1993-11-09 - (fwd) Clipper and Tipper on Route 666

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From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 99f4383f9733a2d139b5f7e1055546195e0dcd5b064975b63351b0c358fc704c
Message ID: <199311090345.TAA20358@mail.netcom.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-11-09 03:48:29 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 8 Nov 93 19:48:29 PST

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 93 19:48:29 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: (fwd) Clipper and Tipper on Route 666
Message-ID: <199311090345.TAA20358@mail.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I was able to "christen" a brand new newsgroup,
"alt.politics.datahighway," with this posting. For those of you who
have announced that you do not like to see political points raised in
the Cypherpunks group, that only serious discussion of the XJ9 e-mail
protocols and their MIME compliance is a worthy topic, I say that a
bit of politics is always appropriate.

In any case, Cyperpunks believe in kill files, I hope.


Newsgroups: alt.politics.datahighway
From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Subject: Clipper and Tipper on Route 666
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1993 03:11:10 GMT

The Clipper chip, introduced by the Clinton Administration to ensure
that they can easily listen in on our phone conversations, is closely
related to Albert Gore's "National Information Infrastructure."

To ensure that the Net of the Future is safe for K-12 outings and
field trips and that perverts and dissidents are kept off this
national resource, a special chip has been developed which censors
obscene speech, rock music lyrics, and non-Baptist religious speech.

This chip is known as the "Tipper" chip.

(Many other chips exist in this family of "X-ippper" chips, including
the Navy's Flipper chip, RCA's Nipper chip, DEC's Pipper chip, and so

Perhaps we can encourage the "700 Club," which did an excellent attack
piece on Clipper (yes, seriously, they did), to attack the ClintonNet
"data superhighway." I suggest they call it "Route 666."

As you may be able to tell from my satire here, I consider the Data
Superhighway a boondoggle at best and a dangerous move toward
centralilzed computing at worst.

A few days ago, at the Hackers Conference, I expressed this view to
Tom Kalil, of the White House. He apparently is one of the charmingly
named "policy wonks" responsible for planning our digital future. A
pleasant enough guy, but I don't want him or any other policy wonk
planning the future of the networks.

The free market has produced--and is continuing to produce at a
breakneck speed--a diverse, vigorous international network. From local
LANs to fiber to satellites to a variety of even faster links, there
is no lack of alternatives. 

And unlike the National Interstate Highway System, to which the NII is
often compared (perhaps wrongly...), there is absolutely no need for
the government to get involved. No land is needed (as was the case in
the 1950s when the Interstates were being built), and no centralized
planning is needed.

Do we want networks built and run by the equivalent of the Postal
Service--or by the equivalent of FedEx and Airborne?

A government effort will likely skew normal market forces, lay
network lines in places they are not needed, be built by the pork
barrel procurement policies that have given us so many other
boondoggles, and will turn engineers into proposal-writing pigs at the
public trough.

I say we kill the Data Superhighway the way we killed the
Supercollider. Except, this time let's do it before we spend a few
billion bucks we don't have.

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
Note: I put time and money into writing this posting. I hope you enjoy it.