1994-08-20 - Re: Attention Shoppers: Internet Is Open (NYT, 12Aug94)

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From: Jim Hart <hart@chaos.bsu.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: b91ff72d67946a9487cb64b6a11c79f8ebfe8c8dd52217c7c382edb4a51de37a
Message ID: <199408201919.OAA09597@chaos.bsu.edu>
Reply To: <9408191253.AA00438@anon.penet.fi>
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-20 19:19:01 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 20 Aug 94 12:19:01 PDT

Raw message

From: Jim Hart <hart@chaos.bsu.edu>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 94 12:19:01 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Attention Shoppers: Internet Is Open (NYT, 12Aug94)
In-Reply-To: <9408191253.AA00438@anon.penet.fi>
Message-ID: <199408201919.OAA09597@chaos.bsu.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> New York Times, 12 August 1994, Page C1.

All in all a good article.  I have a couple problems with it,
which may be due more to the people interviewed than to the

* First, the credit card means that the vendor and bank can
both record the details of the transaction, and sell those
records on the open market.  This is hardly "total privacy".
The only thing PGP is doing here is protecting the credit
card number.  In fact, Internet commerce has the potential
to greatly reduce our privacy, via collection and dissemination
of transaction dossiers.  This is already happening on Prodigy
and Compuserve, for example.

+ Phil Zimmerman is correct to note that digital cash would
be a more important development, but he doesn't describe 
digital cash very well.  He says the features of untraceability, 
etc. aren't part of the dollars we use now, but in fact these 
features do exist in the physical coins and bills that have been
the most commonly used form of money for millenia.  The role 
of true digital cash protocols (beware of pretenders like 
"Netcash" that don't keep the privacy feature) is to bring 
these features of bills and coins to cyberspace, in place
of the new, Orwellian system of identified credit and debit
cards that has reared its ugly head during this ugly century.

Jim Hart