1995-09-01 - Surveillance a Growing Problem

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From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 835edaa1a876ac91315cea1d4e6cd4f57ec29a7622d3c950bde572bf151960bc
Message ID: <ac6cea0f00021004158f@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1995-09-01 23:51:13 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 1 Sep 95 16:51:13 PDT

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From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 95 16:51:13 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Surveillance a Growing Problem
Message-ID: <ac6cea0f00021004158f@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

(I've changed the thread name from "Fuhrman...." to the topic being
discussed here.)

At 10:56 PM 9/1/95, Buford Terrell wrote:

>If you've ever watched Not_at_all_Funny Home Videos or any of the
>American Urinal school of tabloid television, you soon start feeling
>that the real threat to privacy is not the guvmint, but all of
>the yoyos with their little cam corders running around pointing them
>at people.
>Security cameras in ATMS and at airline ticket counters do more
>to threaten you privacy than do FIBBIE wiretaps, and PGP won't
>protect you from them. (and usually neither will the courts).

I absolutely agree with this, though this doesn't mean I'll stop worrying
about the government's plans for key escrow (GAK), about limits on key
lengths, or about other efforts to thwart strong security.

But clearly the "technologies of surveillance," ranging from
massively-cross-correlated mailing lists to smaller and cheaper and more
ubiquitous video cameras, are very nearly an equal threat.

(Lots of issues, from the nearly universal requests for Social Security
Numbers, to the growing powers of courts to compel the disclosure of
private documents, to, well, you folks all know the trends.)

Folks like us should not be lobbying for limitations on what other private
individuals or companies are doing, but should concentrate first, on
technological alternatives (encryption, unlinkable credentials, digital
money, that sort of thing) and second, on educating others that security
and privacy is best self-arranged and is rarely accomplished by government
assuming the role of protector.

--Tim May

Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."