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Re: Hello directly from Jimbo at Wikipedia

On Fri, 30 Sep 2005 15:25:57 -0400, Jeffrey F. Bloss wrote:
> > So the _degree_ of trust we need is actually quite small.  It isn't "We
> > certify this person to be a certain user, guaranteed, the same as ever".
> I just can't get over having a problem with that. If you're "isolating" 
> someone, even an anonymous entity, that entity becomes recognizable rather 
> that part of a indistinguishable whole. It just rubs my fur the wrong way. 
> Might be unfounded paranoia, might not...
No, no.  You're entirely correct.  And that was my point.

The recognizable entity is not an anonymous entity.

> I firmly believe it might be better to stay away from a classical nym solution 
> if possible. In the real world, our Chinese dissident might find themselves 
> in deep poo for holding the nym keys, while the ephemeral nature of something 
> like self-minted digital cash might shield them to some degree.

The one thing that's been made clear here is that the nym solution
should be implemented apart from Tor.  As someone posted, those who
adopt this solution would have to accept the implications.

And those implications probably mean this solution is inadequate for
the Chinese dissident.

But as far as Wikipedia is concerned, this apparently doesn't matter.
They don't want first person accounts anyway.  They want *verified*

I'm thinking that limits the value of Wikipedia as an outlet for a
dissident.  While I tremble at the thought of restricting *any* outlet
for dissidents, I'm also inclined to think that Wikipedia would be
correct to limit this sort of information.  Wikipedia is there for a
specific purpose, and I don't really see that purpose as all that
compatible with being an outlet for dissent.

But this leads us to a slippery slope for which I have no answer.  For
in the United States, the current administration has made a
significant effort to stifle dissent.  The Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame
case is perhaps the most visible example of this.  At the moment it
appears likely that the rabid right is in serious trouble; we may be
safe for now.  But even as of a month ago, there was a considerable
amount of verifiable information--which I would venture to say was
certainly suitable for Wikipedia--that the administration simply
ignored.  Given the Patriot Act, it is not such a large leap that the
next time something like this happens, the administration in power
will be more likely to suppress information.

And the nym solution--given "sneak and peak" searches--will be just as
inadequate here as it would be in China.

I fear this invites a far wider discussion than the one we have
already had.  For there are large problems which the current Internet
architecture clearly fails to adequately address--with or without Tor.
Whether you're talking about vandalizing Wikipedia content or spam or
phishing or any of a number of other kinds of abuse.

This discussion has highlighted that anonymity poses a problem.  Most
of us are concerned with preserving it, and for good reason.  And what
is clear is that we need a solution far broader than Tor.

I wish I had some ideas for this solution.  I don't.

David Benfell, LCP
Resume available at http://www.parts-unknown.org/