1996-01-01 - Re: For the New Year: A Symbol for Information Freedom

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From: groundfog@alpha.c2.org
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 88111dcda21b41cf9123cdf656f5e7e645901d57bdf32a4a11a672045f1b4fd1
Message ID: <199601010311.WAA12624@mail.FOUR.net>
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UTC Datetime: 1996-01-01 03:34:18 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 11:34:18 +0800

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From: groundfog@alpha.c2.org
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 11:34:18 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: For the New Year: A Symbol for Information Freedom
Message-ID: <199601010311.WAA12624@mail.FOUR.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

In talk.politics.crypto, ptupper@direct.ca (Peter Tupper) wrote:

>     A Symbol for Information Freedom

>     by Peter Tupper <ptupper@direct.ca>

>     1996 is off to a discouraging start when it comes to the
>future of information freedom.  The American Congress seems
>determined to impose censorship on the Internet.  The legal
>status of strong dual-key cryptography is still in debate. 
>Telephone companies, cable TV services and publishing services
>are all eagerly trying to seize control of the Internet and
>eliminate the many-to-many nature of the medium.  The accidental
>wonder that is the Internet seems to be threatened on all sides,
>in danger of being destroyed or denatured before reaching its

>     My proposal is only a small contribution to the solutions to
>this problem.  I believe a symbol is needed; a simple yet
>recognizable item that will communicate to others that you are:
>     -for freedom of speech and expression in all realms,
>particularly via computer mediated communications.
>     -against the imposition of arbitrary community standards by
>centralized authority on communications.
>     -for making access to communications available to everyone.
>     -against the violation of individual privacy by wiretapping,
>intercepting computer communications, compiling dossiers by
>government or commercial organizations or other forms of
>     -for making strong, dual-key encryption programs without
>back-doors available to the public.
>     -against building surveillance measures into communications
>and financial infrastructures.  
>     -for a future of communications that is by, for and of the
>people, not the state or the market.

>     The symbol I have chosen is the paper clip.  Why a paper
>     There are many reasons:

>     Pragmatic:  Paper clips are readily available for
>practically nothing, all over the world.  They can be applied to
>collars, lapels, scarves, pocket edges, suspenders and neck ties
>without damaging them and without risk of the pin breaking the
>     Aesthetic:  The paper clip is a simple, elegant design that
>is easily recognized the world over.  It can be rendered in many
>colors or plated with precious metals.
>     Symbolic:  The paper clip is a simple but effective piece of
>technology.  An individual uses it to bundle together documents
>from disparate sources to create a unified document upon a given
>subject, which may be dismantled and remade for another topic. 
>Furthermore, a paper clip may be bent out of its regular shape
>and used as an improvised tool for any number of purposes.
>     Historic:  During the German occupation of Norway in World
>War II, Norwegians wore paper clips on their collars as a sign of
>solidarity against the invaders.
>     Commercial:  While anybody can obtain a plain paper clip
>with little trouble, funds for Information Freedom can be raised
>by marketing electroplated or designer paper clips.  

>     The cause of awareness of and activism about AIDS had a
>simple, readily recognized symbol, the folded red ribbon.  Just
>as every celebrity who wears a red ribbon, no matter how trite
>and self-promoting it is, is a reminder to those watching that
>AIDS is happening and that many people are concerned,
>celebrities appearing at the Academy Awards or Grammies with a
>designer, gold-plated paper clip on their outfit reminds the
>world that information freedom is under fire and that people are
>concerned.  It will make the Internet community a visible reality
>in the public sphere.  It will bring these issues into the public
>eyes, and give those involved a rallying symbol.  It will make a
>small difference, but it will contribute to the greater good.


Advertising couldn't hurt.