3.4.1. "Is there a set of beliefs that most Cypherpunks support?" + There is nothing official (not much is), but there is an emergent, coherent set of beliefs which most list members seem to hold: - that the government should not be able to snoop into our affairs - that protection of conversations and exchanges is a basic right - that these rights may need to be secured through _technology_ rather than through law - that the power of technology often creates new political realities (hence the list mantra: "Cypherpunks write code") + Range of Beliefs - Many are libertarian, most support rights of privacy, some are more radical in apppoach 3.4.2. "What are Cypherpunks interested in?" - privacy - technology - encryition - politics - crypto anarchy - digital money - protocols 3.4.3. Personal Privacy and Collapse of Governments - There seem to be two main reasons people are drawn to Cypherpunks, besides the general attractiveness of a "cool" group such as ours. The first reason is _personal privacy_. That is, tools for ensuring privacy, protection from a surveillance society, and individual choice. This reason is widely popular, but is not always compelling (after all, why worry about personal privacy and then join a list that has been identified as a "subversive" group by the Feds? Something to think about.) - The second major is personal liberty through reducing the power of governments to coerce and tax. Sort of a digital Galt's Gulch, as it were. Libertarians and anarchocapitalists are especially drawn to this vision, a vision which may bother conventional liberals (when they realize strong crypto means things counter to welfare, AFDC, antidiscrimination laws....). - This second view is more controversial, but is, in my opinion, what really powers the list. While others may phrase it differently, most of us realize we are on to something that will change--and already is changing--the nature of the balance of power between individuals and larger entities. 3.4.4. Why is Cypherpunks called an "anarchy"? - Anarchy means "without a leader" (head). Much more common than people may think. - The association with bomb-throwing "anarchists" is misleading. 3.4.5. Why is there no formal agenda, organization, etc.? - no voting, no organization to administer such things - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - and it's how it all got started and evolved - also, nobody to arrest and hassle, no nonsense about filling out forms and getting tax exemptions, no laws about campaign law violations (if we were a formal group and lobbied against Senator Foo, could be hit with the law limiting "special interests," conceivably) 3.4.6. How are projects proposed and completed? - If an anarchy, how do things get done? - The way most things get done: individual actions and market decisions. 3.4.7. Future Needs for Cyberspace + Mark Pesci's ideas for VR and simulations - distributed, high bandwidth - a billion users - spatial ideas....coordinates...servers...holographic models - WWW plus rendering engine = spatial VR (Library of Congress) - "The Labyrinth" + says to avoid head-mounted displays and gloves (bad for you) + instead, "perceptual cybernetics". - phi--fecks--psi (phi is external world,Fx = fects are effectuators and sensors, psi is your internal state) 3.4.8. Privacy, Credentials without identity 3.4.9. "Cypherpunks write code" - "Cypherpunks break the laws they don't like" - "Don't get mad, get even. Write code." 3.4.10. Digital Free Markets + strong crypto changes the nature and visibility of many economic transactionst, making it very difficult for governments to interfere or even to enforce laws, contracts, etc. - thus, changes in the nature of contract enforcement + (Evidence that this is not hopeless can be found in several places: - criminal markets, where governments obviously cannot be used - international markets, a la "Law Merchant" - "uttering a check" - shopping malls in cyberspace...no identifiable national or regional jurisdiction...overlapping many borders... + caveat emptor (though rating agencies, and other filter agents, may be used by wary customers....ironically, reputation will matter even more than it now does) - no ability to repudiate a sale, to be an Indian giver - in all kinds of information.... 3.4.11. The Role of Money - in monetarizing transactions, access, remailers---digital postage 3.4.12. Reductions on taxation - offshore entities already exempt - tax havens - cyberspace localization is problematic 3.4.13. Transnationalism - rules of nations are ignored 3.4.14. Data Havens - credit, medical, legal, renter, etc. 3.4.15. MOOs, MUDs, SVRs, Habitat cyberspaces - "True Names" and "Snow Crash" - What are + Habitat....Chip and Randy - Lucasfilm, Fujitsu - started as game environment... - many-user environments - communications bandwidth is a scarce resource - object-oriented data representation + implementation platform unimportant...range of capabilities - pure text to Real ity Engines - never got as far as fully populating the reality - "detailed central planning is impossible; don't even try" - 2-D grammar for layouts + "can't trust anyone" - someone disassembled the code and found a way to make themselves invisible - ways to break the system (extra money) + future improvements - multimedia objects, customizable objects, local turfs, mulitple interfaces - "Global Cyberspace Infrastructure" (Fujitsu, FINE) + more bandwidth means more things can be done - B-ISDN will allow video on demand, VR, etc. - protocol specs, Joule (secure concurrent operating system) - intereaction spaces, topological (not spatial) + Xerox, Pavel Curtis + LambdaMOO - 1200 different users per day, 200 at a time, 5000 total users - "social virtual realities"--virtual communities - how emergent properties emerge - pseudo-spatial - rooms, audio, video, multiple screens - policing, wizards, mediation - effective telecommuting - need the richness of real world markets...people can sell to others + Is there a set of rules or basic ideas which can form the basis of a powerfully replicable system? - this would allow franchises to be disctrubed around the world - networks of servers? distinction between server and client