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Re: [freehaven-dev] about that 'concensus' thing...

On Sun, 23 Apr 2000, Roger R Dingledine wrote:

> Indeed, there are a number of other deeper motivations for the deployment
> of a service like Free Haven. Not only do we hope to assist those like
> Helsingius and Johansen, but we have the loftier goals of pushing the
> world a few more steps in the direction of free and open information and
> communication.

The biggest problem I have with this paragraph is that it takes as
self-evident that "free and open information and communication" is a
"loftier goal." Then what is meant by "free and open information and
communication" has to be inferred from the examples given. I can agree
violently with the sentiment, but at this point it's not clear to what
exactly I'm agreeing. 

That's my overall impression -- it sounds neat, but it has loose ends
which I would like to see tied up. I'm not sure I can say "that's OK,
sure, yep, that's what I think" at this point.

I also don't see an explanation of the "moral but illegal" class of
information here. I thought that was what Free Haven was principally aimed
at -- protecting stuff which "should" be available, but for whatever
reason isn't legal in some country. 

It might be better to give the examples first, along the lines of "these
are also some things we find disturbing." Then end with a transition into
some material on what exactly is meant by "free and open information."

Including an exposition of points like these :

	* Do we accept the concept of "legal liability" ?
		- if we don't, why not? 	
		- if we don't in some special cases, what are those
		special cases? 

		- if we do in general, then when does it 
		not apply online ?
		- if we do accept it, why isn't AOL liable
		for hosting mp3s of the Backstreet Boys?
		or other "bad content" ? 

			- because intellectual property is not real
			property? (c.f. the end of freehaven.tex) 
			- because current technical means to prevent
			AOL hosting Backstreet Boys are too intrusive?
			(i.e. we have a problem with scanning hosted 

			- because the social consequences of AOL being
			liable are too great? (i.e. chilling of free
			speech b/c fear of lawsuits)

			- because AOL is simply acting as a "common
			carrier" ?

	* What's our attitude towards law?

		- I take it that none of us are big fans of the 
		theory that "Everyone gets together and has a say in
		making the rules, and then we must all live by them!"
		At least, not the way that people try to apply that
		theory to justify current laws. 

		- Is our objection that some people do not have a say
		in making the laws, and are therefore entitled to 
		taking back power via technical means?

			- this seems implied by referring to BroncBuster's
			defacing as a "revolutionary act." 
		- Is our objection that some laws are overridden by 
		moral considerations, and so Free Haven acts as a 
		way to assert morals over unjust law?
			- Do we make any pretensions that this morality
			is universal? or are we OK with saying 
			"this is what we think, so we're fighting for it,
			and if you don't agree...eit!" 
		(Seph : is that how you spell "eit" ? :)
			without trying to claim that this is the "best" 
			way of doing things? 
>  In Germany, Internet Service Providers such as AOL are
> legally liable for the content that passes across their systems{\footnote                                              
>  {\tt http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/review/crh053.htm}}.

I think the idea of "legally liable = unjust" is suggested by
this example and phrasing, and that needs clarification. I don't like this
law, but there are lots of different reasons to object to it. 

> Recent British legislation{\footnote {\tt foo}} makes citizens
> liable for encrypted documents that they're holding, even if
> they don't possess the ability to read these documents. 

Did this pass yet? 

I think this needs to stress the "even if they don't posess the ability to
read these documents." Simply making citizens "liable" for _their own_
encrypted documents does not seem so bad (assuming you believe in legal
liability). You are already subject to contempt of court if you don't
honor a subpoena...

The special horror of this bill is that the only way you can defend
yourself against the charge of "failing to comply with a warrant" is by
showing that you probably forgot your key...there's huge danger for 
selective prosecution here. 

Here's the text of the bill :

Section 49 is the juicy one. At first it looks reasonable : A defence in
court against the crime of failing to comply with a warrant asking for
your key will be showing that you didn't have the key. Then you realize 
what it means to show that you "don't have your key"...

> Although
> revolutionary actions like BroncBuster's defacing{\footnote {\tt
> http://singapore.cnet.com/Briefs/Dispatches/China/990118/ss01.html}}
> of the website of the China Society for Human Rights Studies (an
> organization backed by the Chinese government) are centered around the
> Internet, 

Free Haven doesn't seem to do anything one way or the other for this.
You seem to have just imported an entire doctrine of "the ends justify the
means" by referring to BroncBuster's defacement as a "revolutionary
action." That, plus a notion that the disenfranchised have a natural right
to take back power by force.

Does the same doctrine apply to the use of Free Haven ?
If so, then let's not be shy. 

> there are a wide range of activist events which are entirely
> separate from the Internet, such as the recent protests{\footnote {\tt
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/feed/a29574-2000jan26.htm}}
> in Seattle and Washington DC against global capitalism and corporate
> oppression. 

If they're entirely separate from the Internet, how does Free Haven help? 

I think the recent Boston Phoenix (the one with the "I went to jail"
cover) had a note on how the protestors used the Internet to organize.
Maybe an approach here is to look at how anon remailers are or could be
used for organizing. Then see how Free Haven fits in. Do we know any 
community action / community organizer people whom we could talk to? 

> By providing tools for organizations fighting for more
> rights of individuals rather than nations or corporations, the Free Haven
> Project hopes to help pave the way to a modern society where freedom of
> speech and freedom of information are integral parts of everyday life.

I guess I'm too conservative, but the theme of corporate oppression
doesn't ring as strongly for me as state incursions on liberties. That
discussion, however, strikes me as *peripheral* to why we might want Free
Haven -- it doesn't much matter *who* wants to come after you, just that
they have some nasty power over you.

Because of that, I'm a little hesitant about the last part of the
paragraph, which seems to tie Free Haven too closely to an
anarcho-communist ethic. I think that these grounds aren't strictly
necessary to justify free speech, and we might be better served by making
the point that "free speech is Good" first. Then showing an application of
this to WTO protestors and the like. 

Other than that, sounds good. 

P.S. Everyone remember to bring pens today!