1993-11-06 - pseudospoofing ad nauseam

Header Data

From: “L. Detweiler” <ld231782@longs.lance.colostate.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: b1e36a6a291582a69f12b8d13a23c3661ab692dfc6bc05265f5a522d5e486544
Message ID: <9311060906.AA07563@longs.lance.colostate.edu>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-11-06 09:07:54 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 6 Nov 93 01:07:54 PST

Raw message

From: "L. Detweiler" <ld231782@longs.lance.colostate.edu>
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 93 01:07:54 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: pseudospoofing ad nauseam
Message-ID: <9311060906.AA07563@longs.lance.colostate.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

- another Mailing List
- the Fires in my Mailbox
- on the Unequivocal Distinction of Pseudoanonymity
- my Position and a Modest Proposal Crystallized
- an Open Letter to Criminals and Terrorists
- the Story of the Cyberspatial Lynch Mob
- on Pseudospoofing by the Eminent Leaders
- L. Detweiler's Complete Confession

another Mailing List

I would like to hear from any cypherpunks interested in starting
another mailing list. I unfortunately lack the resources to start one.
It seems to me there would be a strong interest in the following agenda:

- in favor of Democracy and experimenting with voting systems
- in favor of some form of Government, and some form of law enforcement
- in favor of experimenting with reputation schemes
- in favor of some identification systems, esp. to catch criminals
- in favor of a `movement' that includes political aspects
- in favor of a totally open, honest, representative, polite,
respectful, egalitarian dialogue
- in favor of systematic development and progress reports to others
- in favor of presenting a professional appearance to the public and media
- in favor of `some' restrictions on communications to limit criminality
- in favor of putting together protocols, RFCs, and FAQs for the world

- against Clipper or any involuntary encryption scheme
- against behind-the-scenes machinations (`conspiracies') or elitism
- against tax evasion
- against black marketeering
- against pseudospoofing and pseudoanonymity
- against other criminal behaviors like impersonation and forgery
- against routine hostility, secrecy, and flames
- against manipulating the media or individual ego-assuagement
- against people only interested in tedious debates or popularity contests

Above all, in favor of `using technology, especially cryptographic
techniques, to accomplish promote all of the above.'

I don't really know how many current cypherpunks would be interested in
this agenda. Judging by my mail, NONE! <g> But seriously, I think there
are some more `moderate' cypherpunks out there who would really love
this agenda, and their existence has long caused a lot of tension on
this list over the above points, when what is really happening is that
there is a tension in fundamentally incompatible goals and views
underneath it all, such that we could all be better served by better
`organization' (or perhaps `segragation' or `sequestration' <g>).

Regarding the above agenda: we should recognize that all great
technologies can be used for different purposes. The internet can be
used for honest communication between strangers, or it can be used to
manipulate people who naturally trust each other. We can develop
digital cash schemes that encourage tax evasion and black marketeering,
or they can enforce some taxation and discourage criminal behavior for
overall social harmony (quite like the system we currently live under).
Nothing is inevitable with passivity, everything is possible with activity!

As I recall, a long time ago, in a very hot flame war over the
Cypherpunks name involving all the great luminaries (E.Hughes, T.C.May,
P.Metzger, etc.) T.C.May ended up posting a message near the dying
embers of the flames that indicated some of the other names that he and
E.Hughes had tossed around. Does anyone have that message? Could you
send it to me? I thought there were some interesting names in there, as
I recall. I wouldn't want to take anyway from the existing cypherpunk
agenda in promoting something that was entirely incompatible with it
under the same name. The public and the media would certainly be
confused (as if they aren't already)! I was thinking -- maybe the
`cypherwonks'. (Ever hear about Bill Clinton being a `policy wonk'?) 

As for the mailing list, if anyone starts one I promise you my personal
cyberspatial allegiance as long as it sticks to this above agenda, and
humbly offer you all the things I have done on this list over about 10
months or so, like forwarding articles, summarizing views, `cypherwonk
awards', mini-newsletters, hot controversy, analysis of press reports,
Clipper & NSA flames, D.Denning ridicule <g>, etc. if you provide a
highly literate, polite, and professional audience.

Just imagine, all of you in the L. Detweiler Hate Society (the
membership has quite grown lately!) -- you could be freed of all the
flames here over everything I stand for! I'm *sure* you will appreciate that. <g>

the Fires in my Mailbox

yes, the flames in my mailbox have really died down. It's gone from

>I'm going to come and kill your family with a rusty razor blade.


