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Re: [decentralization] Freenet & MojoNation

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  • Gregory Alan Bolcer
    ... Standard multi-person dilemma, death and taxes (allocation), & all that. 8-) One of the social things that p2p uncovered is that people have a strong sense
    Message 1 of 18 , May 29, 2001
      Sam Joseph wrote:

      > So my friend Shimogori-san had a point. When I pay my phone bill I'm
      > potentially adding resources to that company who might use that for
      > things I disapprove of. In Freenet I'm devoting some of my resources
      > (i.e. some hard disk space and potentially some bandwidth), and
      > fundamentally this is no different. I give the phone company some money
      > to pay my phone bill. I give Freenet some disk space. No difference
      > right? I don't stop using the phone company because somebody uses the
      > phone for something I disapprove of, right?

      Standard multi-person dilemma, death and taxes (allocation), & all that. 8-)
      One of the social things that p2p uncovered is that people have
      a strong sense of local ownership of their own data (which is
      under their own control). Freenet is giving up control of some portion of
      your local resources. The phone company takes place out there.
      If you can break the conceptual barrier, then you've got a real argument.

      Heck, it took years for people to realize that the Web browser wasn't
      the Web (and I'm not all that convinced the majority of people understand
      the difference). Apache used to receive hundreds (if not thousands)
      of angry emails a day in response to their hello world "It Worked!"
      page. The message was that if you are seeing this page, then your
      Apache installation worked. Some poor fool would come across this
      page with a browser and think that the software was installed on his or her local
      computer and not that they just stumbled across a Web server that
      hasn't been configured yet. The problem? No clean conceptual break.

      Greg


      --
      Gregory Alan Bolcer | gbolcer@... | work: 949.833.2800
      Chief Technology Officer | http://endeavors.com | cell: 714.928.5476
      Endeavors Technology, Inc. | efax: 603.994.0516 | wap: 949.278.2805
    • Sam Joseph
      Hi Ian, Apologies for the delay in responding, but things got a little busy last week. ... getting ... and ... your ... you ... and I ... hurt ... Well, I d
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 3, 2001
        Hi Ian,

        Apologies for the delay in responding, but things got a little busy last
        week.

        Ian Clarke wrote:
        > On Mon, May 28, 2001 at 05:47:40PM +0900, Sam Joseph wrote:
        > > There is no analogy whatsoever. We're not talking about somebody
        getting
        > > a dog that happens to remind you of your experience. We're talking
        > > about you being horribly mauled by dogs and somebody videoing that,
        and
        > > then distributing that video over the internet. The two actions,
        your
        > > neighbour buying a dog, and your neighbour distributing images of
        you
        > > being savagely mauled by dogs are completely different activities,
        and I
        > > think many people would agree with me that they warranted completely

        > > different responses.

        > Ok, so how would a video of you being distributed over the internet
        hurt
        > you?

        Well, I'd say it can hurt me emotionally. Clearly it can't hurt me in
        the direct physical sense that a hammer can. I'd say the knowledge that
        people were busy enjoying watching me being mauled by dogs again and
        again could easily be as psychologically traumatic as the experience of
        being mauled by dogs.

        I mean I think we would both agree that being mauled by dogs can do far
        more than just physical damage. Long after the physical wounds have
        healed, psychological wounds can persist, no?

        > > Fair enough. But I'm not talking about banning anything that
        reminds
        > > you of the suffering. I'm talking about you having the right to get
        in
        > > touch with people who are distributing the images of you actually
        > > suffering, which seems completely different to me.

        > The problem is that you need to think, not in terms of what people
        have
        > a right to do, but in terms of what is required to *ensure* that they
        > have that right. So, I have the right to life, but does that mean
        that
        > the government should ban anything that might take away that right
        > (guns, knives, etc). Now, you might decide not to support Freenet on
        > the basis that it prevents people from identifying the source of
        > information, and to you the negative implications of that (child
        > pornography) outweigh the positive implication (freedom of speech), so

        > you shouldn't run a Freenet node in that case.

