1993-07-26 - Re: Remailers/PayPhones and Today’s NYT

Header Data

From: murphy@s1.elec.uq.oz.au (Peter Murphy)
To: owner-cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 6a0ede627854cdab7d11da98cb6e508d97243c9019f5da8e786209e91bce91d2
Message ID: <9307260049.AA19807@s2.elec.uq.oz.au>
Reply To: <9307251731.AA28061@tartarus.uchicago.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-07-26 00:55:09 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 25 Jul 93 17:55:09 PDT

Raw message

From: murphy@s1.elec.uq.oz.au (Peter Murphy)
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 93 17:55:09 PDT
To: owner-cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Remailers/PayPhones and Today's NYT
In-Reply-To: <9307251731.AA28061@tartarus.uchicago.edu>
Message-ID: <9307260049.AA19807@s2.elec.uq.oz.au>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> "George A. Gleason" <gg@well.sf.ca.us> writes:
> >And did you read Hugh's posting about the 7pm to 8am coin
> >curfew in Czechago?
> ...
> >Wake up, how much evidence do you need that it's a simple matter of bigotry
> >and classism?
> Hm.  Perhaps it is.  On the other hand, it could also be a combination
> of a little bit of greed for power with a bit of genuine fear and despair.
> You see, if the Chicago Tribune can be believed, there are actual citizens'
> groups lobbying for the removal of pay phones from certain areas of the
> city.  Groups of citizens who *live* in those same areas.
> These folk claim that public pay phones attract drug dealers, presumably
> because of the semi-anonymity they provide.  I don't know personally how
> true this claim is, but I can understand the advantages that a pay phone
> might offer to a drug dealer.  Sure, the "big time" dealers might not
> use anything as plebian as a public pay phone, but drugs are a big booming
> business, and clearly there are far more small-time dealers than big-time
> ones.
> They further claim that drug dealers attract violence.  I don't know myself
> if this is true, but I do know from reading the paper that an absurdly large
> number of people are killed in Chicago by stray bullets shot by drug dealers
> in conflicts with each other.  And, of course, still more folks who *are*
> drug dealers are killed directly, each year.
> Finally, they claim that merchants in certain areas are pandering to the
> drug-dealer market for pay phones by installing far more than one would
> otherwise think necessary.  I haven't seen this myself, but the article I
> read did mention what seemed like unusually large clusters (street corners
> with 7-10 pay phones).
> That's the fear and despair bit.  It could be bigotry, it could be classism--
> but stray bullets are damn good motivators too, and here in Chicago we have
> a lot of them.
> As for greed: this could be a factor, it might not.  At least one alderman
> has made it illegal to install new pay phones in his ward without his explicit
> permission.  Clearly this adds to his power.  The same fellow has made much
> of his public name in recent campaigning against these public pay phones,
> and threatening to take an axe to them himself if some of them weren't
> removed.  Make of this what you will.
> How much more evidence do I need that it's a simple matter of bigotry
> and classism?  Well, a bit more than I've seen so far.
> Cypherpunk content?  This is a damn good illustration of the problems that
> can crop up with an anonymous service.  Though services on the net have the
> advantage of not being tied to a physical location, like pay phones are;
> so they probably won't serve to attract a "bad element" to any particular
> place.  On the other hand, any sort of public terminal service offering 
> encrypted email, might very well.
>                             -David

I admit, I was shocked when I read this post. For two reasons. One - that that
abominable phantasm, "The War on Drugs", still seems to take a significant
place in the American political debate. Two - that a politician would campaign
on the promise of REMOVING (not ADDING) public phones. I'm probably coming
across as very naive, but as someone who's lived in Australia for the last
13 years, I can only guess at what's going on over THERE. Most of my information
comes, not only through periodicals and TV, but also through this post. I have
to thank David in part for his contribution. Talk about a bucket of cold water
over the extremities...:-<

	Now, being a regular reader of the list, I have come upon many a quote
from those government types (FBI, NSA, etc.) who are looking for ways to
weasel themselves into the home, business, and even the Internet. One obvious
example of this weaselling in the Clipper chip. Many of these quotes contain
oblique references to "The War on Drugs" (oh, no! not that phrase again! :-) )
and "Fighting Drug Dealers". Again, from David's post, I've noticed that the
three reasons for limiting Public Phones all involve drug dealers. Now, these
arguments seemed to have some evidence to support their assertions. Still, it
was worrying all the same.

	Us Australians have had a topsy-turvy attitude to the drug debate. On 
one hand, South Australia has decriminalized Marijuana. On the other hand, 
Queensland's Drug Misuse Act, which puts the onus of proof on the defendant 
(e.g., you have to prove that THAT spoon was not used for shooting up HEROIN). 
This, of course, is inimical to the Americal and Australian judicial system.
Of course, this act has been a failure (marijuana is still Queensland's 2nd
largest cash crop), and the National party government who introduced the bill
were kicked out in 1989 for widespread evidence of corruption, involving
prostitution, bookkeeping, and (surprise! surprise!) drugs. Now that there
has been a government enquiry into marijuana, hopefully the mood will change
in favour of legalization.  

	I think that one of the biggest crutches that the NSA and others use
to infringe YOUR privacy is "The War on Drugs". It should be stopped, and
now! Not only is it unsuccessful, not only is it hypocritical (I wince when I
see those "Winners don't use drugs!" messages on video games), but it has
also blinded a lot of people into supporting attacks on YOUR privacy. If it is
stopped, then perhaps the government agencies won't be as likely to do
silly proposals like the Clipper chip. Perhaps..., but only if the public
keeps a watchful eye on what they are doing. Of course, the libertarians in
the list would want many of the drugs decriminalized, and from what I've
read about in other countries, not only does the drug use stay the same, the
criminals are not as likely to get involve in drug dealing.

Sorry, I had to get this off my chest.


P.S. Is there any truth in the rumour that Canada is going to lighten it's
encryption restrictions? I wouldn't mind getting my hands on RSAREF....

Peter Murphy - Department of Electrical Engineering,|Phone: 61 - 7 - 300 3452.
University of Queensland: murphy@s2.elec.uq.oz.au  .|------------------------
"Contrary to popular belief, the wings of demons are|Please do not put any 
the same as the wings of angels, although they're   |Heinlein quotes in your 
often better groomed." - Terry Pratchett.           |.sig - they're old.