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Is decentralization damaging to the national interest during a time of war?

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  • Lucas Gonze
    Message 1 of 15 , Sep 21, 2001
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    • Lucas Gonze
      Does anybody feel pressure to keep a low profile with work on tools, such as mixnets or Peekabooty, that terrorists might use?
      Message 2 of 15 , Sep 21, 2001
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        Does anybody feel pressure to keep a low profile with work on tools, such as
        mixnets or Peekabooty, that terrorists might use?
      • Eric M. Hopper
        ... A little. My colleagues and I actually semi-jokingly used Bin Laden s terrorist network as a hypothetical communicator in assessing threats. It s rather
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 21, 2001
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          On Fri, Sep 21, 2001 at 06:44:34PM -0400, Lucas Gonze wrote:
          > Does anybody feel pressure to keep a low profile with work on tools, such as
          > mixnets or Peekabooty, that terrorists might use?

          A little.

          My colleagues and I actually semi-jokingly used Bin Laden's
          terrorist network as a hypothetical communicator in assessing threats.
          It's rather odd and strange that we did this, looking back, but I still
          am truly of the opinion that secure communications has many more
          beneficial uses than harmful ones.

          I think we used that example as a sort of joking way to reassure
          eachother that we were all on the same ideological page. That while we
          didn't really want Bin Laden and associates to succeed, we recognized
          that they may use tools we make.

          I find it sad that Phil Zimmerman has been in such anguish over
          it, though I can understand.

          --
          "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.
          It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --- Thomas Jefferson
          "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain
          -- Eric Hopper (hopper@... http://www.omnifarious.org/~hopper) --
        • Julian Bond
          ... Hash: SHA1 In article , Eric M. Hopper writes ... Signing every message was quite common a
          Message 4 of 15 , Sep 22, 2001
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            In article <20010921234230.A16484@...>, Eric M. Hopper
            <hopper@...> writes
            > I find it sad that Phil Zimmerman has been in such anguish over
            >it, though I can understand.

            Signing every message was quite common a few years back. It's quite odd
            to see you do this now. Do you think there's any chance of it becoming
            common again? PGP is pretty easy to use these days and most every email
            reader has a plug in for it now.

            - --
            Julian Bond email: julian_bond@...
            CV/Resume: http://www.voidstar.com/cv/
            WebLog: http://www.voidstar.com/
            HomeURL: http://www.shockwav.demon.co.uk/
            M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173 T: +44 (0)192 0412 433
            ICQ:33679568 tag:So many words, so little time

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          • Eric M. Hopper
            ... I kinda doubt it will happen over email. After playing with gpg a lot I came to the conclusion that the whole process was too much of a pain and too
            Message 5 of 15 , Sep 22, 2001
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              On Sat, Sep 22, 2001 at 08:24:56AM +0100, Julian Bond wrote:
              > In article <20010921234230.A16484@...>, Eric M. Hopper
              > <hopper@...> writes
              > > I find it sad that Phil Zimmerman has been in such anguish over
              > >it, though I can understand.
              >
              > Signing every message was quite common a few years back. It's quite
              > odd to see you do this now. Do you think there's any chance of it
              > becoming common again? PGP is pretty easy to use these days and most
              > every email reader has a plug in for it now.

              I kinda doubt it will happen over email. After playing with gpg
              a lot I came to the conclusion that the whole process was too much of a
              pain and too confusing for most people. And the interface for pgp is
              worse.

              If Microsoft should ever just build support into Outlook or
              something, it might start happening again. But, Microsoft software has
              a disturbing tendency to randomly strip MIME signatures right out. :-(

              The product my company is working on (we're unfunded and all
              work in our spare time) will be an instant messaging and filesharing
              product. Initial versions will probably just have TLS security, but the
              protocol and architecture is being designed so that it will, by default,
              use strong security for every message that's exchanged. In our system,
              every message is likely to be encrypted as well as signed.

              Have fun (if at all possible),
              --
              "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.
              It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --- Thomas Jefferson
              "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain
              -- Eric Hopper (hopper@... http://www.omnifarious.org/~hopper) --
            • Hugh Pyle
              (Whose national interest, btw?) On the contrary; decentralised technologies are more robust in the face of disruption, and a time of war represent a definite
              Message 6 of 15 , Sep 22, 2001
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                (Whose national interest, btw?)

