Censorship: Linus Torvalds Comes Out Blatant Censor's Advocate, Anti Privacy/Anonymity

Steve Kinney admin at pilobilus.net
Sat Apr 6 20:02:36 PDT 2019

On 4/6/19 5:32 AM, grarpamp wrote:
> https://www.linuxjournal.com/content/25-years-later-interview-linus-torvalds
> "Social Media... Add in anonymity, and it's just disgusting. When you
> don't even put your real name on your garbage (or the garbage you
> share or like), it really doesn't help. I'm actually one of those
> people who thinks that anonymity is overrated. Some people confuse
> privacy and anonymity and think they go hand in hand, and that
> protecting privacy means that you need to protect anonymity. I think
> that's wrong. Anonymity is important if you're a whistle-blower, but
> if you cannot prove your identity, your crazy rant on some
> social-media platform shouldn't be visible, and you shouldn't be able
> to share it or like it."

The above sounds like a comparison between The Facebook (makes a token
effort to tie accounts to users' True Names), and 4chan (makes a token
effort to disconnect users from their True Names).  That strikes me as a
forced context creating forced either/or alternatives.  We need a middle
ground between True Names Only and Anonymous FTW.  We already have a
working example of that middle ground:  The i2p network.

i2p users host various resources including websites, torrent trackers,
and community forums on their own hardware, and access the resources
etc. of their choice either anonymously, or pseudonymously via
user-chosen screen names.  i2p users may disclose their True Names at
will, but by default the identity and location of i2p users can not be
determined without State level infrastructure access and surveillance
resources.  An i2p user's actual True Name is his or her i2p router ID,
which by design has no connection with any geographic location or birth

Result?  A more intelligent, better behaved version of the Internet,
with prevailing attitudes reminiscent of the public Internet shortly
before AOL popped up and saturation bombed us with weaponized morons,
followed by MegaCorporations looking to manipulate, control and extract
capital from the said morons.  (Younger folks:  Look up "Eternal
September" for the sad true story.)

I can not completely attribute the modest i2p success story to the
prevalence of users known by pseudonyms only.  To access i2p one has to
install and configure software that will not work unless one cam read
and apply howto docs and such; this screens out the less-bright 80% of
potential users right up front.  Size also matters:  The smaller the
network, the more good or bad behavior stands out, and the larger the
benefits of presenting as a good (in the sense of useful) person.  At
present, i2p has about 60k users according to stats.i2p.

But I do not discount the prevalence of stable pseudo-identities as the
primary factor affecting the quality of content and discourse in i2p
space; without this factor, concerns for reputation would have no
impact.  Compared to the great unwashed publick visible on the open
Internet under their own names, i2p participants seem remarkably polite,
intelligent and responsible.  Go figure.

A user's i2p persona can take any form, and may include the content of
websites that live on their creators' own hardware, accessible only via
the i2p router network.  It takes about a day for anyone who knows HTML
to build a website in i2p space; just turn on the server included in the
router package and populate the relevant local directories with content.

Pseudonyms that become visible in i2p space through participation over
time become "persons" in a community, defined by their in-network
behavior, building relationships and reputations based on their
contributions.  The folks who wear those masks mostly take good care of
them, because the trust and cooperation of other users in the community
has value:  When a well respected i2p user asks for something, other
users who have benefited from that user's contributions, advice, example
etc. make a real effort to come through, because that's what humans do.
Smart ones, anyway.


Postscript:  Above I mentioned True Names, from the Vernor Vinge novella
of that name.  Published in 1981, True Names introduced the term
'cyberspace' and several key concepts relevant to Cypherpunk interests.
 If you ain't seen it, here's a copy somebody else hosted so I don't
have to:  http://www.scotswolf.com/TRUENAMES.pdf

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 490 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <https://lists.cpunks.org/pipermail/cypherpunks/attachments/20190406/d3088cb8/attachment-0002.sig>

More information about the cypherpunks mailing list