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The politics of crypto archives



 Forwarded message:
 
 > Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 17:46:37 +0100
 > From: Mok-Kong Shen <[email protected]>
 > Subject: Re: Building crypto archives worldwide to foil US-built Berlin Walls (fwd)
 
 > Let there be a large number of sites. If part of these fail, there
 > are others that are successful. (Compare evolution.)
 
 But two sites don't reproduce to make a 3rd site, some set of sites don't
 deny environmental resources to others, etc. etc. Your analogy is flawed on
 many levels.
 
 If the sites go down that often what motive would somebody else have if they
 know they'll face the same sorts of problems and won't have any additional
 resources to help them face it?
 
 Why would you put up a site if you knew that the 14 others before had failed
 and that nobody would help with your legal fees when you did go down?
 
 It's one thing to put your neck on the block for yourself, it's a whole
 other issue when you start asking other people to do it for your benefit
 (they obviously don't need an archive since they have the resources already)
 when you make it clear that you won't reimburse or otherwise recognize their
 efforts for YOU.
 
 > > > If the 'economies', 'infrastructure' 'religon' and what not of the
 > > > countries do not (yet) affect crypto laws, why care about them? If
 > > 
 > > They effect crypto by defintion.
 > 
 > How, for example, can they affects the functioning of an archive, if 
 > you get the right people and machine?
 
 Because those machines have to be available and paid for, their utilities need
 to exist and need to be reliable, the police need to have some sort of legal
 boundary to cross, and you need some recognized and guaranteed legal recourse 
 for your own self defence.
 
 Those are just a couple of the issues involved in running a archive site.
 
 Things don't exist in vacuum. You naively take WAY(!!!) too much for
 granted.
 
 I'll tell you what. Just as an experiment put up a CDR node for 6 months
 and see what it's like. Keep the box up 24 hours a day, pay the electricity,
 phone lines, domain name, etc. We're talking less than $500 total if you
 already own a box. Such an experiment is within the reach of just about 
 any person who has sufficient resources (even students) to surf the web.
 
 If you don't have the infrastructure to send the email in the clear then
 crypto won't effect that one whit. And putting up an archive that nobody
 can get to is not worth the effort either.
 
 > > If they don't have crypto laws it's likely they don't have a lot of other
 > > sorts of laws and the social and economic structure those laws imply. This
 > > makes it very difficult to operate a archive with any sort of stability or
 > > protection.
 > 
 > It is not true that there are more gangsters in the small than in 
 > the powerful nations. What do you mean by stability (which has plenty 
 > of meanings)?
 
 Well of course not, the populations aren't comparable. However, it is clear
 that smaller 3rd world countries have much more stringent regulations or
 because the instability causes there to be no standards to regulation and
 lack many of the protections we in the US take for granted. It makes the
 continued existance of the archive problematic. Putting up an archive on
 Monday only to have it go down on Tuesday is pyrrhic at best.
 
 I use stability in the commen political meaning. The country has a
 political and social system that is long-lived, has a well defined mechanism
 for transfer of power (if they even recognize transfer of power), etc.
 
 If you're in a situation where some rebels or other forces start lobbing
 mortar shells into your immediate area then crypto is the least of your 
 worries. Or as in Columbia where a group drove into town, drug people out
 into the street and shot them in the head.
 
 Consider S. Korea. Even though it's a democracy it's illegal to operate a
 firewall. The closest place S. Koreans can get in many cases to a firewall
 and network security (for groups outside of S. Korea) is Australia. Now how
 do you expect to seriously run a crypto site when the military and police
 have a legal authority to come rummage in your system at will? And can put
 you in detention if you deny them that access?
 
 Those sorts of places are where crypto is needed but clearly can't do the
 job for themselves.
 
 > > And what about the costs and effects incurred by that person you so glibly
 > > throw away?
 > 
 > I suppose that running an archive is a voluntary (self-sacrificing)
 > act of a benovolent person ready to offer his service to the public. 
 > If his site has to close down sometime later, he has to accept his 
 > bad luck. Why should you care so much minutely for him? (And you
 > say below that the money problem is trivial!)
 
 No, it isn't self-sacrifice. It's sacrifice for the users of that archive.
 Their motives are not self-centered, they're society centered. As users of
 those archives you OWE them.
 
 I would suggest strongly(!) that you spend more time studying ethics and
 morality.
 
 > So it rests to find people who have the time and (that small) money 
 > and energy to run sites and some countries that aren't going to
 > have strict cryto laws in the near future. THAT, however, is
 > difficult, I believe.
 
 Duh. I wonder why....(well, actualy I don't)
 
 

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