                On the contrary; decentralised technologies are more robust in the face of disruption, and a time of war represent a definite increase in disruption of various sorts.  I'm plugging full speed ahead.

                Time of war may also mean that the only people spending any money are government agencies.  Whether that's a benefit or a hindrance depends on your ethics and your business model more than the guts of the technology you're building.

                Building open-source software in a time of war might become a measurably more "dangerous" activity than building commercial software.  If you assume that terrorists would like to avoid paying for software (reasonable assumption?) then does free software itself become subversive?   Is this just me finally becoming paranoid?


                -Hugh
                [Groove fingerprint:  1aa1-f302:3c74-e05c:8e75-324b:a597-28ac:4761-2caf]
              • Bill Kearney
                ... measurably ... you ... (reasonable ... this ... Or, as the recent Security list problem shows, it s possible for the terrorist entity to infiltrate the
                Message 7 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                  > Building open-source software in a time of war might become a
                  measurably
                  > more "dangerous" activity than building commercial software. If
                  you
                  > assume that terrorists would like to avoid paying for software
                  (reasonable
                  > assumption?) then does free software itself become subversive? Is
                  this
                  > just me finally becoming paranoid?

                  Or, as the recent Security list problem shows, it's possible for the
                  terrorist entity to infiltrate the open source project for the
                  explicit purpose of subversion. Of course, everyone being ABLE to
                  read the source would make it possible to detect. But again, using
                  the Security list as an example, very few people are putting forth
                  the effort to do so.

                  -Bill Kearney
                • Lucas Gonze
                  I m thinking about paranoia and self-censorship in the US. In this intensely nervous time in the US, there s something disreputable, faintly smelly, about
                  Message 8 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                    I'm thinking about paranoia and self-censorship in the US. In this intensely
                    nervous time in the US, there's something disreputable, faintly smelly, about
                    technology that makes policing harder. It's hard to stand up and argue that
                    easier movement for terrorists is the price you have to pay for free MP3s, and
                    oh yeah I mean a free society.

                    My instinct is to say that people are laying low if they know what's good for
                    them, because nobody wants to be the one who has to defend the proposition that
                    "terrorism is the price of an open society". That's probably true, but it feels
                    like a pat answer.

                    - Lucas
                  • Dave Winer
                    Lucas, here s an article in today s NY Times, with important background info. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/21/technology/21CYBERLAW.html For the past few
                    Message 9 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                      Lucas, here's an article in today's NY Times, with important background
                      info.

                      http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/21/technology/21CYBERLAW.html

                      "For the past few years, the government has interpreted the existing pen
                      register and trap and trace laws, which were designed with telephones in
                      mind, to allow them to swiftly garner certain information from ISP's about a
                      suspect's e-mails -- for example, the to/from header information."

                      Dave
                    • Todd Boyle
                      ... As an intellectual exercise, consider why people would be upset at the idea of LE (law enforcement agencies) having the means to read all data that flows
                      Message 10 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                        At 08:21 AM 9/23/01, Dave Winer wrote:
                        >Lucas, here's an article in today's NY Times, with important background
                        >info.
                        >
                        >http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/21/technology/21CYBERLAW.html
                        >
                        >"For the past few years, the government has interpreted the existing pen
                        >register and trap and trace laws, which were designed with telephones in
                        >mind, to allow them to swiftly garner certain information from ISP's about a
                        >suspect's e-mails -- for example, the to/from header information."
                        >
                        >Dave


                        As an intellectual exercise, consider why people would be upset at the idea
                        of LE (law enforcement agencies) having the means to read all data that
                        flows over the internet.

                        1. fear and distrust of government i.e. future fascism etc.

                        Answer to this is, then, work to improve checks and balances and controls
                        over the activities of governments. In any case, fascism depends on a
                        docile and unarmed citizenry which certainly does not exist in the US.
                        Even with todays relatively benign fed. govet there are fanatical Wako types
                        of cults.

                        2. loss of the ability to cheat on taxes, child support and fifty other things

                        Answer to this is that there is no answer. The cowards won't be heard
                        in public but some of the largest power groups opposing national ID etc.
                        are tax protesters and the legal industry (lawyers).

                        ---

                        My position is that information is at worst neutral and actually is beneficial.
                        We need to get away from the paradigm that has ruled for thousands of
                        years, that persons can be manipulated, and outcomes of real things
                        such as transfers of wealth, are possible by manipulating the information
                        available to the individual. http://www.gldialtone.com/nationOfLies.htm

                        IF there is any argument in favor of privacy I have never heard it.