        I guess not. Although I think there is an argument in terms of ensuring
        some degree of accountability, but see below for that.

        > > > > > In that case, it is obtaining the images that is wrong, not
        their
        > > > > distribution.
        > > > > Really. You're telling me that if I distribute images of a
        married
        > > > > person having an affair in an attempt to destroy his marriage,
        > > family,
        > > > status in the community, then the people who support their
        > > distribution
        > > > > have no blame or responsibility in the matter?
        > > > This is perfectly legal, and happens all the time.
        > > Not if the images are fakes, right.

        > In the scenario you outlined, there was no indication that the images
        > might be fake.

        Right, but that's not a reason not to address the issue. The crucial
        point is that with access to anonymity the person pursuing this course
        of action is not accountable for their behaviour.

        Maybe the psychological trauma of the "mauled by dogs, video available
        on the internet" case doesn't make the point concretely enough; but if
        somebody destroys my marriage by distributing fake pictures of me having
        an affair would you seriously suggest that this person is not doing me
        any harm?

        > > Hey, look, I think that Freenet incorporates some interesting and
        > > excellent technology, I just can't quite figure out why the
        anonymity
        > > part is actually necessary.

        > Almost all censorship is retrospective, the only sure way to prevent
        > such censorship is anonymity. Anonymous speech is essential for free
        > speech, this isn't a new idea.

        It may not be a new idea, but conversely I don't think it is something
        that is universally accepted either, i.e. that anonymity is necessary
        for free speech. Another approach is to try and create a legislative
        framework that ensures free speech. Sure it can be abused, but so can
        any system. As Freenet tries to create a framework in which free speech
        is unassailable it opens up doors to other kinds of abuse.

        So I took the time to go through all the various mails that were sent
        last week and I have started to draw these conclusions.

        Anonymity is a tool, and like any tool can be used for good and bad
        purposes. I get the impression that the Freenet project is all about
        making anonymity more widely available in the hope that this will
        provide those people living under oppressive regimes with the tools to
        try and relieve themselves of that oppression. It is a noble goal and
        something that I think inspires people to work on and contribute to the
        Freenet project.

        However, I think the problem was summed up by Tony Kimball:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/decentralization/message/2699

        "Systems which insure free electronic expression of ideas (arguably, a
        basic human right) are necessarily anonymizing. This enables
        whistle-blowing. But anonymity also leads to the problem Plato has
        Socrates describe with the fable of the ring of Gyges, which renders the
        wearer invisible: Many persons, when no longer held accountable, will
        abuse their freedoms to the harm of others."

        I think the example of someone using Freenet to disseminate faked images
        of someone having an affair, commiting a crime etc., demonstrates that
        the anonymity tool can be put to negative uses as well as positive ones.

        For a person living under an oppressive regime being accountable for
        expressing opinions about the government may have such a high price
        (i.e. their life) that they will not be willing to do so unless some
        anonymity mechanism is available.

        Similarly, someone living in a comparatively fair and free society would
        not disseminate images of their boss or colleague assaulting a minor
        because they would also have a fairly high price to pay, given that they
        could be held accountable for their action.

        In the same way that a gun can be used to defend a right, or to commit a
        crime, anonymity can be used for positive and negative ends.

        I think the problem is not that everybody needs access to anonymity, I
        think the problem is more that there is not enough accountability.
        Governments could not oppress their citizens if there was some reliable
        mechanism for ensuring accountability. Ensuring everyone has anonymity
        deals with the symptom, but not the disease. What we really want is
        some mechanism that would ensure accountability, but I don't yet know
        what that would be, or even what form it would take.

        In the meantime, making sure everyone has access to anonymity is akin to
        making sure that everyone has access to guns. Oppressed people may take
        the tool you have given them and use it to free themselves. Others will
        turn upon each other and use the new tool as a means of oppression.

