaps
>after the ban many people will obtain their crypto and crypto-related
>services from organized crime.

I'm challenging your point that the difficulty of enforcement, corruption,
whatever, will be a reason crypto bans will be rescinded.

As to the difference between Prohibition and War on (Some) Drugs, there are
some differences.

With the ban on alcohol, this went against many centuries (or millenia) of
cultural norms about wine, beer, and so on. And the majority of Americans
were consumers. In particular, older, politically more influential persons.

By contrast, drug use has typically been confined to the lower classes or
the rebellious young. Not a lot of pols are dope smokers, though there are
certainly some.

Where crypto fits is not immediately clear, but certainly most Americans
are not regular users, and will not be visiting "crypto speakeasies" to
partake of forbidden code.

Also, 50 years passed between the failed experiment of Prohibition and the
still-going-strong-after-25-years War on (Some) Drugs. There is little
movement toward repealing the WOD. Further, many of the special interest
groups--pharmaceutical makers, growers, distributors, crime syndicates, the
CIA--are apparently quite happy with the status quo, for obvious reasons.

In short, I think it far likelier that a crypto ban will more closely
resemble the War on Drugs than it will the relatively short-lived

(I'm off to Stanford now, so will be out of touch for a few days.)

--Tim May

The Feds have shown their hand: they want a ban on domestic cryptography
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
ComSec 3DES:   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."