1993-04-19 - FWEE!: Silence is Golden, already

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From: deltorto@aol.com
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 7180daefc647bc9b6690733eb458551eb3c14f25ad5da17ed008a081d5b45db2
Message ID: <9304191339.tn35251@aol.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-04-19 17:40:50 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 19 Apr 93 10:40:50 PDT

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From: deltorto@aol.com
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 93 10:40:50 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: FWEE!: Silence is Golden, already
Message-ID: <9304191339.tn35251@aol.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain


Lance Detweiler wrote a rather stinging (and somewhat rude, IMHO) rebuttal of
Will Kinney's posting:

>>Mr. Kinney's comments annoy me tremendously. They bespeak a lukewarm,
>>lackadaisical, and wishwashy view of something of extreme importance.
>>Frankly, it bothers me that it has taken this long just to get the
>>whistleblower group going. I don't think anything is being accomplished
>>by delaying newsgroup creation.  It just gives people who are enemies
>>more time to mount a concerted attack against this new blip in the status

Mr. Detweiler's (who is otherwise pretty sensible and intelligent on this
list) comments annoy me tremendously. To imagine that Mr. Kinney is without
passion just because he doesn't run across the ice without listening for
cracks first is to vastly underestimate his intelligence. That sort of
thinking gets your tail wet every time, Lance. Better to proceed cautiously
and stay dry.

Who says a measured, patient build doesn't result in solid software (to be
metaphorical)? Using Lance's logic, we'd all throw together code "real fast"
and not worry about it crashing on everyone's systems. I like my 1.0's more
stable than that, and I just don't understand this need that some folks have
to rush the WB into the public light. In fact, I can't imagine why it should
be public at all! I think Lance and others have no clue about how
Whistleblowing works!

However, I think I might have an idea why Lance et. al. are so confused:
There are TWO DIFFERENT WB systems being discussed here! That's right! TWO!

[1] Lance is talking about a USENET newsgroup.

[2] I'm talking about a service that uses the Internet, but NOT a NEWSGROUP!
Why does WB info need to be placed in public view? Since when does someone
with sensitive information blow it all over the front pages? Never. They call
a reporter first and let him do the legwork with proof they provide: THEN the
reporter blows it all over the front page. I believe that Lance and the
USENET folks want to get their jollies and read all about it in public on
their own personal USENET front page newsgroup (doomed to be a "narc fest" as
someone sagely termed it), whereas MY idea is to have the Cypherpunks pool
technology and assistance to set up something that is used by others outside
the inbred USENET community for the common good and taking advantage of the
inherent advantages of anon/encrypted email technology.

My original concept was not intended to glorify anyone, least of all the
Cypherpunks. In fact it shoould be as QUIET AS POSSIBLE to be of any good at
all. Why is it necessary to get all this glory if the WB system provides REAL
WORLD BENEFITS to the people? Hmmm? Think about it: whose good are we in it
for: our own or everybody's?

Let me be a bit more specific about my vision, lest Lance or anyone jump all
over Will Kinney or anyone else with sound ideas (and decent Sun Tzu quotes)
any further:

[1] The WB System is a stand-alone email system using anonymous mixes and
encryption to provide secure, safe communications between two primary groups:

- Whistleblowers:
People in Government and Industry who have first-hand information about abuse
of human rights, public funds and/or the Constitution, etc. by members of
Corporate and Government entities.

- Users:
Members of the Press, members of Congress and representatives of
public-interest activist groups (eg. Ralph Nader, James Love, Greenpeace,
Amnesty Int'l, Worldwatch, Consumer Reports, NORML, etc.) who can INVESTIGATE
the reports and TAKE ACTION on them against the abusers in the public eye and
in the Courts. Many of these people are clueless about email, much less the
Internet, anonymous remailers or encryption - but they know what they need
and they know we've got it.