        Wouldn't it be ironic if Freenet was used by an oppressive regime to
        discredit a political opponent, someone who might have actually been
        instrumental in overthrowing the oppressive regime?

        I guess it comes down to whether we believe humans are likely to use
        anonymity as a tool for good or evil. I think that none of us know the
        answer, and that Freenet is a social experiment the outcome of which
        remains uncertain.

        Personally I am going to keep on thinking, struggling to try and find
        some kind of framework that will ensure accountability, rather than
        anonymity, since I think therein lies the real problem that the human
        race is facing.

        CHEERS> SAM
      • Tony Kimball
        ... You should read Assassination Politics , by Jim Bell -- now in prison again, I believe, after a laughably ridiculous railroad job. ... Access to guns
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 3, 2001
          Quoth Sam Joseph on Sunday, 3 June:
          :
          : I think the problem is not that everybody needs access to anonymity, I
          : think the problem is more that there is not enough accountability.
          : Governments could not oppress their citizens if there was some reliable
          : mechanism for ensuring accountability. Ensuring everyone has anonymity
          : deals with the symptom, but not the disease. What we really want is
          : some mechanism that would ensure accountability, but I don't yet know
          : what that would be, or even what form it would take.

          You should read "Assassination Politics", by Jim Bell -- now in
          prison again, I believe, after a laughably ridiculous railroad job.

          : In the meantime, making sure everyone has access to anonymity is akin to
          : making sure that everyone has access to guns.

          Access to guns almost *insures* accountability. Access to anonymity
          almost *precludes* accountability.
        • Julian Bond
          In article , Tony Kimball writes ... Not till everyone has a personal nuke. ... Is this the point to
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 3, 2001
            In article <15130.62458.794100.276678@...>, Tony Kimball
            <alk@...> writes
            >Access to guns almost *insures* accountability.

            Not till everyone has a personal nuke.

            >Access to anonymity
            >almost *precludes* accountability.

            Is this the point to bring up Key Escrow? I mean, anything is better
            than the "gun thread" ;-0

            Only slightly off topic, but some group within the EU has recently done
            a study of Echelon and concluded that a) it's not a myth and b) the best
            way for EU citizens to avoid being snooped is to use strong encryption.
            http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/19306.html

            Ever since PGP was let out of pandora's box, distributed strong
            encryption was freely available everywhere if you needed it, along with
            it's corollaries. And at around the same time all the theoretical work
            was done on creating truly anonymous systems. But the anon.penet.fi
            experience showed some of the limitations. The point here is that it's
            too late to be arguing about whether it's good or bad or should be
            allowed, as the box is open.

            The same issues arise with the "Panopticon" problem. The ability to
            create universal surveillance is morally neutral. But there's a world of
            difference between the state enforcing it, which is where we are headed
            and the populace using it, which can help to limit the worst excesses of
            the state.

            --
            Julian Bond eMail: julian@...
            HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
            WorkURL: http://www.netmarketseurope.com/
            WebLog: http://roguemoon.manilasites.com/
            M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)20 7420 4363
            ICQ:33679668 tag:So many words, so little time
          • gaijin@yha.att.ne.jp
            ... with ... work ... it s ... Sure the box is open, but so is the box of nuclear technology, but that doesn t mean I should strive towards making weapons
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
              --- In decentralization@y..., Julian Bond <julian@n...> wrote:
              > Ever since PGP was let out of pandora's box, distributed strong
              > encryption was freely available everywhere if you needed it, along
              with
              > it's corollaries. And at around the same time all the theoretical
              work
              > was done on creating truly anonymous systems. But the anon.penet.fi
              > experience showed some of the limitations. The point here is that
              it's
              > too late to be arguing about whether it's good or bad or should be
              > allowed, as the box is open.

              Sure the box is open, but so is the box of nuclear technology, but
              that doesn't mean I should strive towards making weapons grade
              plutonium easily available.

