Governments Covertly Fund Internet Freedom Activists
rysiek at hackerspace.pl
Sat Mar 7 14:18:31 PST 2015
Dnia wtorek, 3 marca 2015 07:59:07 piszesz:
> On Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:45:40 -0800, rysiek <rysiek at hackerspace.pl> wrote:
> > I cordially invite you to provide sufficient funding to all the
> > freedom/privacy/human rights related initiatives that are
> > government-funded
> > today.
> I'm not sure that cordially inviting an individual to single handedly
> replace the 'funding' provided by a violent organized criminal
> organization that can extract funds from entire populations under the
> threat of violence, and also 'print' their own goddamned money is really a
> solid counter argument.
Well, provide any funds, at all, at least, then.
> Is the funding of FLOSS privacy enabling software a problem? Yes.
Glad we can agree here.
> Does it therefore follow that lining up at the government's stolen money
> slop trough until another solution can be devised is ever going to be a
> good idea in the long run? I would argue 'No'.
I would argue "that's not an easy answer". Depends on many variables, and
boils down to: are we hacking the system to have our way, or are we being co-
opted by the system. It's never black or white, so it depends on a given
> Look at the history and deviousness of government infiltration of 60's
> counterculture groups that were deemed a threat to state power. Timothy
> Leary an FBI snitch . Richard Aoki, the man who helped arm the Black
> Panthers, an FBI snitch. .
And yet he helped arm the Black Panthers.
> Is it not reasonable to assume that these FLOSS privacy software projects
> represent a direct threat to state power? Is it not reasonable to assume
> that the state is therefore going to try and co-opt them?
> Say by creating financial dependence via a seductive flow of stolen money,
> among other tactics?
Of course. Does it follow that the state necessarily will succeed in co-opting
such projects? I would argue "no". The outcome is not so clear, and I do find
the fact that these projects *are* funded and can continue to deliver the
great tools they do deliver a rather positive one.
Until I see evidence of co-option (like backdoors in code or binaries, etc), I
will continue to be cautiously optimistic here.
> Look at this recent Pando.com expose of the BBG (Broadcasting Board of
> Governers) which recently started pouring money into these privacy
> projects via the Open Technology Fund. . These people are not on our
> Also, regarding funding as a method of control. What did the U.S. federal
> government do when certain states were balked at raising the drinking age
> to 21? They threatened to cut their federal highway funds. Every state
> ended up caving to this demand. That's just one high profile example.
The question is not if the state can use such a tactic, but if those projects
will bow down to such a tactic. Again, until I see such a situation, I will
consider such funding an option, as long as there are no otehr options.
I prefer good FLOSS that is funded by the state money than no FLOSS at all.
> It's simply disheartening to see how gleefully some privacy activists
> accept the tainted govt blood money and then look hard the other way.
I'm sure you, my friend, have a steady cashflow that is in no way connected to
blood money, and I congratulate you on that. Not all of us are so fortunate.
As long as these privacy activists do not bow down and bend over -- and I have
not seen evidence of that as far as several projects discussed on this list
are concerned -- I don't see a huge problem.
It *would* be better to have them funded in some other way, but it's still
better to have them funded at all.
> Never mind that the money was obtained by putting a metaphorical gun to
> the head of every person it was taken from. Never mind what the ulterior
> motives are of the organizations which are lavishing this stolen money
> upon the software privacy projects. Never mind the dependence this is
> going to create and the subsequent influence and control this is going to
> The means *are* the ends. And when the means are corrupted, so are the
Cool. So let me ask you this: if you can either have (in large part) gov't-
funded FLOSS privacy-protecting projects, or next to none of such projects,
what do you choose?
Michał "rysiek" Woźniak
Zmieniam klucz GPG :: http://rys.io/pl/147
GPG Key Transition :: http://rys.io/en/147
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