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[liberationtech] a privacy preserving and resilient social network

Eleanor Saitta ella at
Sat Jun 29 09:05:29 PDT 2013

Hash: SHA256

On 2013.06.29 11.49, David Golumbia wrote:
> I really think that is wrong, because it looks at the problem from 
> a purely technical level.

I'm not.  I'm trying to solve specific technical problems which
support larger social ends.

> This is documented spy operations 101, all over any history of
> CIA, NSA, etc., you care to read. In fact, it's old-fashioned
> spying, and the fetish for pursuing technological intelligence
> makes it easy to overlook the more pedestrian kind.

This is fine.  I'm not saying that using a network like this will make
you invulnerable to HUMINT.  What I am saying is that networks can a)
force your adversary to use HUMINT (which is a lot more expensive),
and possibly even give you some tools to help maintain your social
graph integrity, etc.

People want social network like things.  Not everyone in the world is
running a terrorist cell, and it makes no sense to expect them to
restructure their social lives as though they were, any more than it
makes sense to ask them to restructure their digital lives similarly.
 People want to share what they're doing with people they know and
like, and they want to do so in ways which have social currency, i.e.
which while they don't have to be at all centralized, are an
identifiable medium with identifiable social affordances.

This is going to happen and even if we could get rid of it, it would
mean a massive and terrifying distortion of the social lives of
everyone in the world, to the point where "the [state security
services] would have won".

If we build tools that force spooks to use HUMINT to get in, we've won.

Folks running intelligence operations of any kind will need to learn
better tradecraft, which has always been true.

Privacy-preserving, as a property, doesn't mean "if you don't think
about what you're doing in the world you can run black ops on this
platform".  It means "you can keep what you're doing here private
against mass observation by the motivated and targeted observation by
the non-resourced".  Or, at least, I think that's a bar that's
actually meaningful and can be achieved; what you're talking about can't.


- -- 
Ideas are my favorite toys.
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