              I think some people believe that easy access to anonymity by the
              population at large would be a *necessarily* good thing. I'm sure
              that it might have some good effects. I would just argue that it may
              also have some negative effects, and that if your real motivation is
              making the world a better place, well, making anonymity as available
              as McDonalds may have more complex results that you at first imagine.

              I'm not trying to argue that we should put anonymous systems back in
              the box, clearly a pointless exercise; but I think it's worth
              considering the effects that making them more widely available will
              have - and I'm certainly not arguing that all the effects are bad.

              Technology is just tools, but people building and refining tools are
              motivated by their beliefs about what the availability of those tools
              will achieve; and that's always open to debate.

              CHEERS> SAM
            • Julian Bond
              In article , gaijin@yha.att.ne.jp writes ... And once the tool is built, the market decides how wide the implementations are and hence
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
                In article <9fffs3+dlhb@...>, gaijin@... writes
                >Technology is just tools, but people building and refining tools are
                >motivated by their beliefs about what the availability of those tools
                >will achieve; and that's always open to debate.

                And once the tool is built, the market decides how wide the
                implementations are and hence how successful it is.

                This is an issue with things like anonymous re-mailers. Somewhere out
                there you can find remailer code for most platforms including MS
                Windows. But after the anon.penet.fi experience and the question marks
                over the trustworthiness of individual installations, the idea has
                almost disappeared. Similarly, we all ought to be using pgp (or
                something like it) as a matter of course to provide proof of identity if
                not full encryption, but we don't.

                The interesting thing about Freenet & MojoNation is whether they become
                so easy to use that a sizeable body of people use them all the time as a
                matter of course. Without that, they are just interesting backwaters.

                --
                Julian Bond eMail: julian@...
                HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
                WorkURL: http://www.netmarketseurope.com/
                WebLog: http://roguemoon.manilasites.com/
                M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)20 7420 4363
                ICQ:33679668 tag:So many words, so little time
              • gaijin@yha.att.ne.jp
                ... are ... tools ... And the market is affected by advertising, publicity and propaganda; which themselves can be controlled. The market is not a force of
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
                  --- In decentralization@y..., Julian Bond <julian@n...> wrote:
                  > In article <9fffs3+dlhb@e...>, gaijin@y... writes
                  > >Technology is just tools, but people building and refining tools
                  are
                  > >motivated by their beliefs about what the availability of those
                  tools
                  > >will achieve; and that's always open to debate.
                  >
                  > And once the tool is built, the market decides how wide the
                  > implementations are and hence how successful it is.

                  And the market is affected by advertising, publicity and propaganda;
                  which themselves can be controlled. The market is not a force of
                  nature like the wind.

                  If you successfully convince enough people that using Freenet
                  encourages people to eat their children it won't be successful. If
                  you convince enough people it's use will make the world a better
                  place, it's more likely to spread.

                  Never underestimate the power of belief.

                  CHEERS> SAM
                • scominney@yahoo.com
                  ... No, but as information technology becomes more decentralised nobody is asking you to share and spread harmful information. The individual is just getting
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
                    --- In decentralization@y..., gaijin@y... wrote:

                    > Sure the box is open, but so is the box of nuclear technology, but
                    > that doesn't mean I should strive towards making weapons grade
                    > plutonium easily available.

                    No, but as information technology becomes more decentralised nobody
                    is asking you to share and spread harmful information. The
                    individual
                    is just getting more choice to do this along with the choice to share
                    good content. I think anybody or group that develops a harmful
                    technology
                    is doing something wrong in the fist place, just like someone having
                    and sharing digitised kiddie porn is. The container that spreads
                    information
                    can never be resonsible for its misuse.

                    > I think some people believe that easy access to anonymity by the
                    > population at large would be a *necessarily* good thing. I'm sure
                    > that it might have some good effects. I would just argue that it
                    may
                    > also have some negative effects, and that if your real motivation
                    is
                    > making the world a better place, well, making anonymity as
                    available
                    > as McDonalds may have more complex results that you at first
                    imagine.

