freebiots

35 views
Skip to first unread message

BK

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to
The economy of the Internet is based on the access to information.
Unlike
broadcasting mass-media, the internet is an interactive communication
medium,
so there’s no need for audimeters, because the access to information is
made by
individuals through computers with a two way connection to the net and
have an
IP address which leaves a trace on the servers. By monitoring and using
such
traces, companies have perverted the spirit of interactivity and have
created
frontiers that break the unity of the Internet and spoil the possibility
of a
culture of participation.

Every time a server gets a hit and every time a search engine gets a
query, the
owners of the site learn about the needs, the desires and the interests
of
potential customers. Tracking access to information is made directly by
server
owners through their access statistics and indirectly through the search

statistics provided by information search engines and directories. To
some
extent, the ownership of access information is more valuable than
information
itself, given that for a server owner information about access has a
market
price while information (knowledge) supposes a cost. This explains the
fact
that a result screen of a search engine or a highly transited site can
be hired
as space for publicity, no mater the quality of its content. When access
by
itself becomes an issue of commercial and statistic interest, the link
between
access and information breaks down.

Information about access is the boundary between amateur and
professional
content delivery and dissemination. An interface designer or an
interaction
scriptwriter both get paid for increasing the amount of access to
certain
information. On the contrary, web specific art projects are usually
trying to
break the economy of the internet in a metaphorical sense; either they
create
visions and slogans about free information (which range from hacker
anti-copyright activism to amateur like content and fake corporation
paraphernalia), or they build tautological interfaces which are not an
access
to information, but only interaction for interaction’s sake (which go
from the
casual and playful to the transcendental and meta-linguistic and
auto-referential). Although all these art works are highly valuable,
they are
poorly known and thus incapable of achieving their intentions. They can
be seen
as an expression of the urge for a real and effectively free public
space.

Economic dictatorship of access monitoring is creating enormous
differences
within the Internet, a medium that promised equal opportunities of
visibility
to all. The dramatic transformation of this medium in the last five
years
responds to the logic of market taking over the logic of participation
and
knowledge.

FREEBIOTS is a web specific art proposal by Roc Parés, which uses
information
and communication technologies to create automatic and unpredictable
hits and
queries all over the Internet. The intention is to dismantle the present

economic logic of the Internet, in order to take it forward to the state
of
freedom dreamed of by its utopian founders and defenders.

FREEBIOTS are artificially intelligent agents, which will start moving
around
the Internet in January the 1st, 2000 at 00:00.00 GMT. Their mission is
to
create confusion by invalidating all access and search statistics on the

Internet. Desired foreseeable consequences are the end of advertising
and
investing by all corporations on the World Wide Web, the loss of
credibility of
all market trends detected through Internet tracking, the restitution of
free
public space and respect for intellectual property rights as opposed to
copy
and access rights.


PEACE


BK-BORG (version 2.01)
===================================================================================

"Information is an important part of a balanced diet."
===================================================================================

http://home.earthlink.net/~bjking/
===================================================================================

ICQ # 4557591
===================================================================================

Rev. Jihad Frenzy

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to
What load of fucking dingoes kidneys THAT proposal is.

OK, so you assholes fuck up all the web stats and the like.

And then you'll start crying and weeping when AltaVista demands a
creditcard number everytime you want to do a search.

Thanks a lot for making the net and the web a battle ground with your
antique leftist bullshit.

Marx is dead. You can go home now.

--
Windows 2000: You'll envy the dead!
<http://www.gis.net/~cht>

BK

unread,
Aug 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/24/99
to

Rev. Jihad Frenzy wrote:

> And then you'll start crying and weeping when AltaVista demands a
> creditcard number everytime you want to do a search.
>
> Thanks a lot for making the net and the web a battle ground with your
> antique leftist bullshit.

Greetings-----]

I posted that because it sounded so odd...... I don't agree with the
"Freebiotic" protest which is being planned for 1-1-00 because I don't
think that anyone even looks at banners and ads on portal sites......do
they ?
(maybe newbies)......or AOL slaves.......hah!

So the point is moot........the commercialization of every atom in the
universe is inevitable. The best protest ( in my opinion) is the old
Irish act called the BOYCOTT.

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to

I was going to say that I admired the spirit of this, but the more I
think about it, it embodies everything I hate about activism.

Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 24-Aug-99 freebiots by B...@earthlink.net

> Economic dictatorship of access monitoring is creating enormous
> differences
> within the Internet, a medium that promised equal opportunities of
> visibility
> to all. The dramatic transformation of this medium in the last five
> years
> responds to the logic of market taking over the logic of participation
> and
> knowledge.
>

Access monitoring, economic dictatorship? Have you looked at the
internet lately? This paranoid crap will spring up for as long as the
human race exists, but what is the point? Who is being harmed by a site
monitoring how many people look at mountain bikes and how many at
blenders?

