1993-03-03 - Re: You Aren’t [I’m Not]

Header Data

From: Chuck Lever <cel@citi.umich.edu>
To: tytso@athena.mit.edu
Message Hash: b99cfaf38400b933fa10a29e84a0b91b4cdb1b2f89fb9e0e73d23542893938f9
Message ID: <9303031807.AA21650@toad.com>
Reply To: <9303031508.AA26458@maggie.shearson.com>
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-03 18:07:19 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 10:07:19 PST

Raw message

From: Chuck Lever <cel@citi.umich.edu>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 10:07:19 PST
To: tytso@athena.mit.edu
Subject: Re: You Aren't [I'm Not]
In-Reply-To: <9303031508.AA26458@maggie.shearson.com>
Message-ID: <9303031807.AA21650@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

<  > From: Theodore Ts'o <tytso@athena.mit.edu>
<  > 
<  > Sorry; typo on my part.  What I meant to say was "No, I am not arguing
<  > that free speach is bad."  Mr. Metzger was putting words in my mouth
<  > when claimed that I was saying that.
<  > 
<  > Anonymity and free speach are *NOT* the same thing.  As I posited in an
<  > earlier message, which no one has yet to comment on, those two concepts
<  > are not the same thing.  
<  Yes they are, Ted. They are mathematically equivalent. If I can say
<  anything, I can say it in code. If I can say anything, I can repeat what
<  someone else said in code, possibly transforming it. Ta Da, remailers.
<  To stop remailers, you will need to stop free speech. Please at least
<  admit this much. It might be unpleasant, but in a society with no
<  prior restraints on speech it is likely not possible to stop cryptographic
<  systems to assure anonymity.

   let me say that some of this discussion has certainly been mind-
   bending, and i appreciate having taken part.  i would like to
   add my 2 pfennigs worth.  anonymity and free speech are different 
   in precisely this way:

   that we are free to say what we want doesn't mean we aren't also
   accountable for what we may say.  when we can speak freely *and*
   anonymously, then we are no longer accountable for what we say.

   anonymous free speech is a *stronger* form of free speech; this is
   what i think perry is arguing.  however, this stronger form of 
   freedom means individuals are no longer accountable for their 
   words or behavior;  this, i believe, is ted's concern.

   i can see that some members of this list are interested in providing
   an environment where these fundamentally social issues are solved 
   technically.  however, this seems to be an issue which cries out for 
   a social solution, with perhaps a technical implementation.  they
   may be looking to (over)simplify these social issues so that they are 
   *easily* solved technically, and this is where they might be going

   in our society, for example, there are strong cultural restrictions on
   what we can say.  these are not mandated by law.  these are the rules
   of the game when it comes to existing in a particular culture.  an
   instance of such rules might be "politeness vs. rudeness."

   accountability can have positive or negative affects.  it seems to
   me that the usefulness of anonymous free speech hinges on whether
   the speaker should or should not be held accountable for her/his
   words.  i can't find an easy technical way of making possible free
   speech which is beneficial, but limiting non-beneficial free speech.
   there may be, however, ways of structuring or socially incorporating
   anonymous free speech such that the benefial uses are encouraged, and
   the maleficient uses are reduced.  but i feel strongly that the 
   approach will have to be socially, not technically based.

   i don't think digital cash is a really equitable way of accomplishing
   this.  as soon as economics are involved, individuals will be sucked
   into classes of "haves" and "have-nots".  while markets are good, the
   effects on individuals can be horrendous, as serious as censorship.  
   are we trying for meritocracy, or for rule based on who has the most 

   accountability is critical to those who can't protect themselves from 
   the government or from other members of society.  these are precisely
   the people who would be burned by such an economic system.  this *is*
   what the media is for, right?