                    Anonymous transactions are good and fine, it happens all the time.

                    > I'm not trying to argue that we should put anonymous systems back
                    in
                    > the box, clearly a pointless exercise; but I think it's worth
                    > considering the effects that making them more widely available will
                    > have - and I'm certainly not arguing that all the effects are bad.

                    Imagine if technology is stopped progressing if its percieved misuse
                    was considered. Did the US consider this when making nuclear
                    weapons?

                    > Technology is just tools, but people building and refining tools
                    are
                    > motivated by their beliefs about what the availability of those
                    tools
                    > will achieve; and that's always open to debate.

                    True, a global decentralised information system with anonymous
                    transactions will have both good and bad effects. When I think about
                    it, I only
                    see the benefits to the individual and the content that can be
                    delivered.

                    I see this as the reason we have all the communications systems about
                    us now and see no valid reason to block, stop or restrict technology
                    that
                    provides true freedom of speech. I hope all the coders continue to
                    work on great p2p software
                  • Tom Caudron
                    Sam Joseph said, Anonymity is a tool, and like any tool can be used for good and bad purposes. I get the impression that the Freenet project is all about
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
                      Sam Joseph said, "Anonymity is a tool, and like any tool can be used for
                      good and bad purposes. I get the impression that the Freenet project is all
                      about making anonymity more widely available in the hope that this will
                      provide those people living under oppressive regimes with the tools to try
                      and relieve themselves of that oppression. It is a noble goal and something
                      that I think inspires people to work on and contribute to the Freenet
                      project."

                      Some supporters, admittedly not all, see more in it than that. Currently,
                      Anonymity is a privilege granted to those who can afford/figure out how to
                      have it. It already exists in some form or another. Freenet is an attempt
                      to equal the playing field. If you restrict anonymizing technology, then
                      you create a situation where the average citizen of the world has no
                      anonymity while the elite or the upper echelon (if you'll pardon the poorly
                      disguised reference <g>) will.

                      Progress toward a level playing field is, according to some, an inherent
                      Good. The world isn't fair and it may never be, but it can be reasonably
                      argued that we should still strive toward greater fairness and equity.

                      -Tom Caudron
                      _________________________________________________________________
                      Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
                    • Justin Chapweske
                      ... What possible advantage is there for me to prove my identity with every e-mail I write? By signing I have no way to deny something which I may have said
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
                        > almost disappeared. Similarly, we all ought to be using pgp (or
                        > something like it) as a matter of course to provide proof of identity if
                        > not full encryption, but we don't.

                        What possible advantage is there for me to prove my identity with every
                        e-mail I write? By signing I have no way to deny something which I may
                        have said and I have no way to prove that I didn't say something. Proof
                        of identity only makes sense for sensitive transactions and pseudonyms.

                        (Of course now some funny lurker is going to spoof my e-mail address and
                        "show me a thing or two"...bah. Or instead perhaps I'll take this
                        opportunity to write a slanderous e-mail about Tony and deny that I ever
                        wrote it...)

                        --
                        Justin Chapweske, Lead Swarmcast Developer, OpenCola Inc.
                        http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/swarmcast/
                      • Julian Bond
                        In article , Justin Chapweske writes ... What s the CIA phrase in the movies? Plausible
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 4, 2001
                          In article <20010604121832.A47550@...>, Justin Chapweske
                          <orasis@...> writes
                          >What possible advantage is there for me to prove my identity with every
                          >e-mail I write? By signing I have no way to deny something which I may
                          >have said and I have no way to prove that I didn't say something. Proof
                          >of identity only makes sense for sensitive transactions and pseudonyms.

                          What's the CIA phrase in the movies? "Plausible deniability"?

                          --
                          Julian Bond eMail: julian@...
                          HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
                          WorkURL: http://www.netmarketseurope.com/
                          WebLog: http://roguemoon.manilasites.com/
                          M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)20 7420 4363
                          ICQ:33679668 tag:So many words, so little time
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