>It would seem that, as you are a victim of such TERRIBLE CRIMES, your "RIGHT"
>has BEEN alienated someWHAT.

ah, I have to settle for what I can get, even if it is sarcastic.

on the Unequivocal Distinction of Pseudoanonymity

(So, because I am insane, I am writing more on the subject of
pseudospoofing, as more carrion for the amusement of vultures.)

It really astounds me how many people continue to write me email
obfuscating the distinction between anonymous/pseudonymous mail vs. pseudoanonymous.

In the former category, the identification in the message says or
implies, `this could be from *anyone*.' `passive concealment'.

In the latter, the identification implies, `this is from a real person
named [x], distinct from any other real people named [y].'

Also,  many continue to ignore the sheer dangers of this practice. If
anyone does not understand and has not seen my essay `The Joy of
Pseudospoofing', please email me and I will send it to you. (If you
have seen it, and continue to miss the point, well, I can't help you.
As Ann Landers says, seek professional counseling.)

my Position and a Modest Proposal Crystallized

I fear my position has been accidentally misrepresented on this list by
people who wish to understand pseudospoofing, or intentionally
obfuscated phantoms who wish to demonize me. (Once, a long time ago, I
flamed D.Denning with such searing ire on this list. T.C.May suggested
that `demonizing' anyone was counterproductive and impolite. Point well
taken! What goes around comes around!)

Here is what I propose for the Internet.

1) a *voluntary* system whereby people who want to `authenticate' their
identities can do so by registering with some form of identification.
2) identification servers could be formed that would service requests
in the form, `is identity [x] a real person?'
3) hence, people who choice to screen pseudospoofed identities from
their mailboxes have the choice of subscribing to a system that allows
them this freedom of choice.

Such a system, in my view, is NOT Draconian, NOT Orwellian, NOT against
the grain of the Internet, and actually feasible in practice. And, in
fact I think some form of this is *inevitable*. (and, believe it or
not, contrary to the brainwashing, this is *not* incompatible with
`true' or `pure' anonymity, which is quite another issue entirely.) Mr.
Finney suggested this scheme for `is a person' certificates many
messages ago. I fervently believe this system is going to be inevitable
because of its high social usefulness and desirability. I'll bet anyone
$1 in digital cash the most popular version of Cyberspace is going to
have at *least* this much.

an Open Letter to Criminals and Terrorists

Many people have been using all kinds of euphemisms for condoning
brutality in referring to pseudospoofing etc. `anyone who doesn't know
how the internet works deserves to learn the hard way.' `anyone who is
stupid enough not to recognize that pseudospoofing is a fact of life
should go somewhere else with padded walls and handholding, like Prodigy.' (etc.)

But all you vicious cypherpunks, recognize: the world is not as
unrefined and raw as you yourselves are, as much as you say it is and
wish it were. The greatest and most omnipresent technology is that
which is simple and incorruptable. The widespread public can be
frightened very easily! and will gravitate toward a system that
promotes trust and honesty, because they themselves crave trust and
honesty. it is a total fantasy if you think you are going to get away
with your imaginary identity arsenals in the future civilized
cyberspace. yes, there may be some bloody battles, but you are going to
lose. Or, at least, as I was telling an eminent member of EFF, if you
do not lose, and I have not died in the battle, I think I will commit suicide.

Inevitably, some of you are going to want to sabotage a system that
prevents pseudospoofing -- `because its there' -- even if doing so is
against the law. I am absolutely AGHAST how much raw criminality is
being disguised here in `the cryptographic revolution' and `privacy for
the masses' brainwashing. From my mail, a very strong representation of
cypherpunks are in favor of, perhaps routinely, FORGING things like
birth certificates etc. in the name of PRIVACY. this they disguise
under views like, `those damned Big Corporations and Government are
Evil, and we have to do everything we can to stop their oppression.'
uh, how exactly are you being oppressed? you look at the bountiful
fruits of our society and think you are being deprived? `whatever
system you will invent, someone will break it.'  well, yes, this is
like saying, `criminals exist.'

there are these cypherpunks who have created an entire *religion* out
of *defying* and *sabotaging* whatever identification scheme is
invented. Let it be signatures, checks, birth certificiates, drivers
licenses, social security, etc. How many cypherpunks are reincarnated
thieves, anyway? What society do you people live in, anyway? do you
think that checks with your True Name invade your privacy? do you think
your bank, associates, or the government doesn't have a right to know
who you are? (Uh, rhetorical question. I know the answer.)

