1993-03-02 - Re: Future of anonymity (short-term vs. long-term)

Header Data

From: Theodore Ts’o <tytso@Athena.MIT.EDU>
To: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>
Message Hash: 5343a585c28d083a402a2921e602b09d2b8ea2dd4134b2f12a10f41407d671f1
Message ID: <9303020248.AA26533@SOS>
Reply To: <9303020144.AA01018@soda.berkeley.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-02 04:54:18 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 20:54:18 PST

Raw message

From: Theodore Ts'o <tytso@Athena.MIT.EDU>
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 20:54:18 PST
To: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: Future of anonymity (short-term vs. long-term)
In-Reply-To: <9303020144.AA01018@soda.berkeley.edu>
Message-ID: <9303020248.AA26533@SOS>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

   Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 17:44:23 -0800
   From: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>

   >There doesn't seem to be a lot of realism in these discussions, which is
   >really bothering me.  

   What you believe to be real and what I believe to be real may be
   different.  To claim that another is being unrealistic is to mask
   what is foremost a difference in belief.

   What assumptions here do you disagree with?  If you are explicit,
   perhaps we can forge an agreement.

Well, let's see.... the most recent assumption I disagreed with was the
claim that we could implement full-fledged postive reputation filters,
complete with the use of RSA, and deploy it on the Usenet in some sort
of time-frame less than ten years out --- and even that is doubtful.
Look at how many sites are running B News, long after C news has been
out.  Anonymous remailers are here *today*.

Then there's assumption that anonymous ID's would automatically have no
weight --- they may have very little weight, but even today, they
probably have some weight.  I could probably construct some sort of NSA
conspiracy theory, and have it posted so it looked like it came from 20
different pseudonyms, and it probably would be believed by a lot of

Fundamentally, however, there's the basic assumption that anarchy per se
is good; which is a basic philosophical belief which I just plain
disagree with.  I have strong Libertarian leanings, although I don't
necessarily believe in the Libertarian party --- however, complete and
total anarchy goes far beyond what I believe is a reasonable or
realistic way to run a society; that's basically a "might makes right"
form of government.  In cyberspace, most of the people on this list
would probably be listed among the mighty: we understand computers, and
cryptography, and how to use them, "much better than the average bear".
So it is not surprising that there are many on this list who think
crypto anarchy is a good thing; however, I am not convinced that this
would be a terribly just or better society than what we have now --- the
only difference which class of people would be in power.

In any case, a basic assumption which seems to permeate the arguments
made by various people on this list is that anarchy is good.  Perhaps I
am running away from an argument, but in my experience, it is rare that
an argument with a religious fanatic bears any fruit, and it seems that
there are people who such militant anarchists that futher discussion
doesn't seem to have much of a point.

How does that saying go?  "Don't bother trying to teach a pig to sing.
It just frustrates you, and annoys the pig."

						- Ted