1994-08-09 - (fwd) Re: Anonymous posters & Misinformation = Net pollution

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From: nzook@math.utexas.edu
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
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UTC Datetime: 1994-08-09 15:02:28 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 9 Aug 94 08:02:28 PDT

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From: nzook@math.utexas.edu
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 94 08:02:28 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: (fwd) Re: Anonymous posters & Misinformation = Net pollution
Message-ID: <9408091458.AA06155@vendela.ma.utexas.edu>
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Path: math.utexas.edu!news.dell.com!swrinde!cs.utexas.edu!usc!rand.org!usenet
From: Jim Gillogly <jim@acm.org>
Newsgroups: talk.politics.misc,news.admin.policy
Subject: Re: Anonymous posters & Misinformation = Net pollution
Date: 7 Aug 1994 15:17:31 GMT
Organization: Banzai Institute
Lines: 51
Message-ID: <2o7sni$4!nb@bogus-site.org>
References: <32253p$220@news.u.washington.edu>
Reply-To: jim@acm.org
NNTP-Posting-Host: mycroft.rand.org
Keywords: misinformation disinformation propaganda net anon anonymous
Xref: math.utexas.edu talk.politics.misc:239321 news.admin.policy:19182

In article <32253p$220@news.u.washington.edu>,
McDaniel <mcdaniel@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>The problem:  Anonymous posters supplying pseudo-news reports or
>otherwise wasting bandwidth in groups more concerened with fact
>or atleast genuine concerns (such as political talk groups and
>sci groups.)

Since you asked: my opinion is that there are more non-anonymous posters
supplying pseudo-news reports or otherwise wasting bandwidth in serious
groups.  For example, in sci.crypt one poster consistently posts off-topic
flamebait, and others consistently take the bait; while there's widespread
consternation and killfiling, so far as I know nobody's suggested
retroactively moderating him.  On the other side, a consistent anonymous
poster has produced and released useful crypto and digicash code...  I
assume his/her identity is masked to avoid ITAR prosecution for sending
crypto out of the US without a license.

In short, anonymity isn't the problem: cluelessness is the problem.  In
sci.crypt we may to eventually get rid of off-topic posts by moderating.
I would hope the moderators will let anything clueful through, whether
it's anonymous or not.  I'll point out in passing that an anonymous poster
can build up a reputation the same way as anybody else simply by signing
articles with the same PGP key each time -- I'd be more confident that a
signed message is from Pr0duct Cypher (i.e. the same person who posted as
Pr0duct Cypher <last> month) than that an unsigned one is from McDaniel...
I could forge one of the latter in a trice.

McDaniel also said:
>applicable.)   OR provide the owners of moderated groups with detailed
>accounts of the true identity of any anonymous poster who post to
>a serious newsgroup and make that procedure known to the would-be
>anonymous user.

This sounds challenging.  Many of the for-profit services allow the users
to pick their own net identity... it's a feature.  Do you know the True
Name of the person behind the account evidence@netcom.com?  Do you think
Netcom would cough it up without a court order?  Either AOL or Delphi --
I forget which, now -- allows users to have several different identities
for their Net traffic.  How would <I> prove <my> identity to this moderator?
Maybe by signing my application to post with my PGP key, which is in turn
signed by somebody they trust?  Seems quite difficult.  <I> certainly
wouldn't want that burden as a moderator.

I suggest you devote your time to finding a way to suppress idiocy and
cluelessness on the Net in general... and if you can have it in place
before the fall quarter starts, that would be lovely.

        Jim Gillogly
        Trewesday, 15 Wedmath S.R. 1994, 15:17