> FREEBIOTS are artificially intelligent agents, which will start moving
> around
> the Internet in January the 1st, 2000 at 00:00.00 GMT. Their mission is
> to
> create confusion by invalidating all access and search statistics on the
>
> Internet. Desired foreseeable consequences are the end of advertising
> and
> investing by all corporations on the World Wide Web, the loss of
> credibility of
> all market trends detected through Internet tracking, the restitution of
> free
> public space and respect for intellectual property rights as opposed to
> copy
> and access rights.

This isn't art, this is purposeful disruption. I hate to break it to
you, but the entire internet explosion, and the increases in bandwidth
that we are all enjoying, the economics of scale that will have high
speed internet connections in every home in america are all ude to these
corporations. MONEY BUILDS THE INTERNET. It's all wonderful and
rebellous to do things like this, but it's all smoke and mirrors,
because you know full well that you won't achieve anything, and your
actual goals are never stated. You think that this will stop people
from monitoring usage? They do this everywhere now, grocery stores
collect gigabytes of information every day about what products people
buy, in order to more efficiently hand out coupons. This is not a bad
thing, and even if you find that it's somewhat infringing on some sort
of rights that you think you have, there's nothing that can or should be
done to stop it. This creates the capital to give us more access to the
types of information that interest us in the internet.

-----------* *----------------------------------------
Tobin Coziahr "The man who hungers for truth should
sha...@cmu.edu expect no mercy and give none."
- HST
----------------* *---------------------------------------


Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> I was going to say that I admired the spirit of this, but the more I
> think about it, it embodies everything I hate about activism.

What is that? That is does not allow you to be complacent,
comfortable in your fatalist view of the world as being overrun by
capitalists? Is that what you hate about activism? That it calls
into question your own excuses for inaction?

> Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 24-Aug-99 freebiots by B...@earthlink.net
> > Economic dictatorship of access monitoring is creating enormous
> > differences
> > within the Internet, a medium that promised equal opportunities of
> > visibility
> > to all. The dramatic transformation of this medium in the last five
> > years
> > responds to the logic of market taking over the logic of participation
> > and
> > knowledge.
> >
>
> Access monitoring, economic dictatorship? Have you looked at the
> internet lately? This paranoid crap will spring up for as long as the
> human race exists, but what is the point? Who is being harmed by a site
> monitoring how many people look at mountain bikes and how many at
> blenders?

Because that information will be tied to your digital identity
whenever possible, any notion of privacy is completely destroyed. You
can determine tremendous amounts about a person from their purchase
decisions. This information will also determine what you are allowed
to do, this shadow image of you in these databases will determine what
credit you can get, what housing you can get, wether you can get
health insurance. This information can be subpeoned and used against
you, or perhaps just sold off to other marketeers who are going to
interrupt your dinnners for the next 6 months with phone calls because
you happened to be 21-22 yrs old, male, making over 30k a year, who
recently purchased a laptop. It also can determine what kind of
education you get, test well enough and your a Presidential Scholar
candidate.

It's nice to imagine that these sites are just collecting anonymous
consumer decisions, but the harsh reality is that while some stop
there, many more do not, they want names. This information is used at
the discretion of the collectors, and while they have several
"industry" policies, there are no real regulatory powers protecting
you from the misuse of this information in the United States. The EU
and the US have already clashed on this issue, as the EU has much
stronger requirements for how that information is to be treated, if it
can be collected at all. Corporations do not make decisions based on
people, the make decisions based on numbers, annd that makes those
number very important when so much of your life is determined by
interactions with said corporations.

> This isn't art, this is purposeful disruption.

And filling condoms with water and shit and throwing them at people is
not?

> I hate to break it to you, but the entire internet explosion, and
> the increases in bandwidth that we are all enjoying, the economics
> of scale that will have high speed internet connections in every
> home in america are all ude to these corporations. MONEY BUILDS THE
> INTERNET.

What is your point with stating the obvious?

> It's all wonderful and rebellous to do things like this, but it's
> all smoke and mirrors, because you know full well that you won't
> achieve anything, and your actual goals are never stated. You think
> that this will stop people from monitoring usage?

It most definetly will not stop the monitoring immediatly, but it
raises the level of awareness that people have when interacting with
those collecting agencies. Perhaps at some point sufficient amounts
of misinformation could be generated to completely throw off data
collected in particular ways. It's fairly easy to generate agents of
misinformation, and they move much quicker than real humans. It is
quite concievable that you could replace more than 40% of the volume
of the info collected with falsified data. At that point, it becomes
statistically worthless, and the collector might not be able to sell
it off.

