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[ NNSquad ] Re: Ex-AOL CEO Calls for Internet Censorship -- Demonstrates His *Utter* Cluelessness
Authentication: Authentication is the process of determining whether someone or something is, in fact, who or what it is declared to be. (http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid14_gci211621,00.html ). Vouch: to give a guarantee : become surety (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary-tb/vouch?show=0&t=1287944627) Of course your meaning can vary but it's useful to distinguish between saying something is authentic and taking responsibility. I've come to accept that I can't send mail to any arbitrary system because the default assumption is that, barring evidence to the contrary, I'm a spammer. I use a third party (DynDNS) to vouch for me in taking responsibility for the claim that I am not a spammer. It doesn't matter who I am, just that I am not a spammer. Authentication doesn't scale for email. This is an important distinction because it's about my behavior and not some assumed intrinsic property associated with me as a given person. The desire for authentication is problematic because it assumes that there is an intrinsic good or bad that is associated with me. Some can argue that knowing who I am force me to take responsibility for what I do but doesn't really help much because it's about the agent not the behavior. I might be a nice guy but do something stupid. (Or vice versa) Vouching is also far more flexible. We can choose various mechanisms for vouching for the behavior and possibly results. Our language tends to blur these distinctions but when we are discussing policy issues we need to take care to communicate by being careful in our use of words and how others might interpret them. Vouching (and its cousin, verification) allows for anonymity and persona. It allows for growth and evolution of ideas as well as people. -----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Barry Gold Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2010 10:22 To: email@example.com Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Ex-AOL CEO Calls for Internet Censorship -- Demonstrates His *Utter* Cluelessness Lauren Weinstein wrote: > Ex-AOL CEO Calls for Internet Censorship -- Demonstrates His *Utter* Cluelessness > > http://bit.ly/bSulVb (Barry Schuler's Synapsis) > > Barry Schuler loudly proclaims: > > "WikiLeaks is in the news this week and I can assure you this isn't > a 36 hour news story. This is a big deal and the circumstances > around WikiLeaks might mark be the beginning of the end of the > Internet as we know it." > I think we can learn something from what's going on in China: it _is_ possible to censor the Internet, in the sense that you can block the casual and/or clueless from the sites you don't like. The more dedicated information seekers (and those who already understand How Things Work) will simply find a way around your blocks. What this means for sites like Wikileaks: The government may -- at considerable cost in both money and our freedoms -- be able to prevent information from getting out to the general public, but those who really want it will still get it. As a consequence, using "SECRET" or "TOP SECRET" to keep embarrassing information private may work (for a while). But the "clueful" will almost certainly include enemy spies, so it will be completely useless for keeping secrets from other countries. This is, of course, completely backward from the supposed purpose of our Classification system. It won't stop the bureaucrats from trying. Also, Schuler _does have a point: one of the side-effects of "Web 2.0" (the rise of user-generated content) is that many of our traditional social controls have broken down. Privacy? Forget about it -- anything you let anybody else know about may end up on the internet. Double that if you let somebody take photographs or recordings, but even casual conversations can be recalled, summarized (accurately or in-) and posted. And once out there, there is no recalling it. What he calls Journalistic Integrity: not precisely the right word, but it's true that in the days when it cost money to distribute information, reporters and editors usually a) tried to fact-check things before publishing them b) when something was nominally classified or simply private, editors would stop and think, "is this important enough to justify printing it and letting everybody and his k/i/d/ b/r/o/t/h/e/r/ spy know about it?" Similarly, we are subjected to a constant barrage of advertising, scams of various sorts, viri and other malware. Some newsgroups have become completly useless due to spam. If Vint Cerf and Jon Postel had seen this coming, I wonder if they would have designed more authentication into the Internet. And many sites _are_ rather cavalier with what should be private information. Facebook is a particularly notable bad actor, but it's not the only one or the worst one -- just the biggest.