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[liberationtech] blockchain-based protest clocks

Jonathan Wilkes jancsika at
Mon Dec 8 08:19:41 PST 2014

Hi list,
Let's say protesters plan an action in an as of yet undisclosed location on Wednesday.  One of the dangers of wide-net surveillance is that if law enforcement finds out on Tuesday, they could query The Big Harddrive and search through _everyone's_ data from Monday and find the discussion where the protesters mention the location.  The only thing stopping such surveillance is a unverifiable policy of "don't be evil" overseen by a secret, rubber-stamping court.

But there's another Big Harddrive, which is the Bitcoin block-chain.  If the protesters used properties of, say, the first block found after noon on Wednesday to decide from a set of possible locations, then the identity of the location wouldn't be available from the wide-net surveillance.  In fact, the protesters could post a video of their entire planning session on Youtube at that point, and it wouldn't make a difference.  Protesters and law enforcement would be guaranteed to learn of the location at the same time, from the same source.  That would increase the cost of law enforcement response since they must plan to react to the complete set of possible locations.  It would also take some pressure off of community organizers since they don't have to manage secret information, but just come up with possibilities from which the block-chain chooses.  There could even be an app which cleanly displays for the user which possibility "won".

Location and time are just two variables which could be chosen by the block-chain.  There are probably many others.

Just a thought,Jonathan
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