[2] The system consists of a network of anonymous mixes laid over the
Internet and reaching in and out of the borders of the US wherever
applicable. It is not a USENET newsgroup for public digest, although
occasional digests would be posted to USENET by interested Cypherpunks.

Anyone who insists on discussing these sensitive plans in public is IMHO
working against the interests of the WB Team and should be considered one of
the Enemy. Anyone who wants to test the technology should be encouraged to do
so on the Cypherpunks list and NOT on USENET, thus maintaining a certain
amount of "radio silence." Broadcasting the D-Day invasion was considered
Treason: broadcasting the WB launch is the same kind of betrayal of the
Cypherpunk Ethos, IMHO. THose who would betray us should be asked to go away
in the interest of all those people who would be hurt by a crippled WB
system. What we need is cunning and stealth, not big-mouthed dweebs (present
readership excluded, natch) who can't keep something quiet.

>>If you think that you are the whistleblower moderator, fine. Be one.
>>But we need a completely unmoderated group. If you think you have any
>>right to hold up an unmoderated group to squeeze through your own
>>bottleneck, please go elsewhere.

I don't think any such thing. If nominated, I will not run, if elected, I
will not serve. However, I think your idea that WB should be a group,
moderated or otherwise, is completely off-kilter. All I'm asking is that you
let go of the glory and let it do its work quietly and effectively, without
me, even.

>>I just don't get it. This is a group like any other.
>>Why do you think the whole international public has
>>to be prepared for its creation by you personally?

I'm not even sure if I should bother to answer such a completely misguided
question, but I will: I do not think this, and have never even implied
anything of the sort. Furthermore, IMHO, it ain't a group: it's a new kind of
beast and you're trying to apply old paradigms to it. Shift, man. I am only
trying to help something be born properly.

>>You are talking to many people (i.e. bureacrats and legislators) who
>>may be totally displaced and bypassed (i.e. lose illegitimate power) by
>>this service.  There are a great many people you are talking to, I
>>think, whose every interest is to totally castrate the project of any
>>`offensiveness'. I think you are trying to operate on a much more
>>respectable level than is possible currently. That level can only be
>>attained by a gradual evolution of the medium, starting with something
>>rather crude, kludgy, and unsophisticated.

Call your local Congressperson's office and tell them there is a possibility
that they could receive whistleblowing info on Govt abuses from reliable
sources reporting via direct anon/encrypted email and see if they think it's
offensive. My experience is that they rub their hands with glee - it might be
dirt on their opponents. Try the same thing with ANY member of the Press or
any Activist Org (I suggest your local Amnesty Int'l office). If they
complain it's "offensive," and you can prove that, I will personally buy you
a car. If you can get them to label it as "respectable" I'll throw in a boat.
Since I'm poor, you can gather that I feel pretty certain it won't happen.

>>Your efforts amount to singlehandedly educating the public about the

Nope, just email. How to get it and send it anonymously and encrypt it with
PGP, but that's enough for most people. They could use CompuServe, I don't
care. Whatever's easy. No messy Newsgroups, no Internet user's guides,
nothing fancy: I leave stuff like that to Ed Krol. This is WB-ing for the
common person. Lowcommondenominatorsville.

I can't IMAGINE where you read this stuff into my postings - it must be YOUR
agenda laid over mine...

>>>- We haven't figured out who'll be polled to send in msgs and exactly HOW
>>>we'll offer them some sort of anonymity and what they need to do
>>polled? sounds like an election, like something democratic, like
>>something that can be twisted by a misguided majority. Again, you sound
>>like you are looking for a group with high quality control.
>>Unfortunately, I think this goal is largely antithetical the essential
>>spirit of the whistleblower idea. The whistleblower is alone and
>>isolated, almost by definition.

Somehow, the word has to be passed across the Internet and other media
(print, TV) to potential WBers. I invite your ideas as to how to do this.

>>Your ideas on filtering incoming
>>messages, gained from those you've talked to, sound rather naive and
>>dangerous to me.

