1993-01-23 - a few good weasels

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From: deltorto@aol.com
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 3222cffb840f3d9f1ae6f3d40bd9fbd64843a6ad2ba6a02ac087f3fbb9e5fe78
Message ID: <9301231627.tn05014@aol.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-01-23 21:27:32 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 23 Jan 93 13:27:32 PST

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From: deltorto@aol.com
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 93 13:27:32 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: a few good weasels
Message-ID: <9301231627.tn05014@aol.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Eric.Fogleman@analog.com contributes his view that:

>>I agree with Dave Deltorto's idea about "a body that decided on a case
>>by case (or a class by class) basis what accounts would be subject to
>>heavy scrutiny".  Or perhaps limiting certain public servants (the
>>chief executive, Oliver North's successor, etc) to a set of 
>>"open" computing systems and communication paths.  (Similar to limiting
>>people with security clearances to sets of closed computing systems, 
>>communication paths.)
>>Dave says:
>>> Unfortunately, this begins to create a overseeing body so
>>> huge and convolute as to render the entire process unwieldly 
>>> approaching on the absurd. I read Kafka's "The Trial" and I don't 
>>> want to face that sort of Juggernaut any time soon.   
>>Unwieldy?  Kafka-esque?  Expensive?  Possibly, but it doesn't have to
>>be that way.  As Bongo says:  "The price of freedom is eternal
>>vigilance."  How much do you want to pay?

Well, Eric, I take your point, and I'm willing to 'pay' quite a bit for
freedom, especially if I have pals like you to help out in the biz of
watchfulness. :-)   I guess what I was trying to get at here was that the
process could become so convolute that it would no longer be _technically
feasible_ to keep an eye on the dangerous character(s) such as the
President's National Security Advisor, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the twisted
geeks at the CIA, their cronies at the FBI, Hillary Clinton (whoops, she's
probably OK) etc, etc, ad nauseam. This doesn't mean I wouldn't _like_ to
make sure they're carefully monitored, I just look at the volume of
paperwork/electronic files generated by even the most lowly federal agencies
and imagine that such a watchdog agency might be logistically incapable of
doing the job properly, assuming it could do it in an unobstructed and
non-compromised way in the first place. There would have to be a highly
selective, maybe viciously random way of keeping potential abusers in line.
And who watches the watchdog? Kevin Costner?

Speaking of which, has anyone seen this movie "A Few Good Men?" Jack
Nicholson plays this meansumnabitch Marine Colonel who basically takes the
law into his own hands, blinded by his self-righteous view of his job to
protect "us" to the point where he has a young Marine murdered (Jack's great
in this one, guys, go check out the bargain matinee). Now, I'm not saying
that all government agents are that sick and perverse in the zealous pursuit
of their goals, but I acknolwedge that such people can and probably do exist
and that if we remain divided and unguarded, we all live at their mercy. I
figure the only things that keep us safe at night are pure luck and the few
government dudes who let a few details slip into the hands of say, the few
crypto-anarchists who can balance things out. A world of absolutes is not a
fun world and it's not a safe world. Someone's gotta break the rules every
once in a while or we all go down the tubes. Of course, I _personally_ would
_never_ break any of the fine laws of our beloved nation, but I know deep in
my heart (but not anywhere on my hard disks) that such brave people exist and
that the effect of their less-than-legal efforts is the delicate equilibrium
in which we continue to prosper and innovate.

I have more to say in this, but it's almost dawn and I have to flitter back
to my coffin.