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Re: <nettime> Napster offshore?
R. A. Hettinga on 7 Mar 2001 06:36:52 -0000

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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,

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 {AT} 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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