[cryptography] Interesting Webcrypto question
James A. Donald
jamesd at echeque.com
Sun Mar 3 23:33:59 EST 2013
On 2013-03-04 8:10 AM, Arshad Noor wrote:
> I also agree that all this seems irrelevant considering that everyone
> has access to strong crypto in one form or another; but, even a stupid
> law is still the law.
Much though we long for the glory days when cypherpunks actually were a
persecuted minority engaged in genuine civil disobedience, the
government is not interested in supplying us with drama.
Laws ceased to matter about a decade or so ago, having lost any
relationship to what is likely to result in punishment. What was done
to the constitution, has now been done to law, and is in turn being done
Laws are increasingly idiotic, because no one cares what they say, hence
the famous proclamation that we had to pass Obamacare to find out what
it was. (And we still do not know what it is)
The US government has lost interest in restricting strong crypto, in
part because everyone is reporting their most secret activities to
google, in part because everyone relies on PKI, which is no obstacle to
the US government, but mostly because that horse has bolted, it is a bit
late to lock the stable door, and everyone knows it.
It does not matter what the law says, it matters what the US Government
cares about. And the US government does not care about strong crypto
Now bitcoin, that could well see some drama, especially when the US
starts actively resisting the decline of its role as the supplier of the
world's currency, but right now the potential for drama is limited even
there, because our rulers cannot seem to imagine loss of faith in the US
dollar. As yet they only care about bitcoin to the extent that it is a
way of laundering US dollars, not as a competitor to US dollars.
There are two ways you can get heroic and dramatic civil disobedience.
One is, like Swartz, to demand what the government is about to give
anyway, which is apt to be good for one's career, if you refrain from
killing yourself for no sane reason. The other is to provide what
seriously pisses the government off, like Julian Assange did, which is
not so good for one's career.
Hey, Julian Assange, how do you feel about feminism these days? Not
quite so keen on it as you used to be? "No" means "no" even when it
follows sex by thirty six hours.
The state department is the in large part the headquarters of the
official international left. Julian Assange supplied a whole pile of
telegrams that made the state department, and official leftism, look
extremely bad, revealed international leftists as muppets of the state
department, as they used to be puppets of Stalin. An ample supply of
entirely genuine heroic and dramatic disobedience ensued, probably a
great deal more than Julian Assange was expecting.
Way to Go Assange! I am cheering Assange as much as I am pissing on
Swartz, though I doubt Assange realized just how genuine his civil
disobedience was going to be. He never intended to be the actually
genuine hero, though he is now very reluctantly rising to the occasion.
However, we cannot commit strong crypto civil disobedience, because
everyone know the government does not care, and bitcoin is not /yet/
civil disobedience, and when it becomes civil disobedience, it will be a
whole lot safer committing that disobedience through a non US identity
in a non US location. When the US government gets the hots to shut down
bitcoin, it is going to be the way they went after Assange, not the way
they went after Swartz.
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