macorp!moonlight!ken at uu4.psi.com
Tue Oct 4 17:28:25 PDT 1994
Recently, I wrote about forging mail and introduced the idea of
honor in cyberspace:
>I've been vaguely following the thread, which seems to be attempting to
>close a loophole in port 25. Assuming you succeeded, wouldn't a clever
>demon hacker simply find another way to forge messages? I have seen that
>any system a human can devise, another human can eventually break. This
>leads me to believe that eventually we will have to begin acting on our
>honor, and provide severe consequences for dishonorable behavior. I
>haven't finished working out what "honor" means in this social context.
to which Jim McCoy responded:
>Like what? When identity is "weak" then honor has no meaning...
That sounded reasonable to me until Crim Tideson asked:
>I've created a pseudonym and a PGP key pair for that pseudonym. ...
>I have no intention of revealing who "me" actually is. ...
>I want to make and keep a reputation....
So honor may after all have meaning in cyberspace, as some code of
behavior that preserves one's "reputation".
James A. Donald, whose thinking I tend to respect, points out that,
>Ken Landaiche writes
>> I have seen that
>> any system a human can devise, another human can eventually break.
>False. Most cryptographic algorithms these days are secure.
I'm glad to take your word on this. But I still think that the
cryptographic system can be broken: subversion, torture, and "truth
serums" come to mind. If someone strong enough wants your secret
badly enough, they can probably get it, as long as at least one
keeper of the secret is alive. This argument relies on one's
adversary having no scruples. Since, as I mentioned before, I have
little knowledge of the mathematics of cryptography, but still share
the cypherpunks' interest in liberty, I'm focusing my efforts on the
social end of the solution. As I said:
> leads me to believe that eventually we will have to begin acting on our
to which JAD responded:
>Walking through a security hole on a computer is not necessarily
>dishonorable, though many dishonorable things can be done once
>you are through that hole.
What do you mean by "dishonorable"? Is walking through a security
hole like walking through a stranger's insecure door? The latter is
an invasion of privacy to me, something I would consider damaging
to me and would label a "dishonorable" act.
>> and provide severe consequences for dishonorable behavior.
>If "we" provide "sever consequences" then we are not relying
>on honor, but on coercion.
Consider reputation systems, kill files, and the famous "If no one
reads your posts, you're dead." Death is a pretty severe consequence,
and one that many people admit to imposing.
For target practice, I suggest that at the most basic level, net
entities will have "honor" or a good reputation who do the following:
1. Tell the truth.
2. Keep their agreements.
3. Do not injure their neighbors.
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