1994-04-19 - Intolerance on the list (was Re: Sgt Russell)

Header Data

From: whitaker@dpair.csd.sgi.com (Russell Whitaker)
To: SGT=DARREN=S.=HARLOW%ISB%MCTSSA@nwsfallbrook3.nwac.sea06.navy.mil
Message Hash: 68d90fa383eb81689a2ac89ccc37b83da9080cd1c61af9cb18a494aeda560db4
Message ID: <9404190827.ZM6626@dpair.csd.sgi.com>
Reply To: <9404191357.AA07348@toad.com>
UTC Datetime: 1994-04-19 15:29:51 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 19 Apr 94 08:29:51 PDT

Raw message

From: whitaker@dpair.csd.sgi.com (Russell Whitaker)
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 94 08:29:51 PDT
To: SGT=DARREN=S.=HARLOW%ISB%MCTSSA@nwsfallbrook3.nwac.sea06.navy.mil
Subject: Intolerance on the list (was Re: Sgt Russell)
In-Reply-To: <9404191357.AA07348@toad.com>
Message-ID: <9404190827.ZM6626@dpair.csd.sgi.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Apr 19,  6:50am, SGT=DARREN=S.=HARLOW%ISB%MCTSSA@nwsfallbrook3.nwac wrote:
> Subject: re: Sgt Russell

Who is Sgt Russell?  The person who started this thread (Wayne Q Jones) should
read his messages more carefully.  I believe he saw my response to Sgt.
Harlow's information request and didn't read it carefully: I work for Silicon
Graphics, not the USMC.

> Wayne,
> 	I am sorry that my being on this list is offensive to you.  I joined
> this list to learn about cryptography.
[text elided]

Sgt. Harlow,

Wayne Jones speaks only for himself.  I speak only for myself.  Your .sig line
declares that you know you only speak for yourself, too, and I find that
declaration admirable.

You are certainly welcome to participate in the discussions here.  Bear in mind
that there _are_ a range of political opinions here, ranging from radical
libertarian (me and quite a few others) to various flavors of political
authoritarian (a minor subset, I think).

I suspect - I do not know the fellow - that Mr. Jones is undergoing short
spasms of Poor Impulse Control, his being an immediate anti-authoritarian
reaction that isn't taking into account that you are an individual acting on
your own initiative.

To put it gently, I'm not fond of authoritarian organizations... especially
government ones.  However, I'm ex-military, myself, and this might be what
helps me moderate my approach to particular people.

You will find that issues of encryption and data protection are enormously
_political_ issues.  That is, their application profoundly alters what it means
to live amonst other people.  You may be somewhat - understandably - puzzled at
the reactions of certain people on the list, and wonder what all the fuss is
about.  Please don't be put off further enquiry!  You should consider, if you
haven't already done it, reading some of the excellent cypherpunks political
pieces by list participants such as Timothy May, Duncan Frissell, Sandy
Sandfort and others.  You might also take at Chuck Hammill's "From Crossbows to

Even if you don't agree with the views expressed therein, I would lay money on
the bet that you will know far more about the broader issues of cryptography
and data security than will your nominal superiors.

> If anything, I would think that you
> would want to help a new person get up to speed.  If you can't grow up and
> treat other people like human beings, maybe you ought to take yourself off of
> the list and go play with your private key by yourself.

You have my agreement on this.

> 	My job is important to me.  Learning about cryptography is going to
> help me protect my systems and my messages.  I have no desire to eavesdrop on
> what you or anyone else is doing on this list.  I merely want to learn, and
> possibly contribute to the threads on the list.  I have received several
> responses from people on the list and really appreciate that.  I hope this
> helps to clarify my position on this list.

Your motivations seem clear enough to me.  Dig in!  Enjoy yourself here, and I
look forward to your participation.

I'm sure I'm not the only list participant who would go further, and elicit
your _active_ participation.  It would be a treat to know, from a solid source
such as yourself, how routine security issues are handled in an operational
military environment.

Thanks for your time,

> Sgt Darren Harlow - Computer Security
> MCTSSA, Camp Pendleton, USMC
>-- End of excerpt from SGT=DARREN=S.=HARLOW%ISB%MCTSSA@nwsfallbrook3.nwac

Russell Earl Whitaker				whitaker@sgi.com
Silicon Graphics Inc.
Technical Assistance Center, Mountain View CA     (415) 390-2250
#include <std_disclaimer.h>