1998-09-07 - Re: Cypherpunks HyperArchive

Header Data

From: Ryan Lackey <ryan@arianrhod.systemics.ai>
To: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Message Hash: d52a7774c39402c1c6b9db40f5bd0319a530fc9e39b6fafedf84b0260f8f870e
Message ID: <E0zG6wN-00071Z-00@arianrhod.systemics.ai>
Reply To: <v0313030ab219b7376d3b@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1998-09-07 19:30:48 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 03:30:48 +0800

Raw message

From: Ryan Lackey <ryan@arianrhod.systemics.ai>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 03:30:48 +0800
To: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Subject: Re: Cypherpunks HyperArchive
In-Reply-To: <v0313030ab219b7376d3b@[]>
Message-ID: <E0zG6wN-00071Z-00@arianrhod.systemics.ai>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> Indeed, weren't you developing some kind of distributed eternity server? So
> much for eternity, I guess.

I believe Eternity depends upon a viable electronic cash system.  I put 
Eternity DDS on hold until one existed, and switched to working on HINDE,
a project with Ian Goldberg, to create a workable electronic cash system.
Creating a workable electronic cash system became...complicated (e.g. given
that I was recently at Bob Hettinga's electronic cash conference in Boston
giving a technical presentation, and it turns out the new CEO of DigiCash
was i the audience as "an interested investor"...perhaps it was impolitic
of me to continually bash DigiCash and David Chaum in a group of people
who I did not all definitely know to not be DigiCash employees...)  

Ian's gone on to do
Zero-Knowledge Systems, and I'm now working on what follows in this
email, so HINDE, the defined as the cypherpunkish protest against DigiCash, 
is probably quiescent.  Don't read anything into that, though.

For backing up the Cypherpunks Archives, I could have done just as well
by setting up two identical machines with rsync mirroring the drives.  I do
this kind of thing with real data, but didn't feel the 1gb of archive data
was high enough importance to mirror.  It appears the machine will be up
in a week or so, and if the drive is broken, I will send it off to a drive
recovery place for recovery, so the archives will be up, minus the most
recent month or two, in a month, at the outside.
> Ryan, could you tell us what you are working on, and what has taken you out
> of the country?
The two answers are related, but distinct.

I am working on an interesting project with an interesting organization to
develop interesting applications for interesting clients.  I would provide
more detail here now if I could, and will in the future.

I have left the US for many reasons.  One, because I can, at least now.  I left
about a month ago.  I'm increasingly concerned about y2k issues, and my
situation in Boston (living about 0.25 miles from the exact center of Boston)
was not at all compatible with the kind of preparation I believe in.  I am
concerned not so much with the primary/prompt effects of y2k as I am
of societal panic and the government's response, perhaps proactive, to
that panic.

I left because the crypto policies of the US were getting increasingly
obnoxious, although I am a US citizen, and am not violating any EAR
restrictions.  (I'm actually probably obeying US law even more totally
here than I did when I lived in the US -- in Cambridge, MA, it is a 
crime to "interdigitate", that is, to hold hands with someone of the opposite
sex.  I think I was actually a potential felon before I left too, as I had an 
unpaid library fine at the Boston Public Library which I paid the day before
I left, and I believe having outstanding fines for greater than a year is
a felony in MA, a holdover from colonial times.)

I left because I wanted to be doing more, and plotting/scheming about what
I could be doing if I were not in the US less.  

I left because the US is just not the best place for me to live at the
current time, given that my primary goal right now is to accomplish the
"interesting projects".  

I left because in a time of uncertainty about the future, it is nice to
be far away from both soft targets and fundamentally self-serving
organizations with large amounts of power and no constraints upon
their use of such.

Given that I haven't actually broken any laws in coming here, and am being
scrupulous to avoid breaking any while I'm here, it wasn't really that
big a change.  I sold my stereo and long-term-loaned my larger computers
and monitors to one of my former housemates, but if things didn't work out, 
I could very easily move back to the US.  However, I can't imagine any
situations where this is a worthwhile choice.  I was thinking about the
things in the US I could conceivably miss -- some heavy industrial things,
the Grand Canyon, and MAE-East, and all of them can be substituted
with other things elsewhere.

So, leaving was somewhat supported by what I'm working on, but neither
really required the other -- they were independent choices which made
sense independently and made even more sense together.

I'd encourage anyone interested in leaving the US for a few years to 
seriously consider doing so ASAP, before 1 January 1999 if at all possible.
It takes some time to get set up in a new place, and you want this all
sorted out before any potential uncertainty becomes reality.

If I had the money and time to set myself up in the US with a reasonable
plot of land far away from any nearby targets or attackers, I would have
considered it more than I did, but I don't yet have investment income to
live from, so I needed a place where I could make a reasonable amount of
money, and Montana wasn't quite it.  For those who can, or who were lucky
enough to find themselves in that position before the y2k uncertainty
became a pressing issue, staying in place may easily make more sense.

Anguilla is actually a pretty reasonable choice as far as a place to
spend a few years away from the US -- 7 000 people, many with a strong
libertarian bent because they've always owned their own land, reasonable
comms, no taxes, accessible through a neighboring island's jet airport
but not really a place with a lot of through-traffic itself, etc.  If you
stockpile a bit of food and supplies, you're probably all set -- security
is nowhere near as big an issue here as it would be in most of the US.  I
was objectively evaluating my situation in Boston, and it would have required
more than a reinforced brigade to provide any reasonable security there.  The
cost of that buys an awful lot of canned/nitrogen-packed food...  I'm sure
there are other places in the world which are reasonable, but I've
only really looked at Anguilla, due to fc99, and I knew people here already.