                        There is no constitutional right to privacy.

                        When LE can observe your communications without reducing your
                        actual freedom or the outcome of any real thing in your life, that is
                        NOT unreasonable search and seizure.

                        I'll admit there is little prospect that the government has the power to
                        block encrypted communications by criminals for the near term. But
                        I do call for national ID cards, and technology to enable the total
                        authentication of users on the internet to those ID numbers,
                        so that those of us who are ready to use the Internet for useful things
                        are no longer prevented from doing so by todays all-out protection
                        of the liars, thieves and hackers in our midst.

                        In conclusion: information is neutral, communication is good, and
                        privacy equals hiding of information to manipulate others into doing
                        things they would not do, if they had truthful information.

                        TOdd
                        Todd Boyle CPA 9745-128th Ave NE Kirkland WA
                        tboyle@... 425-827-3107
                      • Tony Kimball
                        ... It is possible that Windows XP was designed by terrorist moles. But that s speculation. We *know* chunks of NT4 were designed for the NSA.
                        Message 11 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                          Quoth Bill Kearney on Sunday, 23 September:
                          : it's possible for the
                          : terrorist entity to infiltrate the open source project for the
                          : explicit purpose of subversion.

                          It is possible that Windows XP was designed by terrorist moles.
                          But that's speculation. We *know* chunks of NT4 were designed
                          for the NSA.
                        • Eric M. Hopper
                          ... Uh huh. So, gutting the 3rd, 4th and 5th ammendments is just fine as long as the 2nd ammendment remains intact? Seems to me that one s in a lot of danger
                          Message 12 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                            On Sun, Sep 23, 2001 at 09:22:19AM -0700, Todd Boyle wrote:
                            >
                            > As an intellectual exercise, consider why people would be upset at the idea
                            > of LE (law enforcement agencies) having the means to read all data that
                            > flows over the internet.
                            >
                            > 1. fear and distrust of government i.e. future fascism etc.
                            >
                            > Answer to this is, then, work to improve checks and balances and
                            > controls over the activities of governments. In any case, fascism
                            > depends on a docile and unarmed citizenry which certainly does not
                            > exist in the US. Even with todays relatively benign fed. govet there
                            > are fanatical Wako types of cults.

                            Uh huh. So, gutting the 3rd, 4th and 5th ammendments is just
                            fine as long as the 2nd ammendment remains intact? Seems to me that
                            one's in a lot of danger too, along with the 1st. It would be
                            interesting to go through a list of all the ammendments and figure out
                            which ones aren't in the process of being largely legislated out of
                            existence.

                            > My position is that information is at worst neutral and actually is
                            > beneficial. We need to get away from the paradigm that has ruled for
                            > thousands of years, that persons can be manipulated, and outcomes of
                            > real things such as transfers of wealth, are possible by manipulating
                            > the information available to the individual.
                            > http://www.gldialtone.com/nationOfLies.htm

                            I am fine (well maybe not, but for the purposes of this
                            argument) with all information being available, as long as ALL
                            information is available. I'm not comfortable with law enforcement
                            agencies watching people unless they're happy with 24 hour surveillance
                            from random people as well.

                            > When LE can observe your communications without reducing your actual
                            > freedom or the outcome of any real thing in your life, that is NOT
                            > unreasonable search and seizure.

                            Except it will. To pick one example, my net conversations with
                            my girlfriend will be more constrained if I know people are listening.
                            To pick another, I will be more hesitant to speak out about the police
                            or government if I know all my communications are being monitored.
                            These are 'chilling effects' on the 1st ammendment, and in some ways a
                            violation of the 3rd.

                            > In conclusion: information is neutral, communication is good, and
                            > privacy equals hiding of information to manipulate others into doing
                            > things they would not do, if they had truthful information.

                            *shrug* Nobody will ever have all the information all of the
                            time, no matter how open society is. The question is, who has the most
                            information, and thus the most power over other people's lives.

                            *sigh*,
                            --
                            "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.
                            It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --- Thomas Jefferson
                            "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain
                            -- Eric Hopper (hopper@... http://www.omnifarious.org/~hopper) --
                          • Tony Kimball
                            ... Strenuous, emphatic, disagreement here. Docility is endemic, the predictable result of raising the population in a state creche. Arms are strictly
                            Message 13 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                              Quoth Todd Boyle on Sunday, 23 September:

                              : In any case, fascism depends on a
                              : docile and unarmed citizenry which certainly does not exist in the US.