I hold this as an AXIOM, an Inalienable Human Right: you do NOT have
the right to guarantee that another particular individual will read
your pseudospoofed postings. If they choose to develop a system that
filters it and do all their communication within it, I think you're out
of luck (yes, the technique of pseudoanonymity will always be possible
in frivolous amusement parks and other various quarantined playpens.)
If you think otherwise, well, I guess those bloody battles have already
started, haven't they?

Frankly, I think quite a few cypherpunks have seriously deluded
themselves about the basic nature of the Internet and the ultimate
desirability and likelihood of certain protocols (and their own
influence in manipulating them). The mail I have been getting is just
so far beyond reality, I can barely even respond to it. As (I think)
Linus Pauling once said after coming out of a talk, after prompted by a
student, `It wasn't even wrong'. This would not be a problem, but in my
view you cypherpunks, with your pseudospoofing, forgeries, and
sabotage, are really poisoning Cyberspace. Excuse me, I live here too,
and it is all choking me.

the Story of the Cyberspatial Lynch Mob

Here is one aspect of pseudospoofing I haven't really addressed yet publicly.

`As for people being tricked into seeing a consensus when one does not
exist, who cares?'

The person who asked me this was referring to a scenario like this.
Imagine that Medusa has grown quite a few snakes in cyberspace, and
uses them all in a single disinformation campaign. `who cares?'

To answer this, consider the psychology and anatomy of a lynch mob. In
frontier days, this was the notion of `criminal justice' -- a mob of
people would catch a criminal, supposedly the perpetrator of heinous
crimes. I suspect pseudo-trials went on even in these `mob societies'.
you see, a mob is often comprised of people with a slight glimmer of
conscience individually. A leader will often arise who manipulates that
doubt so that it is turned into vicious hatred, almost animal
brutality, to serve the aims of the public lynching.

`What did this man do?' the leader might ask, somewhat rhetorically.

`He stole my gold!' says one.

`He raped my wife!' says another.

`He murdered my brother!' says the other.

At this point, as you can imagine, the rest of the mob needs no further
motivation. If they are too impatient to watch the `criminal's' eyes
bulge out from the asphyxiating rope, or are in a particularly
vindictive mood, they might even rip or bludgeon the `criminal' to
oozing brains and blood, meat strips, and poking bones with their bare
hands, all with the barest encouragement like `what are we going to DO
ABOUT IT?' from the Leader.

Ah -- Justice is Served --

but what if the `Leader' is Medusa? And `one' is Snake #1, `another' is
Snake #2, and `the other' is Snake #3?

on Pseudospoofing by the Eminent Leaders

By the way, some people have said to me in email that E.Hughes and
T.C.May have publicly condemned pseudospoofing, or at least indicated
they have not ever practiced it, or at least they are not doing it
routinely,  or at least that they are not doing it at the moment, or at
least they hate the term `pseudospoof', or whatever. <g>

If so, please send me those messages. I missed them. (I have asked them
to post on the subject, but these letters invariably go unanswered.
They are exceedingly evasive in my private email. In fact, Mr. May said
that he was quite tired of my enthusiams, and I have so upset Mr.
Hughes that he has given me the great honor of putting me, alone, in
solitary confinement, into his kill file. `plonk!') The only statements
I have are the following:

``That which can never be enforced should not be prohibited. The claim
that a person should have only one pseudonym per forum indicates
profound misunderstanding.  If someone wants to have multiple ...
pseudonyms, they will be able to; that is one of the main goals of
cypherpunks software.  The situations you despise will occur.  This is
reality.  Change your own psychology or change your own software.  You
will not be able to change the other person.''
--E.Hughes, cofounder, Cypherpunks

``Better to live with the occasional vagaries of digital pseudonyms
than to ban them.''
--T.C.May, cofounder, Cypherpunks

L. Detweiler's Complete Confession

By the way, just to encourage others to come clean, express my good
will and sense of ethics to all the cypherpunks on this list, and
whiten my own conscience, following is my public posting of the list of
all the pseudoanonymous identities I have ever posted or emailed under: