1997-05-22 - Re: Forgeries are your Friend

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: e0ff1f7587117ce552f588dd0a4b815d4d7abd1f5c685b36650e1dd293ff9219
Message ID: <v03007801afaa35704022@[]>
Reply To: <Pine.SOL.3.96.970522041838.26834D-100000@sirius.infonex.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-22 17:37:47 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 01:37:47 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 01:37:47 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Forgeries are your Friend
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SOL.3.96.970522041838.26834D-100000@sirius.infonex.com>
Message-ID: <v03007801afaa35704022@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I want to expand on one of the points I just made. As I think about the
issue more, the more I see signings of posts as being more of a help to my
enemies (prosecutors, in this context) and less of a help to my friends.

At 9:14 AM -0800 5/22/97, Tim May wrote:

>"And can you _prove_ that the article you claim my client sent to Mr. Bell
>was actually written by him, and was not one of the many forgeries in my
>client's name?"
>I'm pretty glad I never started PGP-signing my posts, actually. I've
>exchanged messages at various times with various people, and the
>"non-ironclad" authorship of some of these articles may turn out to be
>useful. I can always claim an article was one of Detweiler's forgeries. Or
>one of the more sophisticated forgeries now being seen.

Consider that signing an article is offering something of value. (Standard
point about identity being just another credential, or element in a

In almost all casual conversations, such as what we see on these mailing
lists, signature checking is not really needed. Absent evidence that
widespread forgery is going on, who cares whether "Mark Grant" is _really_
Mark Grant (whatever that may mean, philosophically).

Of more importance to me lately, given developing events, is that my words
will come back to haunt me in this post-free-speech era, where conspiracy,
RICO, and "plotting" are apparently the real crimes being prosecuted.

I'm not saying that signatures are not a Good Thing. Indeed, if I ever get
a version of PGP or S/MIME adequately integrated with my OS and Eudora Pro,
I may (or may not) start auto-signing all e-mail. (Gulp.)

(Oh, please don't barrage me with suggestions. I had two helpful suggetions
for "Pegasus Mail," ignoring the fairly well-known fact that I'm a Mac
user, not a Windows/NT user, and other suggestions about other products.

What I'm saying is that signatures may be handing prosecutors too powerful
a tool to prosecute unpopular speech. Something to think about.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."