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

Erik Harmon erik at erikharmon.com
Fri Jun 24 21:25:37 UTC 2011

On Jun 24, 2011 1:36 PM, "Daniel Kahn Gillmor" <dkg at fifthhorseman.net>
> On 06/24/2011 04:00 PM, Erik Harmon wrote:
> > I think there are two users with conflicting user stories here. The
> > user probably wants the assurances of legal identity and the web of
> > 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.
>        --dkg

As I said in the next paragraph, the same person may need both the ability
to communicate with identities within the web of trust, and outside it. An
activist's public activities can benefit from the web of trust. I probably
should have said freedom fighter, someone doing clandestine communications.
Each use case has different requirements. Color coding keys is good, but
even the presence of a particular public key on one's keyring could be
incriminating or suspicious. Even if the same person wants to do secret and
casual communication, it's probably a good idea to more strongly segregate
those identities.

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