1998-05-05 - Re: A new Swiss banking novel

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From: mgraffam@mhv.net
To: Xcott Craver <caj@math.niu.edu>
Message Hash: 928c0ad67c9bfc4b8c5553cf44e3e3ace45ebaa3705967c9b4c72fe0ca9a7d95
Message ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.980504231105.24192B-100000@localhost>
Reply To: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980504205436.22691A-100000@baker>
UTC Datetime: 1998-05-05 03:55:31 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 20:55:31 -0700 (PDT)

Raw message

From: mgraffam@mhv.net
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 20:55:31 -0700 (PDT)
To: Xcott Craver <caj@math.niu.edu>
Subject: Re: A new Swiss banking novel
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980504205436.22691A-100000@baker>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.980504231105.24192B-100000@localhost>
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On Mon, 4 May 1998, Xcott Craver wrote:
> 	I don't think it's spinning the same propaganda wheel.  In
> 	fact, if anything, you're probably giving in to "the Man" by 
> 	letting this view of crypto persist.  That is, IMHO; since
> 	IMHO the feds are trying to push this view of crypto.

I understand this view, but I don't see the worth in whitewashing things
for the public. We've been fed enough BS already.. defending crypto
with ready-made arguments that sound good and don't conjure up images
of firearms is no different to me than spinning a long tale about
Iraqi terrorists and drug dealers that conjure up fear to support the
ban on weapons.

I'd rather speak the truth, so far as I understand it, and let it conjure
up what it may.

> 	The implicit connection between crypto and weapons is what 
> 	will allow the feds to cater to that fear to get it banned.

I understand this. They've got us good. Those that would ban crypto 
would have the public believe that we are all a bunch of crazy, paranoid
math/computer geeks and that the FBI, NSA and their ilk can protect
the public from harm (and us?). That fear will always get fed upon.
That fear will be used to twist things all out of shape until they seem
to be a negative image of what is really there. This happens all the time.

If we are going to combat this stuff, it is going to have to be by
fighting that fear, and not throwing around horse-shit arguments like
big business and the government do. 

If we are going to ease the fear of _guns_, then responsible adults need
to start (or further) gun clubs. Larger clubs need to take part in civic
events to show the people by their actions that they aren't a bunch of
lunatics who shoot at everything that moves. Such clubs need to work with
civilian watch organizations and the police to train citizens to respect
firearms and to help get illegal weapons off the streets. 

Cypherpunks need to write code. We need to show people that strong crypto
isn't just some obscure technology used to lock away kiddie porn and
transmit super-spy doomsday messages. We need to get good, user friendly,
applications to do document signing, watermarking, email encryption, bulk
file encryption, and countless other tasks. These applications have to
be usable; they have to integrate in with the user's desktop and ordinary
applications (MS Word, Photoshop, etc) as well as possible. 

I think that we all know that the uses and benefits of strong crypto
far outweigh the drawbacks. The uses are there, today. If we could plug
strong crypto into the desktop; if the "Kick-ass-military-grade crypto ON"
button were a click away from "Save as.." and if all that were sitting
on John Q. User's naked Cindy Crawford desktop picture, then it would
become as friendly to them as any other feature MS Word, and soon enough
the very statement "Bad guys use crypto" begins to sound dumb because
the fear isn't there anymore.

Fundamentally fear is irrational. The best arguments in the world won't
speak to an irrational person. You have to ease those fears with actions.

Again.. cypherpunks write code.

> 	The TRVTH is that crypto will be used by just about anyone
> 	who does anything over an electronic link.  People will
> 	need it for friendly day-to-day transactions.

Absolutably. I just don't think that they will get this by talking
about how crypto can be used in friendly day-to-day transactions.

>  A crypto ban will be harder to push if people see crypto in this way:
> 	less like a gun, more like a car or a beeper; maybe useful to 
> 	criminals but useful in everyday affairs to law-abiding people
> 	too---nay, NECESSARY--and a silly thing to ban.  

Cheers! :)

> 	If you stick with the line that "crypto, like a gun, can
> 	be used by good guys as well as bad guys," you'll give
> 	across the opposite impression.

But it can. Just like a beeper or a car can. Just like any sort of
technology can. This is the truth, and I'm not in the business of

When John Q. America tells me that drug dealers use guns, I'll agree
and point to the police officers (damn.. not real good example, but
you get the idea :)

When they quiver in their boots because of IDEA or CAST and tell me
that bad guy Y uses crypto to hide his world domination plans, I'll
agree, and then I'll point to the U.S. defense messaging system.

> 	I mean, you could probably get steak knives banned in today's 
> 	climate by defending them like that.

I'm sure you are right.. but defending them like that is the _truth_
any technology _can_ be used for good or evil.. we have to stop the
people, not the technology. Even though your method may work a little
more efficiently, it tries to cover over the truth; to hide it.

I can't do that. Covering up the truth is a step away from denying it..
an easy step to make going down, but it is one hell of a hard climb
coming back up.

I'll take my chances with C, and maybe some Perl if I'm lucky. If things
really get hairy, I can always resort to the tatoo and the .45

Michael J. Graffam (mgraffam@mhv.net)
http://www.mhv.net/~mgraffam -- Philosophy, Religion, Computers, Crypto, etc
"Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine."
			Henry David Thoreau "Civil Disobedience"

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