fades... - money, commercialization? - Joule language 3.4.16. "Is personal privacy the main interest of Cypherpunks?" - Ensuring the _right_ and the _technological feasibility_ is more of the focus. This often comes up in two contexts: - 1. Charges of hypocrisy because people either use pseudonyms or, paradoxically, that they _don't_ use pseudonyms, digital signatures 3.4.17. "Shouldn't crypto be regulated?" - Many people make comparisons to the regulation of automobiles, of the radio spectrum, and even of guns. The comparison of crypto to guns is especially easy to make, and especially dangerous. - + A better comparison is "use of crypto = right to speak as you wish." - That is, we cannot demand that people speak in a language or form that is easily understandable by eavesdroppers, wiretappers, and spies. + If I choose to speak to my friends in Latvian, or in Elihiuish, or in - triple DES, that's my business. (Times of true war, as in World War - II, may be slightly different. As a libertarian, I'm not advocating - that, but I understand the idea that in times of war speaking in code + is suspect. We are not in a time of war, and haven't been.) - - Should we have "speech permits"? After all, isn't the regulation of + speech consistent with the regulation of automobiles? - - I did a satirical essay along these lines a while back. I won't - included it here, though. (My speech permit for satire expired and I + haven't had time to get it renewed.) - - In closing, the whole comparison of cryptography to armaments is - misleading. Speaking or writing in forms not readily understandable to - your enemies, your neighbors, your spouse, the cops, or your local - eavesdropper is as old as humanity. 3.4.18. Emphasize the "voluntary" nature of crypto + those that don't want privacy, can choose not to use crypto - just as they can take the locks of their doors, install wiretaps on their phones, remove their curtains so as not to interfere with peeping toms and police surveillance teams, etc. - as PRZ puts it, they can write all their letters on postcards, because they have "nothing to hide" - what we want to make sure doesn't happen is _others_ insisting that we cannot use crypto to maintain our own privacy + "But what if criminals have access to crypto and can keep secrets?" - this comes up over and over again - does this mean locks should not exist, or.....? 3.4.19. "Are most Cypherpunks anarchists?" - Many are, but probably not most. The term "anarchy" is often misunderstood. - As Perry Metzger puts it "Now, it happpens that I am an anarchist, but that isn't what most people associated with the term "cypherpunk" believe in, and it isn't fair to paint them that way -- hell, many people on this mailing list are overtly hostile to anarchism." [P.M., 1994-07-01] - comments of Sherry Mayo, others - But the libertarian streak is undeniably strong. And libertarians who think about the failure of politics and the implications of cryptgraphy generally come to the anarcho-capitalist or crypto-anarchist point of view. - In any case, the "other side" has not been very vocal in espousing a consistent ideology that combines strong crypto and things like welfare, entitlements, and high tax rates. (I am not condemning them. Most of my leftist friends turn out to believe in roughly the same things I believe in...they just attach different labels and have negative reactions to words like "capitalist.") 3.4.20. "Why is there so much ranting on the list?" - Arguments go on and on, points get made dozens of times, flaming escalates. This has gotten to be more of a problem in recent months. (Not counting the spikes when Detweiler was around.) + Several reasons: + the arguments are often matters of opinion, not fact, and hence people just keep repeating their arguments - made worse by the fact that many people are too lazy to do off-line reading, to learn about what they are expressing an opinion on - since nothing ever gets resolved, decided, vote upon, etc., the debates continue - since anyone is free to speak up at any time, some people will keep making the same points over and over again, hoping to win through repetition (I guess) + since people usually don't personally know the other members of the list, this promotes ranting (I've noticed that the people who know each other, such as the Bay Area folks, tend not to be as rude to each other...any sociologist or psychologist would know why this is so immediately). + the worst ranters tend to be the people who are most isolated from the other members of the list community; this is generally a well-known phenomenon of the Net - and is yet more reason for regional Cypherpunks groups to occasionally meet, to at least make some social and conversational connections with folks in their region. - on the other hand, rudeness is often warranted; people who assault me and otherwise plan to deprive me of my property of deserving of death, not just insults [Don't be worried, there are only a handful of people on this list I would be happy to see dead, and on none of them would I expend the $5000 it might take to buy a contract. Of course, rates could drop.] 3.4.21. The "rejectionist" stance so many Cypherpunks have - that compromise rarely helps when very basic issues are involved - the experience with the NRA trying compromise, only to find ever-more-repressive laws passed - the debacle with the EFF and their "EFF Digital Telephony Bill" ("We couldn't have put this bill together without your help") shows the corruption of power; I'm ashamed to have ever been a member of the EFF, and will of course not be renewing my membership. - I have jokingly suggested we need a "Popular Front for the Liberation of Crypto," by analogy with the PFLP. 3.4.22. "Is the Cypherpunks group an illegal or seditious organization?" - Well, there are those "Cypherpunk Criminal" t-shirts a lot of us have... - Depends on what country you're in. - Probably in a couple of dozen countries, membership would be frowned on - the material may be illegal in other countries - and many of us advocate things like using strong crypto to avoid and evade tzxes, to bypass laws we dislike, etc.
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