                              Strenuous, emphatic, disagreement here. Docility is endemic, the
                              predictable result of raising the population in a state creche. Arms
                              are strictly controlled, only peashooters are in relatively wide
                              spread, and even those are held in fear and uncertainty, not borne as
                              an uninfringed right. The multiplication of spurious laws is such
                              that it is now quite fair to say that the vast majority of
                              U.S. citizens are repeat felons, subject to federal lifetime
                              imprisonment with a 6'8" 280lb bald man named Spike. As a result, it
                              is in everyone's best interest to play their cards very close to the
                              vest. As the Japanese say, "The nail that sticks out get's hammered
                              down."

                              : Even with todays relatively benign fed. govet

                              That characterization depends on whether they are shooting at *you* or
                              not, doesn't it? Whether they are putting polonium in *your*
                              toothpaste, injecting *you* with syphillis or plutonium, or putting
                              *you* in solitary confinement in a federal prison for more than a year
                              without trial as a reward for being an absent-minded chinese academic
                              working in a federal laboratory. These are just the things that we
                              know about publically, by admission -- and for which of these crimes
                              was any federal officer ever held accountable? 0. None. Nada.

                              : There is no constitutional right to privacy.

                              The right to be secure in one's papers is explicitly enumerated.
                              (Unenumerated rights are reserved by the 9th and 10th amendments,
                              which in recent years have been entirely overlooked by a lawless and
                              corrupt court system serving the interests of a very small minority of
                              the global population, many not even American citizens.) The
                              consistent, nay, *invariable*, interpretation of 217 years of
                              jurisprudence is that this explicitly enumerated right extends to
                              written communications.

                              : I'll admit there is little prospect that the government has the power to
                              : block encrypted communications by criminals for the near term.

                              Or ever, and I thank God for small mercies.

                              Ob. on-topic: I must agree with those who observe that the only reason
                              why a suitable target existed for the attacks of the 11th is the
                              now-obsolete centralization of the national economic infrastructure.
                              None of the functions of the COMEX, for example, should rationally be
                              located in a tightly bordered region within some of the worlds most
                              expensive real-estate, and some of the worlds most polluted air.

                              Decentralized and disintermediated markets will replace such outmoded
                              institutions with economic inevitability, and the resilience of
                              society to incidental attack will increase dramatically as a result.
                              Further similar centralized attacks can be expected in the future,
                              and no, I emphasize, *no* reactionary security infrastructure will
                              ever suffice to make secure a sufficiently attractive centralized
                              target -- instead, it will multiply the number of determined enemies
                              of the system to include not only agents foreign, but also domestic.
                            • m.friedman@cruxus.com
                              Decentralization has been and will be central to the national interests. Recall how the American colonists won their battles against the English: They
                              Message 14 of 15 , Sep 23, 2001
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                                Decentralization has been and will be "central" to the national
                                interests.

                                Recall how the American colonists won their battles against the
                                English: They spread themselves out, while the English stayed in
                                rigid formation – an easy target. The colonists were
                                decentralized,
                                but more important acted in a coordinated fashion to function
                                effectively. (Unfortunately, in recent days we in the US are seeing
                                all too well the potential of this type of decentralized
                                organization.)

                                Decentralization by itself provides significant security. However, if
                                you want coordination within a decentralized network, additional
                                security/privacy measures must be used to protect information flow
                                among the network's members. Failure of security at this level
                                practically neutralizes any benefit of decentralization.

                                Probably the only effective way to counteract such a network is with
                                another decentralized, coordinated and highly secure network
                                structure. Another lesson from the founders that's been overlooked?
                              • Gregory P. Smith
                                ... Phil is not in anguish over the possibility of encryption being used for evil purposes. The Washington Post exercised their editorial freedom and
                                Message 15 of 15 , Sep 27, 2001
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                                  > I find it sad that Phil Zimmerman has been in such anguish over
                                  > it, though I can understand.

                                  Phil is not in anguish over the possibility of encryption being used
                                  for evil purposes. The Washington Post exercised their editorial
                                  freedom and misrepresented him. Read his correction/response on
                                  slashdot (it showed up there sometime in the last several days).

                                  http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/09/24/162236&mode=thread

                                  -Greg
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