1994-08-22 - Re: Mail to all drivers in Oregon?

Header Data

From: Jim Hart <hart@chaos.bsu.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: f2c8940b29049daccb2a5f3639398150fbf7af886d1048ccf4a75b15cc92d89d
Message ID: <199408220237.VAA17153@chaos.bsu.edu>
Reply To: <m0qcO7u-0005GWC@ideath.goldenbear.com>
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-22 02:36:01 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 21 Aug 94 19:36:01 PDT

Raw message

From: Jim Hart <hart@chaos.bsu.edu>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 94 19:36:01 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Mail to all drivers in Oregon?
In-Reply-To: <m0qcO7u-0005GWC@ideath.goldenbear.com>
Message-ID: <199408220237.VAA17153@chaos.bsu.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

L. Todd Masco:
> Perhaps one could generate a privacy crisis by collecting that information
> and conducting a mass mailing to every person in the database: "we have
> this information on you.  So could anybody with $125.  Call your congress
> critter and complain."

I love the first part of this idea, and hate the second part.

As other posters have noted, putting the information that we
are unconsciously giving away to strangers, back in front of our
faces, is worth any million screeds about  how our privacy is
being eroded.  The fact is, we can't see that our privacy is
being eroded.  It happens silently and invisibly.  That feedback
loop needs to be completed to our guts, for there to be enough 
awareness to motivate most people.

But just what are we supposed to tell our Congressmen
to do?  We have way too much "write your Congressman to solve all 
our problems" bullshit in the privacy advocacy area.  It's almost all
hallucination.  I defy you to suggest anything that has a snowball's
chance in hell of passing that will _in fact_ have a major impact
on improving our privacy instead of just satisfying the needs of 
special interests who want to keep their monopoly on consumer 
information and keep consumers effectively ignorant of what they 
are collecting.  

The most likely outcome of the above tactic are weak laws saying
that DMVs can only sell their data to a few select federal agencies
and credit reporting companies.   What a blow for privacy.

What we need is privacy as a _business_ movement.  We need to
offer services that are alternatives to to the current dossier
system.  People have to take action on their own, not go whining
to their purported leaders and comforting themselves that that 
they have done something to solve the problem.

Political action does have a niche in the activist ecology, but
it is a much smaller niche than is reflected by the dominance
of politics over more important consideraions in the privacy
movemement.  The proper niche of political action is as
completementary supplement to personal action and business
activity.  Political action that purports to be the main solution 
to the problem is, in all likelihood, part of the problem.

Political activism in favor of legal cryptography is
a supplement, a support for our personal decisions to use
cryptography to empower people to improve their own privacy.
It is not a replacment for deploying and using cryptography,
it is only a support activity.  Most of the decisions will
be made in the marketplace, in this case the marketplace
of aliased and out of state driver's licenses, with
with politcs being only one of a wide variety of considerations.

Jim Hart