Also, it's YOU who are convinced that they will accomplish nothing.
Just because you are a knave does not mean you're gonna get away with
calling someone a fool, especially in a.cp.

> They do this everywhere now, grocery stores collect gigabytes of
> information every day about what products people buy, in order to
> more efficiently hand out coupons.

Well, it's also so that they can understand what products sell in what
neighborhoods(which helps their JIT inventory systems), sell the data
off to their associates. Imagine how much someone could tell about
you from your grocery receipts, and then think about how these markets
have no regulations on how they need to protect that information, and
nearly no restrictions on how they resell it. That coupon service and
the discount is how they pawn it off on the consumer, and it's each
person's decision as to wether it's worth the loss of privacy.

It's not inevitable, you can choose not too participate.

> This is not a bad thing, and even if you find that it's somewhat
> infringing on some sort of rights that you think you have, there's
> nothing that can or should be done to stop it.

Well, the europeans aren't convinced that it's hopeless, look at th
EU privacy regulations compared to US regulations (or lack thereof).
Not everyone in the world is convinced that everything might as well
be sold out now becuase it's "inevitable".

> This creates the capital to give us more access to the types of
> information that interest us in the internet.

Those who are ready to give up their freedom for a tiny bit of
percieved convenience really cannot be helped anyways. A pig, in a
cage, on antibiotics...

PS. I cannot think of a single bit of interesting information that I
have gotten in exchange for usch data.

--
Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software http://www.red-bean.com/~craig
I say woe unto those who are wise in their own eyes, and yet
imprudent in 'dem outside -Sizzla

Omar Haneef

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to

Craig Brozefsky wrote:

> Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:
>

<snip>

This seems like the wrong response, at least fromover here. Look, suppose Craig
concedes that there
is no harm to be done by simply telling how many
people buy blenders over mountain bikes, and then
Tobin concedes that there is harm in denying people
health care because they are old and poor (seeing as
they only get pasta for the last 50 years).

The next step is to determine what the various options
would be to police one sort of data, and not the other.

Then we might associate a social cost with a violation
of one or the other, and we have a model upon which to
take rational decisions.

So, for instance, let us suppose that one option is tell
marketers that

They can store data about PRODUCTS but not data about PEOPLE.

That is, they can store data about who buys apples, but
not data about what someone buys. This means no names etc.

Then we could think about how to enforce this: say, have
the government monitor the corp., break in and force them
to give up their codes, etc.

Then think about what the probability of the corporation
deviating from the law is. Based on the scenario above, I
would say approximately nil.

The cost of violation is high, but with a Pr(approx 0) we
don't have to worry about it. The benefit is low (more
competition in popular products?) but, multiplied by the
base rate outweighs the cost of violation.

This is just an example, of course, but I think this sort of
process would be beneficial for you guys.


> It's nice to imagine that these sites are just collecting anonymous
> consumer decisions, but the harsh reality is that while some stop
> there, many more do not, they want names. This information is used at
> the discretion of the collectors, and while they have several
> "industry" policies, there are no real regulatory powers protecting
> you from the misuse of this information in the United States. The EU
> and the US have already clashed on this issue, as the EU has much
> stronger requirements for how that information is to be treated, if it
> can be collected at all. Corporations do not make decisions based on
> people, the make decisions based on numbers, annd that makes those
> number very important when so much of your life is determined by
> interactions with said corporations.
>

But Craig, it seems like you think that the EU style
rule are effective protectors of anonymity, and that
there are alternatives to simply cutting of the
marketers. If that is the case, these alternatives
*might* be better than simply releasing autonomous
agents to misinform them.

-Omar

<snip>


Dan Argent

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
You know, I'm not sure you guys should even debate about this when it's
very hoax like.
It's gonna occur on the year 2000? Artificial Intelliegent agents?
What platform? How will they perform migration?


Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> wrote in message
news:37C3B733...@darmstadt.gmd.de...


>
>
> Craig Brozefsky wrote:
>
> > Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:
> >
>

> <snip>


>
> > > Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 24-Aug-99 freebiots by
B...@earthlink.net
> > > > Economic dictatorship of access monitoring is creating enormous
> > > > differences
> > > > within the Internet, a medium that promised equal opportunities of
> > > > visibility
> > > > to all. The dramatic transformation of this medium in the last five
> > > > years
> > > > responds to the logic of market taking over the logic of
participation
> > > > and
> > > > knowledge.
> > > >
> > >
> > > Access monitoring, economic dictatorship? Have you looked at the
> > > internet lately? This paranoid crap will spring up for as long as the
> > > human race exists, but what is the point? Who is being harmed by a
site
> > > monitoring how many people look at mountain bikes and how many at
> > > blen

<SNIP!>

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
"Dan Argent" <arg...@info.bt.co.uk> writes:

> You know, I'm not sure you guys should even debate about this when
> it's very hoax like. It's gonna occur on the year 2000? Artificial
> Intelliegent agents? What platform? How will they perform
> migration?

