[Freedombox-discuss] FreedomBox 'bump/hi-five' challenge

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Fri Jun 24 20:35:48 UTC 2011

On 06/24/2011 04:00 PM, Erik Harmon wrote:
> I think there are two users with conflicting user stories here. The regular
> user probably wants the assurances of legal identity and the web of trust.
> The activist does not.

There are many activists who rely on their reputation and public
identity to be effective organizers and activists.  those activists
*also* need the web of trust (though they may not care much about any
particular legal jurisdiction's claims about identity).

Without reliable networks of introducers, we cannot make use of the
promise of a global network to connect people across otherwise
untraversable distances.  And networks of introducers require that we
make certifications that are eventually viewed by third parties.  In the
broadest (and simplest) case, those certifications of identity may be
globally published.

Activists might want to use pseudonyms, but activists who decline to
establish any sort of longer-term identity on the global network leave
themselves open to pretty trivial impersonation, which has the potential
to undercut any of their work.

For example, if wikileaks was not clearly known as wikileaks (regardless
of the identity of julien assange and others), then whistleblowers would
be well-justified in being reluctant to actually upload leaked documents
to any arbitrary entity who asks them for it.  The leaker themselves
might want to remain anonymous, but they'd still need to make sure that
the folks they are uploading to are *not* anonymous.

Identity is important, even for people who want to stay out-of-reach of
powerful, malicious adversaries.


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