Voluntary Governments?

Jason W Solinsky solman at MIT.EDU
Sun Aug 21 01:48:55 PDT 1994

This started out as a reply to me when I last had time to go through most
of the posts here, So I'll try to answer it.

> From: Hal
> What does it mean to speak of a government in cyberspace?  It is the 
> government in physical space I fear.  Its agents carry physical guns 
> which shoot real bullets.
> ................................................................
> Good point.
> What does it mean to speak of governance (or 'govenment') at all?
> Questions I would seek to have the answers to, in making decisions 
> about government per se:
> .  Who or what is to be governed?

People, or more precisely entities that control private keys.

> .  What is inimical/destructive and to be regulated/prevented,
>     or what is sacred which is to be upheld?

[I give two examples out of the infinitely large set of possibilities,
intellectual property rights and privacy]

It depends on the government. You could set up a government to monitor
intellectual property rights. You give government a deposit of the
maximum you can be fined under its laws. The companies that are also
"citizens" of that government then give you large (if not infinite)
discouts. In exchange you agree not to violate their intellectual
property rights (A term I purposefully leave open to definition as
different governments might make different choices).

Another government might protect privacy. If my infinitely buggy software
were working, corporations could examine the demographics of their customers
or the participating portion of the internet as a whole (while paying the
people involved a tiny fee of course). I've used random data perturbation
techniques to set things up so that on searches that generate with
one-dimensional results from multi-dimensional selection fields:

A) It is impossible for the searcher to figure out the specific
   characteristics of any individual.

B) The searchers results are not skewed in any way.

But for multidimensional results, the technique I am using breaks down.
Unless there is another way (There may well be), either A or B must be
violated. It seems to me that the solution is a government to which the
searchers and "data points :)" belong. B would be maintained intact but
A would be violated. The "data points" would have their privacy protected
by a system of fines imposed by the government.

Both of these examples are similar in that they are coercive. If you want
to conduct business with the governments citizens you have to obey all the
laws. But no force is involved. The will of the government is effected
entirely by economics. 

> .  Who is to do all the work of preventing or upholding
>    (how do they qualify for the job)?

They can be appointed, self appointed, or elected. The person who holds the
job will atempt to enforce his laws as thoroughly as possible, thus ensuring
the citizens  the security that they want (and will pay for).

> .  What is to be done about non-conformists to the rules
>    (without contradicting the rules?)

They are fined. If this doesn't work their communication priveliges are
curtailed and if this doesn't work they are banished. As I have noted
before, in an information economy this is an extreme punishment.

Jason W. Solinsky

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