Filtering? Did I say that? I think I said that the Users would have to filter
out the useful WB messages from the bogus, as they would with any volume of
WB info coming in. This is their job, not mine and is the natural thing to
do. Call if "verification" if you like, it's still a LOT of work for them,
not for us (or me). There's nothing naive about this: if someone calls you
and says "the DOD spent $80K on a toothbrush," you would have to make sure it
was true before you went to Congress or to a Court or the front page. Simple
as that.

>>The [US Constitution] is not perfect. There are flaws and cracks
>>that have poked through after 200 years. Do you think our judicial
>>system is as effective as possible? Do you think our legislative system
>>is the most representative of people's expectations of and directives
>>to their subservient government? Do you think our government today
>>truly represents, in all ways, the intentions of its founders? Do you
>>think they considered all possible scenarios? Do you think they would
>>not want to make some minor adjustments or major changes after seeing
>>200 years pass from their noble experiment? Do you think that anything
>>that is dynamic can be static?

Do you think I would be working so hard on a friggin' Whistleblower project
if I could answer 'yes' to _any_ of those questions? What are you THINKing?

>>Look at everything that is efficient in the world, and you will see
>>that it is so because of *independently operating* components, with
>>minimized centralized control.
>>Message transmission on the internet is so
>>reliable because virtually an infinite number of routing pathways exist
>>that a message can take, avoiding any obstacles, each component
>>performing its job *independently*.

Exactly why Wb should be a non-USENET-oriented phenomenon, not associated
with any attackable entity, totally in the hands of individual WB's and their
corresponding Users.

>>Now, let me hear again how you want
>>us to submit all our public keys to you, submit the group guidelines
>>for your personal perusal (and presumably veto), and wait for all your
>>congressional friends to understand the concept? And how this will
>>ultimately lead to an ideal and robust system?

Man, you really don't read me very carefully, do you? I don't want all your
Public keys so I can control anything, I want them so I can discuss elements
of the technology with each of you who volunteer to add a brick to the
structure of the system. Period. If you want to discuss things in the clear,
that's your right, I just might not want to send you sensitive info that
might compromise others, so it's your loss. Besides, why are you guarding
your PUBLIC key like I'm some sort of enemy? And I have NO INTEREST and have
never espoused any interest in becoming a veto power over the Guidelines,
only the collector of everyone's ideas, a position i would GLADLY vacate at
the drop of a SprintPin if someone else was doofus enough to volunteer. As
for waiting for all my "congressional friends:" I have no friends in
Congress, in fact, I have very little respect for anyone holding public
office. The only reason I called any of them was [1] because they might
impart a bit of respectability to our efforts if they sign on early, and [2]
congressional committees and their investigators routinely raise hell with
other branches of Govt (eg. the Military) and the prospect of supplying them
with ammunition to shoot at each other pleases me immensely.

>>You simply don't understand. This idea is bigger than you, it is bigger
>>than me. Anyone who tries to wrap themselves completely around it will
>>explode from the pressure.

Thanks for your advice. Sheesh. FYI, the only thing I wrap myself completely
around is a burritto. Bang! :)

>>Let's' start a mailing group for `nambypambypunks'.

This sort of ad hominem puerility doesn't even deserve a response.

I'm tired of discussing this here: If anyone is still too dense to understand
what I'm saying about patience, silence and persistence at this point, they
have no business using anything as complicated as a computer. If those people
continue to insist on trashing all the leg and phonework I have put in
contacting Users by blorting the WB concept all over USENET with half-assed,
ill-conceived newsgroups and Votes on Vaporware, I may just go elsewhere to
do my good works and see if there are any people who have good invisible ink
technology and can make up physical envelopes without leaving fingerprints. I
imagine that those Cypherpunks who've put significant time into coding the
anon and crypto technology can empathize.

I don't feel like repeating myself any more. Let's be Golden, shall We?

  dave (slow and steady but getting pretty fed up by now)