R. A. Hettinga on 7 Mar 2001 03:39:27 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Napster offshore?


At 6:26 PM -0500 on 3/6/01, Felix Stalder wrote:

> Offshore data havens have long figured prominently in the dreams of
> cypherpunks

Actually, real live cypherpunks, not the ones portrayed in
science-fiction books, believe that cryptography on the net, not
political jurisdiction, is what matters.

See Tim May's 1995 cyphernomicon (no, not Neal Stephenson's 1999
"Cryptonomicon" :-)) for details to this.

Note that the Caymans, Vanuatu, Anguilla -- not to mention those old
chestnuts Switzerland, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein -- are all rolling
over on financial privacy.

In that kind of environment, HavenCo is just another excuse for the
eventual use of gunboat diplomacy.

Frankly, the reason we have modern wholesale violations of privacy is
because we use book-entry settlement. Until things like functionally
anonymous internet bearer transactions, like Chaum's blind
signatures, for instance, actually are cheaper than book-entry
settlement, say, three orders of magnitude cheaper, we won't have
financial, much less any other, privacy.

Put another way, the reason we have book-entry settlement is not
because the evil state (or evil corporations, insert your favorite
bugbear here) wants to control our every move, it's because debits
and credits through a database are cheaper than my Brinks truck full
of paper bearer certificates to your cage.

Cryptography is also the solution to the intellecual property mess.
If it's encrypted, and I have the key to it, it's my property, to do
with however I chose, including selling it, for cash, over the net.

Oddly enough, in this kind of recursive auction market, the first
copy is the most expensive, and the last marginally above the cost of
bandwidth. Meaning, of course, that the people making new stuff make
the most money, which is as it should be, right?

Who's not a cypherpunk. Ask Tim May. :-).

Version: PGP 7.0

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah@ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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