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politics of topology (was On the LAM--Local Area Mixes)




m k gandhi used to say that it was good india was colonised by the _british_ -
the poor fools were vulnerable to non-violent rational argument and (relatively) 
concerned about such oddities as human rights.

one problem with tim may's idea for local area mixes is just that: relying on
US stickliness on wimpy rules for search/interception is all very well, but 
wouldn't fly in china. i won't get into the argument over how awful
the US state is here, but if all cypherpunk technology can fight is the "tyrannical"
democracies of the west, it's not much good, IMNSHO. 

besides, if such technology becomes widespread in, say, the US, then it's 
inevitable that the authorities will tend towards more _real_ tyrannical behaviour, 
diluting search/seizure protections and taking you closer to china. a weak vaccine
 _strengthens_ the microbe it is supposed to kill. 

today your tech may let you plan stink-bomb attacks on the IRS in peace; tomorrow
it may not be sufficient to let you publish articles critical of the goverment.

i always thought the cypherpunk idea ("write code" etc) was to develop tech
that is _independent_ of political protections. technology will not undermine the
power of governments, if it is based on (incorrect) assumptions that governments
will continue to restrain themselves (e.g. search & seizure) when faced by increasing
use of such tech. 

i should think that LAMs would be excellent test-beds for larger-scale systems,
but it is larger-scale systems, where you don't assume the government's _not_
snooping because it's squeamish, that matter more. 

best,
-rishab

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