[ /cjdns/cjd-transcript ]

Unaccountable Authority

I've seen this video before, and maybe you have too. If you have not, I encourage you to watch it.

That being said, I'm a huge fan of text. I like to be able to stare at a word and consider its significance. Video can be a lot to take in. Maybe someone else has already done this, but I never saw it, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to watch the video, and transcribe cjd's speech.

The full text is below. There may be some errors, but if so, they are minor.

Read. Enjoy. Consider carefully.

Futures and Scalability of Crypto Routing

feat. i2p, GNUnet, Torservers, secushare, cjdns, maybe ZeroMQ & a special talk by infinity0.

How can onion routing become a basic function of the internet? Why is it so hard to do a distributed Twitter so that it actually works? What else is new in cryptographic routing?

SAT 2013-12-28 15:30 Hall E

I want to start off and just say a few things. I'm very optimistic, because there's so much desire out here, and out in this group, and the C3, and in the hacker community in general to make a better world.

There's so many smart people in here who are working for solutions, and I think that things are just going to have to get better, but what I'm hearing that troubles me is solutions that are coming from the community, and they seem to reflect this dark vibe from what I'll call the unaccountable authority. I hear people getting excited about freedom, and individuality, and anonymity, but why? Surely under the tyranny of the anaccountable authority we have to be able to hide. But are we going to... I'm worried, are we defining ourselves through the looking glass of a common enemy?

When I look at these values, the freedom, the individuality, the anonymity, these things that are to a certain extent encoded in Tor, and to a much greater extent in things like Bitcoin, these are paradoxically the values that the unaccountable authority relies on. The individualism that forces us into our apartments and behind our televisions and into the factories and offices where we're used, and the anonymity which isolates us and makes us not know our neighbours and makes us into automatons and servants of the state. The freedom, the lack of community coherence which empowers the criminal class, this phenomenally small group of people who do these terrible, terrible things, and make us run begging to the unaccountable authority for protection.

This thought process began with a future projection. Right now, we are moving toward a point where we are going to have entirely anonymous money. Are we going to be prepared for this? How are we going to answer the blackmail markets? How are we going to answer anonymous extortion? What about kidnap and ransom, where GPS coordinates of the victim, bound and gagged, are sold to the highest bidder?

What about assassination markets, the dark sites where the powerful come to silence the weak? Either by overt force, or by just slowly inching up the bounty on the big death board.

You may say: "Oh, not my problem, I just build the tools", but it is your problem, and it's my problem, and it's my Grandma's problem, and the old man on the metro and the young couple in the park. It's everybody's problem, and those people out there, the non-technical people who don't understand crypto and onion routing and these things: they're going to demand solutions. And these are solutions that some ambitious politician is going to be only too happy to provide. Will it be internet user licences, or computer registration, or software development licences. I'm sure that the major software and network companies will be only too pleased to see an effective end to competition. and we can already see telltale signs of this infrastructure emerging in the Intel UEFI secure boot, and the microsoft developer certificates.

These things won't happen though, because most people are good, right? But without responsibility, without having responsibility for one's actions, it only takes one person. It's a good thing the governments never use false flag attacks to expand their power, right?

So, what are we going to do about this? It's not about Onion Routing, it's not about anonymity in one technological context. It's about the overall scheme. How are our protocols going to address these concerns and these situations. It might seem that there's nothing that can be done, but that couldn't be any less true.

We have the power. We decide what the protocols will be. We define the values which out technologies will support. We are unstoppable, because we're all popes.

Thank you.

-- Caleb James Delisle


I'm also mirroring more of cjd's writing:

  1. The Web Must Die
  2. RIP USA
  3. I have nothing to hide: Power in a post-scarcity society