1993-02-28 - Re: More ideas on anonymity

Header Data

From: Johan Helsingius <julf@penet.FI>
To: Matthew Rapaport <mjr@netcom.com>
Message Hash: 9868a94fb8f0487979e30a1abecef0ac6fbb1fdb97a8e03b6d0d9a1b84e7398d
Message ID: <9302281129.aa16174@penet.penet.FI>
Reply To: <9302272259.AA29137@netcom2.netcom.com>
UTC Datetime: 1993-02-28 10:13:59 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 02:13:59 PST

Raw message

From: Johan Helsingius <julf@penet.FI>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 02:13:59 PST
To: Matthew Rapaport <mjr@netcom.com>
Subject: Re: More ideas on anonymity
In-Reply-To: <9302272259.AA29137@netcom2.netcom.com>
Message-ID: <9302281129.aa16174@penet.penet.FI>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> This may be an example of an intractable problem. A case where
> legitimate interests are mutually exclusive at least in practice of not
> in theory.

True. Sigh.

> If Johan has restricted output due to pressure from those communities,
> then he has already been forced to hobble his service's most significant
> *potential* benefit to the community.

Just want to clarify this... I did block access to groups outside alt.*
and soc.* for a week while the worst storm was raging, especially as
Karl Kleinpaste was threatening to kill the server by flooding. I did
re-establish the service as soon as there had been enough opposition to
Karl's suggestion.

At this point, only two groups are blocked, rec.nude and soc.singles,
both as a result of a formal poll on the group in question.

> If a serious whistlblower were to
> come along with some serious evidence and credibility, it is likely that
> he/she would want to post his/her evidence in one or more of the groups
> Johan has locked out!

I suppose this is why we are creating alt.whistleblowers. Other people
could forward those messages to any potentially blocked groups.

> I mean no aspersion on Johan here, he is laboring
> under pressure I'm sure, and he is a pioneer in all of this, and we are
> sharing his experience. I don't mean to take political sides either,
> both sides of the debate have legitimate arguments. In the one other
> post I made on this topic before, I received but one reply remarking
> that I "was preaching to the choir".

Well, I freely admit this is a learning experience for me. And I have
also started to realize that at some point I'm going to have to shut
donwn anon.penet.fi and set up Mark II, based on all the experience we
all have gained in this process. And I really do appreciate all the
enormously valuable experience and input this group has given me in this

> The mutually exclusive nature of these principles emerges in practice
> from what a former boss of mine called the human "ornery" factor. In
> this case that some number of individuals will exercise their "right to
> anonymity" not because they have to, but just because it's there.

Yes, I think I have seen enough good (bad) examples of this in action by
now, but I am afraid I'm going to see a lot more...

> Believe me I sympathize with this view. It keeps authorities and
> would-be authorities on notice that there are those who will test the
> limits of their rights and signal the rest of us if they are eroding. I
> also accept Hal's argument that we are protecting ourselves from
> possible future abuses of central authority. But I also sympathize with
> the sentiments of the other side, that most of the time it is desirable
> to put your name where your mouth/keyboard is. A consensual solution to
> this problem depends on a common political viewpoint, something that is
> certainly not in the cards for contemporary net participants.

Right. So for now we will just have to do a tightrope act... Anyone know
where I can get a pair of glittering thights?