Anonymity and trust (Re: Cypherpunks Report 1/2 )

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (ernest@pundit)
Sat, 5 Apr 97 12:43:05 -0800

You wrote:
> Rohit wrote:
> > the critical issue is how to cultivate anonymity
> > and community at the same time.
> It is impossible to create community without trust.
> With anonymity, there are no names, and without names,
> there is no ownership and hence no trust. Right?

Well, okay, how about pseudonymity? I believe that is what the
cypherpunks talk about: having a well-defined handle which can build
its own relationship, but need not be connected to any other
identities you may have.

>If Canter and Siegel can keep taking up anonymous identities,
>there is no utopia. Utopia is basically exactly what we have now,
>only much, much better.

Well, okay, then there is the blank slate problem. People can always
start over anew, and become just as annoying in their new persona
before they get blocked out.

However, that is the sort of unusual circumstance that you'd never
want to use as a reason to disallow pseudonyms. Most people won't go
through the effort of always creating new identities. Heck, people
like Canter and Siegel are -proud- of themselves and would happily
promote their own identities.

Rather, we need to provide tools such that communities can control
who has access to them. It is admittedly difficult in a pseudonymous
socity to distinguish between an innocent inquirer and a returned
malefactor. But, isn't the essence of America that everyone can get a
fresh start? And how many times would a person need to get kicked
out before they get tired of it, or someone figures out how to impact
their 'real-world' identity.

-- Ernie P.

male*fac*tor \'mal-e-,fak-ter\ n
[ME, fr. L, fr. malefactus, pp. of malefacere to do evil, fr. male +
facere to do - more at DO]
1: one who commits an offense against the law; esp: FELON
2: one who does ill toward another

_ Thesaurus:

malefactor n
syn CRIMINAL, felon, lawbreaker, offender
rel blackguard, knave, miscreant, rascal, rogue, scoundrel;
evildoer, sinner, wrongdoer