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Re: Blocking child pornography exits

On Sunday 22 July 2007 05:58:23 Ron Wireman wrote:
> Unfortunately, this 'separation of concerns' you're a proponent of doesn't
> work in the real world.  In the same way that you can't insert a piece of
> metal into someone with a high calibre rifle without grievously injuring
> then, you can't run a completely open anonymous router network without
> being a conduit for child abuse and other evils.  For any action, there may
> be many possible results, and it seems to me that if one of the evils is
> overwhelming, it is artificially hedging the issue to say you have no
> responsibility for it.  If tor can't be designed in a way that strongly
> discourages or prevents people from using it for evil, it shouldn't exist.

To pick up on your analogy, what you are asking for here is a gun that cannot 
shoot innocent people. And if you can't make a gun that only kills people who 
deserve it then guns shouldn't exist.

We all know that weapons (and you can include Tor and the cryptography that 
underlies Tor in that category) can be used for evil ends [1]. They provide 
security and can guarantee freedom, but some asshole is always going to use 
them to do something horrible and make us wonder why we ever invented them in 
the first place.

But a little reflection makes us realize that assholes and murder existed long 
before the first high calibre rifle, and in fact the high calibre rifle gives 
us all a better chance of defeating the assholes in the long run, 
particularly if they're bigger than us and trying to get into our house. 

Child pornographers and their ilk remind us that privacy, like true freedom of 
speech, is not an unmitigated blessing but a necessary evil. A bank can 
secure your bill payment from prying eyes with SSL, so a criminal can do the 
same with his obsene images. No one is suggesting that SSL develop obscene 
image filters. The assholes can use SSL/PGP/Tor as much as we do but because 
these tools protect our privacy we  *all* can use them to protect ourselves 
from even bigger assholes than child pornographers.

[1] Most cryptography is classified as a munition in the US and subject to the 
same  export controls.


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