1995-01-22 - Re: AA + Anonymous ECash = Unhappy Fundies

Header Data

From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 81aa78168bc59e01ed4bea42550bd8173e354cb3b07be93e30ad08ec79929e75
Message ID: <199501220233.SAA07490@netcom5.netcom.com>
Reply To: <Pine.3.89.9501211849.A10943-0100000@Tux.Music.ASU.Edu>
UTC Datetime: 1995-01-22 02:35:17 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 21 Jan 95 18:35:17 PST

Raw message

From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 95 18:35:17 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: AA + Anonymous ECash = Unhappy Fundies
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.89.9501211849.A10943-0100000@Tux.Music.ASU.Edu>
Message-ID: <199501220233.SAA07490@netcom5.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Ben Goren <ben@Tux.Music.ASU.Edu> writes:

 > Actually, this strikes me as a worst case scenario as far
 > as promoting cryptography goes.

It's two things.  It's a "killer app" for strong crypto, and at
the same time, a crypto public relations disaster.

Let me now make the argument that the advantages of the first far
outweigh the disadvantages of the second.

Success in spreading cryptography will not be achieved by
convincing the government that we are all nice people with noble
motives and asking their permission.  It will be achieved by
writing neat code like PGP which protects privacy and individual
freedom regardless of the plans of the state.

The public has already been indoctrinated by the government that
cryptography permits Terrorists, Pedophiles, and Drug Dealers to
thumb their noses at law enforcement, and has been fed a
comprehensive series of alarmist scenarios about what this might
imply.  Terms like "message laundering" are beginning to be used
in the media to describe fundamental Cypherpunk technology, and
the level of public anxiety about such issues is being
deliberately raised.

Robert Anton Wilson once commented that freedom and democracy
make infrequent appearances in the totality of human history
because "All you have to do is frighten the people, and they will
beg you to take their freedoms away." We probably only have a
short time remaining in which to implement a privacy-friendly
world Net before the Powers That Be(tm) engineer consent for the
implementation of something much more Draconian.

Given the current political climate, there is therefore little
incremental heat likely to be born from the revelation that
strong crypto permits people to purchase AA GIFs, and
considerable likely benefit from being able to implement and test
strong crypto based digital cash technology in conjunction with a
virtually unlimited highly motivated customer base.

There is also the added advantage of generating revenue to assist
the AA BBS Sysops with their legal problems, before the
precedents created become OUR legal problems.

 > Don't get me wrong--I have no interest in telling people
 > they can't look at whatever pictures they want, or prevent
 > others from selling those pictures to them. But...to make
 > such a close association between what Joe Public considers
 > degenerate trash and cryptography....

Some Islamic country (I forget which one) quashed opposition by
the clergy to the introduction of television by reading the Koran
over the first television channel to be installed.  Our
government does much the same in reverse, by demonstrating to the
stupid peasants how unwanted cryptographic technology can be used
to conceal pictures of naked children or bomb plans.

 > The "cause" will do much better if the first major
 > association is made with something much less controversial.
 > Girl Scout cookies, say.

Fear, Greed, and Gonads are the major human motivators which must
be tapped for symmmetry-breaking change in social organization to
occur. AA GIFs are directly targeted at the third of these.  Girl
Scout Cookies have no significant cross-section with any of these
motivators, are already available everywhere, and are much more
difficult to transmit in binary form. :)

     Mike Duvos         $    PGP 2.6 Public Key available     $
     mpd@netcom.com     $    via Finger.                      $