1994-09-08 - Re: Privacy regulations

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From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: hart@chaos.bsu.edu (Jim Hart)
Message Hash: 700c14424035e8f5b420d491ec04901b92950c276a31f548de939c50c63c5b6b
Message ID: <199409081742.KAA13522@netcom7.netcom.com>
Reply To: <199409080729.CAA20260@chaos.bsu.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1994-09-08 17:42:55 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 8 Sep 94 10:42:55 PDT

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 94 10:42:55 PDT
To: hart@chaos.bsu.edu (Jim Hart)
Subject: Re: Privacy regulations
In-Reply-To: <199409080729.CAA20260@chaos.bsu.edu>
Message-ID: <199409081742.KAA13522@netcom7.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Jim Hart writes:

> > digression. Cypherpunks understand that laws won't protect their privacy.
> > Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
> There is a central contradiction running through the dabase regulations
> proposed by many so-called "privacy advocates".  To be enforceable
> they require massive government snooping into database activities 
> on our workstatins and PCs,  especially the activities of many 
> small at-home businesses (such as mailing list entrepreneurs 
> who often work out of the home).

Exactly. The "principle of locality" is violate when people demand
that _others_ not keep certain records, diaries, files, etc. If
something is worth keeping secret, keep it secret!

The "Data Privacy Laws" of several European nations are especially
brain-damaged in their unenforceability (not that "enforceability" is
something I want to see, but an unenforceable law is generally bad and
leads to capricious situations).

> Thus, the upshot of these so-called "privacy" regulations is to
> destroy our last shreds of privacy against government, and
> calm us into blindly letting even more of the details of our personal
> lives into the mainframes of the major government agencies and
> credit reporting agenices, who if they aren't explicitly excepted 
> from the privacy laws (as is common) can simply evade them by using 
> offshore havesn, mutual agreements with foreign investigators, police 
> and intelligence agencies.

"Calm us into..." is a very good description. Most privacy laws create
the comforting illusion that the government is protecting our privacy,
all as it is eroded by corporate-government "deals." (The examples
people have cited here: states that require personal data for driver's
license's, then _sell_ the data bases to private firms!)

> If cypherpunks contribute nothing else we can create a real
> privacy advocacy group, advocating means of real self-empowerment,
> from crypto to nom de guerre credit cards, instead of advocating
> further invasions of our privacy as the so-called privacy advocates
> are now doing!
> The first political lobbying task of any real privacy advocacy group 
> should be pushing for the reissue of Lotus Marketplace.   A
> "privacy" group that works to keep the public misinformed about
> the information we are giving out, at the same time increasing
> the detail of government snooping of our private commerical data,
> itself displays the kind of bovine bliss that is the most dangerous 
> threat to our privacy, and ultimately our freedom.

Yes, Mark Miller made the same points about Lotus Marketplace (a
CD-ROM of government data on phone numbers, zip codes, etc.--never
released because "privacy advocates" rasied an uproar) in a interview
in the zine "Extropy" a couple of years back. 

The illusion of privacy is deemed preferable to actual privacy.

(Actual privacy could be increased very easily by simply reducing the
number of "permission slips" that people are obligated by law to show
in various transactions. Lots of ways to do this. Suffice it to say
that our credential-happy society is getting very little real benefit
for demanding credentials at every turn and is instead providing
precise dossier material for those who keep dossiers. Shudder.)

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."