Cyphernomicon Top
Cyphernomicon 2.7

MFAQ--Most Frequently Asked Questions:

    2.7.1. "How can the government do this?"
           - incredulity that bans, censorship, etc. are legal
           + several ways these things happen
             - not tested in the courts
             - wartime regulations
             + conflicting interpretations
               - e.g., "general welfare" clause used to justify
                  restrictions on speech, freedom of association, etc.
               + whenever public money or facilities used (as with
                  churches forced to hire Satanists)
                 - and in this increasingly interconnnected world, it is
                    sometimes very hard to avoid overlap with  public
                    funding, facilities, etc.
    2.7.2. "Why don't Cypherpunks develop their won competing encryption
           + Many reasons not to:
             - cost
             - focus
             - expertise
             - hard to sell such a competing standard
           - better to let market as a whole make these choices
    2.7.3. "Why is crypto so frightening to governments?"
           + It takes away the state's power to snoop, to wiretap, to
              eavesdrop, to control
             - Priestly confessionals were a major way the Church kept
                tabs on the locals...a worldwide, grassroots system of
                ecclesiastical narcs
           + Crypto has high leverage
             + Unlike direct assaults with bombs, HERF and EMP attacks,
                sabotage, etc, crypto is self-spreading...a bootstrap
               - people use it, give it to others, put it on networks
               - others use it for their own purposes
               - a cascade effect, growing geometrically
               - and undermining confidence in governments, allowing the
                  spread of multiple points of view (especially
                  unapproved views)
    2.7.4. "I've just joined the list and am wondering why I don't see
            more debate about Clipper?"
           - Understand that people rarely write essays in response to
              questions like "Why is Clipper bad?" For most of us,
              mandatory key escrow is axiomatically bad; no debate is
           - Clipper was thoroughly trashed by nearly everyone within
              hours and days of its announcement, April 16, 1993.
              Hundreds of articles and editorials have condemned it.
              Cyperpunks currently has no active supporters of mandatory
              key escrow, from all indications, so there is nothing to

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