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Re: Friedman (The Younger) Sings...


At 2:06 PM -0500 on 12/21/98, Declan McCullagh wrote:

> I see Bob is incorrectly assuming that the folks at the Cato Institute knew
> nothing about cryptoanarchy before David's speech this fall...

I see Declan is correctly picking nits about my use of the word "the". :-).
Your definition of "is" may vary, of course. Must be the water in DC, or
something. ;-).

The actual content of Freidman's speech aside (apparently), I stand upbraided,
your honor, as I'm sure *you* told the Catons all about CryptoA way before
they *ever* heard of Friedman. ;-).

(Yes, I know, Declan, you *know* Freidman, he was a good friend of yours, and
so forth and so on...)

> (The audience may be a different story, though.)

- From the questions, which were the standard clueless ones one gets from the
"policy" establishment on cryptoanarchy and anarchocapitalism, and, frankly,
cryptography in general, it sounded to me like they were receiving a first
hearing of Dr. Friedman, the putative (philosophical) godfather of all
cypherpunkery. An attack on flatland from the sky, and all that.

One way or another, the proof is in the .ra viewing, for anyone who wants to
go look for themselves.

Which segues me, in an attempt to ad value to the thread, other than thrashing
Declan for his nits :-), viz:

Given the remarkable cypherpunk-like sound of Dr. Friedman, the real question
here is, who came first, Freidman-egg, or cypherpunk-chickens?  The first
edition of "The Machinery of Freedom" came out in the early 1980's, (83?,
though somewhat-recently revised), yet Freidman leans heavily on post-mid-80's
Chaum in his talk to Cato, and uses heretofore cypherpunk neology, like
"anonymous remailers", "reputation capital", and the like. Not to mention
actual citation of the list itself in reference to Brin's book about the
hopelessness of all privacy.

And, of course, cash-settled information purchases. He mentions IPiracy in his
Cato talk, and tries to work around it contractually, and intimates that
watermarking might be silly unless you can recompile your code with
canary-traps for every customer, but doesn't say anything, like he should,
about Hughes'"organized piracy" idea, much less recursive (geodesic) auctions,
and so forth, as the obvious emergent solution to the whole problem of
"intellectual" property. Maybe he prefers contracts because he's employed by a
law school, or something? :-).

Personally, I think myself that people haven't read Coase closely enough. That
is, it seems to me that an encrypted copy of something in storage of my
exclusive control is about as private as private property can get, and as
such, I can sell it for whatever I can get for it.

If it's on my hard drive, it ain't yours anymore, in other words. Somewhere,
in my rants-to-do stack, is something on this topic, especially in light of
the explosively emerging MP3 market out there, and, paradoxically, the market
for the blind signature patent.


Version: PGP for Personal Privacy 5.5.5

Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'