forged cancels (Re: Entrust Technologies's Solo - free

Anonymous nobody at REPLAY.COM
Fri Aug 8 05:44:10 PDT 1997

> > How about if it is an employee of yours, using your computer
> > equipment, that sent the message, in explict contradition to your
> > companies stated policy?
> Use a retraction server (David's project)

I wonder if there is a problem of inconsistent levels in this debate...

At one level, many people on this list are in favour of infrastructure
such as Usenet and the Web carrying all information without filtering with
respect to content, to avoid censorship, oppression and so on.

At another level, almost everybody has personal preferences as to what
they consider worthwhile information, what they want to read, what they
want their children/employees to read, and what they want their
privately-owned hardware to be used to carry.

At the content-free level, cancels are information just like anything
else, merely a stream of octets.  By definition, they _can't_ be morally
wrong at that amoral level where we talk only about whether
store-and-forward works properly or not.  Cancels, "forged" or otherwise
are just a tool, just bytes.

Within a particular value system, you might agree or disagree with a
particular cancel, or with the idea in general.  It's easy to configure a
news server or reader to conform to your preferences, just people who hate
spam are free to ignore it.  At this level, you can make judgements as to
which uses of that tool are justifiable.  (Cancels by sysadmins,
anti-spammers, spammers, system owners, governments, parents, copyright
lawyers or nobody at all.)


  "I'm sorry but I just don't consider 'because he's a pedophile' to be a
   convincing argument."

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