Re: Digital Affinity Group --> Questions
Thu, 18 Nov 1999 17:22:52 -0500 (EST)
[: hacktivism :]
On Wed, 17 Nov 1999, Stefan Wray wrote:
:Question (1): If in Seattle, activists are organizing themselves into
:affinity groups, small cells of people who know and trust one another, then
:in cyberspace, following this model, how can we organize ourselves into
:digital affinity groups, small cyber cells of people who know and trust one
Trust is based upon the authenticatability of the trusted party.
Electronicly, there is no fool proof way of authenticating
somebody's intentions. You can record their motions, verify
information they provide, but that squishy feeling you get
when you know somebody is really just faith.
:Question (2): But if trust that developes from sustained interaction among
:a small group is one of the bases for forming a solid cell or affinity
:group, how can such trust develop in cyberspace when the most we may know
:about someone in this environment is an email address?
More squishyness. To digitize something is to sample it at a particular
rate and hope that you can reconstruct the analog/squishyness and have it
resemble the original message. If all we have is an email address and
a pile of mailing list posts to go on, our sampling of their identity
is somewhat less frequent or granular than meeting them in r/l and
absorbing all the qualitative aspects of their identity.
It would be naive to entrust something you can't afford to lose
in an identity that you can only verify via some low resolution
:Question (3): Does this mean that a cyber cell must have a non-Internet
:component? Rather, does this mean that people in a cyber cell, however
:dispersed geographically, need to have met and known one another?
They don't if the actions they share are disposable to them.
You can reliably cryptographicly authenticate somebody's
identity, or more specificly a manifestation of their identity,
but you cannot authenticate their intent.
:Question (4): If there is no trust, how can hacktivists engage in direct
:action? Can we then only engage in symbolic action without risk that puts
:no one in danger?
If there is no trust, then you can collude anonymously. You invent
an authenticatable identity or token which you will use as the
representative in the collaberation. In any planned action, each
participant provides a function. As long as there is resonable
trust that the participant (who can be authenticated, but not
known) will perform their function, then collaboration can
Cryptography can provide the mechanism for authentication.
You can reliably 'prove' that someone is who they say they
are. You can reasonably account for someone having done something
they said they would, and you can grant access to the means
to accomplish what they are supposed to.
But, you cannot reasonably assume they will do what they
say they will.
Chief Reverse Engineer
Superficial Intelligence Research Division
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