[extropy-chat] the RBL racket

John john.heritage at v21.me.uk
Mon Sep 11 15:37:48 UTC 2006

How fitting considering the recent discussion of privacy.

>Look up 'thought crimes'.

Pretty much any crime based around the simple possesion of something also 
qualifies. E.g. drugs & guns. If I have a handful of magic mushrooms, it's 
now a Class A offence in the UK. The fact I have a handful of them has 
nothing to do with what I'm going to use them for. By having them in my 
hand, I've done zero damage to the rest of society, or even myself. I could 
empty them into the bin, I could mix them into some sweets and hide them in 
a superstore.

>Looking at certain pictures on your computer gets you a prison
>sentence. Technically you are 'in possession' if they hit your screen.
>As around 90% of computers are malware infected, they are very likely
>to be involved in some criminal activity.

I take it you might be talking about S&M porno. Which, for the guys in the 
US, has been under the spotlight in the UK just recently after a guy 
murdered a woman and they found a whole load of violent porn on his 
computer. So violent porno, even if it's just simulated violence, is now a 
criminal possesion. This is a very, very old discussion that's been going on 
since S&M and cameras got together. It's assault to just touch someone with 
your hand. It's not asault to have a surgen slice your face up for cosmetic 
reconstruction. Or a surgen operate on you without consent (e.g. barbaric, 
ritualistic circumcision of restrained infants without anesthetic), or to 
enter a boxing match, have people place bets on it and then televise it. 
Theoretically, it's assault to have someone spank you, even if you ask them 
to do so. A whole christmas sized pencil box full of greyscale.

Course, the interesting thing that Bill points out is malware and redirects 
dumping this kind of stuff onto your computer whether you like it or not 
(And I know that a lot of people don't know how to empty out their histories 
etc even if they want to, and lots don't, because they don't even know it's 
there to begin with). Although, I've yet to experience a piece of malware 
that signs me up for a private torrent network and downloads 10GB of kiddy 
porn onto my computer, then posts messages in fora asking for specific kiddy 
porno - which is what the people with such content on their drives will try 
for. Which is, of course, not to say that we won't eventually have something 
that tries that.

>It's interesting that no one so far has made Microsoft liable.
>If you buy an unsafe vehicle, you can sue the maker for damages.

True, but to be fair, a lot of the damages that could occur to you, a 
passenger in your car or a pedestrian will be through negligence or mistakes 
(your's or another driver's). Or if the car suddenly explodes through no 
fault of your's or any other driver's error. If, however, someone had 
purposefully lifted the lid of your car and emptied nitroglycerine into the 
engine, I doubt you'd get very far suing the manufacturer for not putting 
locks all over the caps and an 'anti-nitroglycerine system' in. Or if the 
car was stolen and the manufacturer hadn't fitted a lock to the door. 
However, if the car was sold saying "Fitted with locks" and it wasn't, then 
you'd have a reasonable complaint. If it was sold saying "Guaranteed, 
totally imprevious to being stolen", you're on for a winner - but definitly 
not a certainty. But they don't ever make such a stupid claim. It's just 
"Fitted with locks for added security". When someone is actively trying to 
damage a system, it liberates the manufacturers from a great amount of 
blame. And rightly so if you want to live in a world where anything is ever 

>I don't agree that possession of pedophilia media should be a crime
>(but the making of such should very well be a serious crime, unless
>casted with ). Here I also happen to disagree with public
>consensus and the legislation.

I'd go one step further and risk having my door kicked in and face squashed 
into the carpet, I don't think the fundamental problem lies with the act 
it's self (be it with a simulation or an actual human), only the conditions 
under which in takes place (which seem universally traumatic for the 
children involved - manipulation, threats, physical violence, etc). But I do 
agree that the latter justifies a particularly extreme response.

Perhaps a more fair response to the megaphone idea, whilst still maintaining 
everyone's freedom, would be whip out your own megaphone and shout back. Of 
coarse, this wouldn't be very fair to the neighbours having to listen in 
(This would be analogous to counter-spamming and hitting the wrong 
addresses). Arguably, it would be fair if everyone around him started to 
shout back as well, since they all had to listen to him in the first place. 
Provided you could contain your channel back towards him (so as not to annoy 
everyone else and make him enjoy the fact you're doing so, causing him to 
prompt you yet further and cause more disturbances himself) and only those 
people annoyed could shout back and for a roughly equal amount of time, that 
seems reasonably fair.

You could implement some of these things with a private counter-spam system. 
E.g. I download a client. The client watches my email for junk from know 
spammers and/or with a known content and each piece gives me a 
counter-spamming credit (Maybe two or three per piece of junk as additional 
payment for initiating the waste of time in the first place). An _up to 
date_ server then redirects my counter-spam back to the sender. Following 
the Lycos idea, "Make love not spam". These kinds of systems would be too 
tricky for individuals to implement themselves, so it's not entirely 
analogous to everyone just implementing their own version of what's fair 
with their fists - it would be easier to regulate the amount of payback to 
keep it sane (no baseball bats for passing remarks).

Spam is also a global crime, and so deserves a global reply. The quickest 
and easiest way of implementing this would be for some form of private 
torrent counter-spam agent. The reality of trying to get global 
harmonisation and cooperation on dealing with these guys is laughable. The 
amount of lag required to put it through standard legal proceedings will 
likely give even the slowest enough time to pick up his gear and walk away.

I suppose the important bit is disconnecting agenda from the system. Lycos 
have an agenda in that they can encourage customers to like them with such 
schemes and increase traffic through their network (with counter-spam). But 
at the same time, Lycos don't also decide on whether or not I go to jail 
(and make up such policies as part of some spare of the moment popularity 
contest to get onto a higher soapbox).

I'll be interested to see if over the next few decades we end up with an 
explosion in the number of 'freedom fighter' teams of hackers. The internet 
is one domain where sheer military might has next to no importance when the 
guy on the other end of the copper is an electronics / radio / computer 
genius with a lot of time, will and places to hide.

When I was 16 or so, I worked alongside the chief of IT (head, or something 
similar) for our local police force. I'm 99.9% sure I could have raided his 
bank account and gotten away with it if I'd wanted to, even then. The only 
hope these guys have is that the other guy I was working with, who wasn't 
involved with the police, was reasonably minded and extremely able. And that 
people like myself don't generally raid the accounts of people who, on the 
whole, are just trying to help. An understanding returned when he handed me 
an envelope with 3k in it to count for him. This doesn't work if that same 
person decides they're going to start filtering out harmless aspects of my 
personal life.

I believe it's quite normal for the police for to be in regular contact with 
small time (especially) PC repair stores; where the staff will almost 
certainly be very able and they're likely to get people with questionable 
content taking their drives (as opposed to PC World, although I'm sure lots 
do). Whether or not the searching for dodgy porno is the service you're 
paying for (or if the staff have just illegally searched your computer) is 
another question.

I just noticed that last bits touch on something else I was thinking about 
just recently. That IT is the first topic where in a percentage of the 
students are already far more able than their teachers.

Best wishes,

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