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Governments Covertly Fund Internet Freedom Activists


Dnia wtorek, 3 marca 2015 07:59:07 piszesz:
> On Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:45:40 -0800, rysiek <[email protected]> wrote:
> > I cordially invite you to provide sufficient funding to all the
> > freedom/privacy/human rights related initiatives that are
> > government-funded
> > today.
> I'm not sure that cordially inviting an individual to single handedly
> replace the 'funding' provided by a violent organized criminal
> organization that can extract funds from entire populations under the
> threat of violence, and also 'print' their own goddamned money is really a
> solid counter argument.

Well, provide any funds, at all, at least, then.

> Is the funding of FLOSS privacy enabling software a problem? Yes.

Glad we can agree here.

> Does it therefore follow that lining up at the government's stolen money
> slop trough until another solution can be devised is ever going to be a
> good idea in the long run? I would argue 'No'.

I would argue "that's not an easy answer". Depends on many variables, and 
boils down to: are we hacking the system to have our way, or are we being co-
opted by the system. It's never black or white, so it depends on a given 

> Look at the history and deviousness of government infiltration of 60's
> counterculture groups that were deemed a threat to state power. Timothy
> Leary an FBI snitch [1]. Richard Aoki, the man who helped arm the Black
> Panthers, an FBI snitch. [2].

And yet he helped arm the Black Panthers.

> Is it not reasonable to assume that these FLOSS privacy software projects
> represent a direct threat to state power? Is it not reasonable to assume
> that the state is therefore going to try and co-opt them?

Of course.

> Say by creating financial dependence via a seductive flow of stolen money,
> among other tactics?

Of course. Does it follow that the state necessarily will succeed in co-opting 
such projects? I would argue "no". The outcome is not so clear, and I do find 
the fact that these projects *are* funded and can continue to deliver the 
great tools they do deliver a rather positive one.

Until I see evidence of co-option (like backdoors in code or binaries, etc), I 
will continue to be cautiously optimistic here.

> Look at this recent Pando.com expose of the BBG (Broadcasting Board of
> Governers) which recently started pouring money into these privacy
> projects via the Open Technology Fund. [3]. These people are not on our
> side.
> Also, regarding funding as a method of control. What did the U.S. federal
> government do when certain states were balked at raising the drinking age
> to 21? They threatened to cut their federal highway funds. Every state
> ended up caving to this demand. That's just one high profile example.

The question is not if the state can use such a tactic, but if those projects 
will bow down to such a tactic. Again, until I see such a situation, I will 
consider such funding an option, as long as there are no otehr options.

I prefer good FLOSS that is funded by the state money than no FLOSS at all.

> It's simply disheartening to see how gleefully some privacy activists
> accept the tainted govt blood money and then look hard the other way.

I'm sure you, my friend, have a steady cashflow that is in no way connected to 
blood money, and I congratulate you on that. Not all of us are so fortunate. 
As long as these privacy activists do not bow down and bend over -- and I have 
not seen evidence of that as far as several projects discussed on this list 
are concerned -- I don't see a huge problem.

It *would* be better to have them funded in some other way, but it's still 
better to have them funded at all.

> Never mind that the money was obtained by putting a metaphorical gun to
> the head of every person it was taken from. Never mind what the ulterior
> motives are of the organizations which are lavishing this stolen money
> upon the software privacy projects. Never mind the dependence this is
> going to create and the subsequent influence and control this is going to
> buy.
> The means *are* the ends. And when the means are corrupted, so are the
> ends.

Cool. So let me ask you this: if you can either have (in large part) gov't-
funded FLOSS privacy-protecting projects, or next to none of such projects, 
what do you choose?

MichaÅ? "rysiek" Woźniak

Zmieniam klucz GPG :: http://rys.io/pl/147
GPG Key Transition :: http://rys.io/en/147
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