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Re: [tor-talk] Iran cracks down on web dissident technology

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 11:23 AM, Joe Btfsplk <joebtfsplk@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> Why would any govt create something their enemies can easily use against
> them, then continue funding it once they know it helps the enemy, if a govt
> has absolutely no control over it? ÂIt's that simple. ÂIt would seem a very
> bad idea. ÂStop looking at it from a conspiracy standpoint & consider it as
> a common sense question.

I hesitated in responding because it's just so easy to run of an infinite
series of explanations. While any particular reason might not actually
be valid, there are enough plausible ones that your argument of
inconceivability can not be support.


Because governments are not monolithic entities, because people don't have
perfect foresight, because the benefit to your interests can outweigh
the benefit against your interests, and communications technology arguably
disproportionally benefits larger groups.

Interests outweighed:  Funding something like TOR may be the most cost
effective way to achieve a particular end. In particular, a US government
only anonymity network would likely not be very useful ("I don't know who
this is, but it's a fed").  Regardless of it helping the enemy too, it
can still be a net win to support.

Not monolithic entities:  If you have an organizational unit charged with
accomplishing X they will work to accomplish X. Sometimes they may work
so hard at it that stop another unit from accomplishing Y, even if Y was
more important to the overall mission.  This happens frequently in
all kinds of large organizations.

No perfect foresight:  It's not always obvious to everyone that some move
may turn net negative in the future. E.g. the US supporting the Taliban.

Larger groups:  If just you and I want to communicate with secrecy we
can do so without something like TORâ we can send coded messages hidden
in innocuous usenet posts or Wikipedia articles. The value of a network
is related more to the square of its communicating members. If you're the
bigger party it can help you more than it helps your smaller enemies.
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