Censorpunks Demand Action Against "D. Lewdud"

Timothy C. May tcmay at netcom.com
Sat Feb 27 21:10:31 PST 1993

The "Censorpunks" now demand that action be taken against the rantings of
one "D. Lewdud," an apparent newcomer to this list! His calls for complete
anonymity and even anarchy are dangerous and impermissable. He writes:

>by D. Lewdud
>I want net anonymity to be completely unrestrained, and anybody who
>thinks otherwise is an unAmerican communist censor sleazebag Puritan
>prude spy who should be ruthlessly exposed and stoned for the sheer
>criminality of their ideas. 

(rest of this excellent, er, I mean "unacceptable," posting elided)

Censorpunks, we cannot allow garbage like this to pollute our net! There
ought to be a law!


But seriously, Lance Detweiler does raise some serious points. And I hope
neither Lance, nor George Gleason, nor anyone else was too offended by my
satire about censorship. I felt John Gilmore and others had made the
"slippery slope" arguments well enough, and I would add my comments in the
form of a satire (as I like to do...you ought to see some of my spoofs over
on the Extropians list!).

A few comments on Lance's points:

Nobody has ever said the transition to crypto anarchy will be pleasant
(remind me sometime to discuss how easy assassinations for pay will become,
once untraceable and robust digital cash becomes possible--it'll curl your

The key is that it's essentially unstoppable by simple legalistic means.
New kinds of solutions, like "positive reputations," will have to evolve.
(In this context, a positive reputation system means people only accept
e-mail from names or digital pseudonyms they know or have reason to be
interested in.)

The stratagem of controlling flaky, bad, or illegal posts by cooperation of
the remailers will not really work, as new digital pseudonyms will be
easily generated (and only the last remailer, the one sending it to a pool
or a newsgroup, has any real hope of "controlling" the content by reading
the plaintext). 

At the risk of sounding like another satire, I could point to the obvious
problems we have in free and open societies with _verbal_ abuse, threats,
blackmail, lies, propaganda, and other unsavory behavior. I could then
suggest that controls on free speech are needed (I can expect someone to
chime in here with the chestnut about how you can't shout "Fire!" in a
crowded theater...the Supreme Court justice who coined this later said he
regretted ever doing so, as every censor used it to justify controls on

The price paid to reduce these nuisances is too high.

By the way, I have some scenarios for how crypto anarchy may be fought, how
it may fight back, what law enforcement may do, etc. These are from a 2.2
MB file for my still-unfinished novel on these topics. The relevant
sections on crypto and crypto anarchy are about 200K. They're mostly in
"MORE" format (an outliner for the Mac), and conversion to ASCII tends to
produce some ugly line indentation problems (the subsections indent OK, but
the following lines wrap back to the left margin). Still, perhaps I'll try
to convert them into readable essays for this list, if there's any

-Tim May

Timothy C. May               | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay at netcom.com        | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409               | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA       | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: MailSafe and PGP available.

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