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[liberationtech] Fwd: [hackerdojo] DARPA Funding for Hackerspaces: Good or Evil?

Yosem Companys companys at
Mon Dec 5 21:48:14 PST 2011

Interesting coincidence that while liberationtech was talking about funding
and net activism, the hacker spaces (e.g., Noisebridge, HackerDojo, etc.)
have been having a similar discussion...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christie Dudley <longobord at>
Date: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 8:30 PM
Subject: Re: [hackerdojo] DARPA Funding for Hackerspaces: Good or Evil?
To: hackerdojo at

To throw some fuel on the fire here, I'd like to point out that the Tor
project, an important privacy tool that is used worldwide by dissidents and
ordinary people has received funding from, among many others, the US Navy.
Now, I fully trust that it's in no way compromised by this or Jake
Applebaum would never work on such a project. The Navy's goals just
happened to be in line with the freedom of expression goals of the project
and they accepted funding.

The question is whether the funding was accepted judiciously. Are there
strings attached? Would they ask you to do something you would not be doing
anyway? If so, does it enhance or detract from your own goals? Does it
enhance their goals in ways you're uncomfortable with? Does it further
their goals in ways you're uncomfortable with. I think these are more
interesting questions than "should you work with them at all?"

I am definitely against war. I also think the military that we currently
have is outrageously overextended for what we really need to protect our
territory. However, I'm willing to minimally participate in an effort if it
has the potential to save taxpayers money and American servicemen's lives.
I mean seriously, that's OUR money they're spending so carelessly out there.

Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly
every other form of freedom.
 - Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo

On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:34 PM, Taylor Alexander <tlalexander at>wrote:

> Haha, well then crap. If we don't support DARPA we'll be defenseless
> against Skynet!
> But if we support DARPA they'll just build Skynet!
> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:32 PM, Matt Joyce <mdjoyce at> wrote:
>>  Seriously.
>> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:31 PM, Matt Joyce <mdjoyce at> wrote:
>>> To be perfectly clear:
>>> NYC Resistor did have an agreement with Skynet ( YES FROM THE MOVIE ) to
>>> create killer robots.
>>> This is ENTIRELY TRUE.
>>> Not a joke.
>>> Ask Bre if you don't believe me.
>>> -Matt
>>> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:19 PM, Taylor Alexander <tlalexander at>wrote:
>>>> I guess then if you are against killing (like I think most of us are),
>>>> then do you:
>>>> a) Stay out of it completely, so as to avoid helping with the killing
>>>> b) Try to help them develop technology that reduces the amount of
>>>> killing needed for them to accomplish their goals*
>>>> c) Take their funding as a means of developing your own
>>>> non-killing-related technology, and hope it never gets used to help with
>>>> killing.
>>>> * and for option B, you have to decide if you even want to be involved
>>>> in helping them accomplish their goals.
>>>> I think most people are in the A or C camp. Some specific technologies
>>>> may fall into B but I think most people would prefer to work in a way that
>>>> is tangential to the military's goals if they are going to work with them
>>>> at all.
>>>> Personally I think that if you've got a project that has nothing to do
>>>> with killing, go ahead and take the funding if they offer it. When you get
>>>> rich from whatever you developed (unless they take the rights) then do
>>>> something good with your money and I think you're fair.
>>>> I also think that developing technologies like cheaper body armor etc
>>>> that can more effectively protect troops is okay, but thats a slipperly
>>>> slope if you're trying to avoid killing.
>>>> As I reread my message above I'm realizing that if you do anything at
>>>> all that helps them, then its very possible you'll end up helping them kill
>>>> someone. I guess you have to ask yourself if they were going to kill that
>>>> person anyway, and how you feel about that. If you create better body armor
>>>> that saves troops - but then they live long enough to kill more people, how
>>>> do you feel about that? I suppose there's a million examples either way.
>>>> You'll have to decide on your own what your project means to you. Some
>>>> people may disagree with the idea of helping at all, and I can see their
>>>> side. I suppose I'm still not even sure how I feel about it.
>>>> But if you create skynet, I'll kick your ass.
>>>> -Taylor
>>>> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 5:04 PM, Christopher Meyer <
>>>> chris.meyer at> wrote:
>>>>> > Mitch's argument has never included: "DARPA is evil" (and reducing
>>>>> it to
>>>>> > that is not very nice of you).
>>>>> I just wanted to say that that's absolutely right, and thanks for
>>>>> calling me out on it. I was trying to come up with a simple way of
>>>>> summing up the message you wrote, and I clearly over-simplified.
>>>>> I still don't quite go along with the part that says "It seems to me
>>>>> that those goals are to make things easier and better for hurting and
>>>>> killing other people." But reducing the rest of the message to that one
>>>>> line is doing your point a disservice, and I apologize for that.
>>>>> -C
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