There is no need for them to migrate, they can quite simply stay on
one host. It's not very hard to write such agents. They simply need
to perform some HTTP requests, and maybe parse some HTML. They could
run on any platform with a TCP/IP stack.

Even if it is a hoax, it has apparently raised the issue of what is
done with this collected data, how it is used, who collects it, and
what we can do to protect our own privvacy.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> writes:

> Then we might associate a social cost with a violation
> of one or the other, and we have a model upon which to
> take rational decisions.
>
> So, for instance, let us suppose that one option is tell
> marketers that
>
> They can store data about PRODUCTS but not data about PEOPLE.
>
> That is, they can store data about who buys apples, but
> not data about what someone buys. This means no names etc.

The collection of names is often neccesarry to provide service, for
instance, telephone service, or credit card service. In these cases
there is little that a consumer can do to ensure that their name does
not get tied into a marketing database about their purchase decisions.
Your proposal to have a government regulatory agency handle this is
laughable. The industry has already fought such attempts off, and if
the success of other regulatory agencies is any indication of the
teeth which this privacy czar would have, consumers might as well be
on their own.

Then you have the situations where the consumer is goaded into giving
their name, the Levi's store with it's biometrics database is an
example. Most people are not aware of what is done with such
information, or only have a partial understanding of it's importance,
and so they give it away freely in exchange for their hi-tech shopping
experience. Rational decision? I think not. They are
under-informed, and overwhelmed.

> Then we could think about how to enforce this: say, have
> the government monitor the corp., break in and force them
> to give up their codes, etc.

hehehehe. You really think another government regulatory commitee is
going to do anything? We've already run around this issue several
times in Congress, which basically tries to hand the ball back to
their lobbying buddies by supporting industry lead, non-regulated,
privacy policies. The industry hires a couple of desk-sitters to set
up a front organization with which corporations register. This front
has a set of "policies" with regards to privacy that all members much
follow, and those who follow these get the little icon to put on their
web-page. Of course, nearly as soon as this started up (directly
intended to head off any government regulatory action) it was revealed
that for the most part, the front doesn't really care all that much
about wether the members follow those policies, and there is little,
too nothing that consumers or outside parties can do to verify wether
or not the members conform.

> Then think about what the probability of the corporation
> deviating from the law is. Based on the scenario above, I
> would say approximately nil.

Yah, sure. OSHA and the FDA and all those regulatory agencies are
such effective organizations that we never see abuses from
corporations. Omar, put down that crack pipe.

> But Craig, it seems like you think that the EU style
> rule are effective protectors of anonymity, and that
> there are alternatives to simply cutting of the
> marketers. If that is the case, these alternatives
> *might* be better than simply releasing autonomous
> agents to misinform them.

They (EO regs) are not protectors of anonymity, but protectors of
consumer rights with regards to privacy about their purchase decisions
and their other interactions with corporations.

But even a set of regs at the EU level means little in the world of
international business. It's fairly easy for info gathered in the EU
to be passed off to US associates, or perhaps to US parent
organizations, and then distributed freely from there.

I think a course of action that relies upon a presently
non-existent/ineffective government regulatory body would be folly.
Something like this freebiots raises consumer awareness of just what
it is they are giving away to the corporations when they fill in the
blanks, and also can server to greatly lessen the value of that
information to the corporation when done at a proper scale. If the
return on investment isn't there, they will stop doing it. I think
that is unlikely to happen tho, as name keyed and verified data
collection will be much more difficult to spoof.

Another thing to consider about even the anonymous data collection is
that it condition consumers to give away this information without
thinking critically. The first time you're asked for your zip code at
BestBuy, you may stop and ponder what the fuck they want it for, but
the 10th or 20th time, you just reflexively give it. First your zip
code, then your phone number, then your name, later your SSN...

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> Access monitoring, economic dictatorship? Have you looked at the
> internet lately? This paranoid crap will spring up for as long as the
> human race exists, but what is the point? Who is being harmed by a site
> monitoring how many people look at mountain bikes and how many at

> blenders?

Amazon apparently does not care wether or not people want their
purchases publicized:

http://www.wired.com/news/news/business/story/21417.html

This article describes many of the concerns that people/organizations
have with such collection and subsequent public display of
information. The only real option at this time is boycotting Amazon.
This was a really dumb thing for Amazon too do, as it's only a matter
of days before corporations start blocking Amazon access from their
machines.

It's amusing to see that your fellow employees seem to have a thing
for Jewel and Alanis Morrisette. And I guess all those fat ass
programmers have discovered the latest fitness fad, Tae-Bo.

Tom Knight

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to

"Rev. Jihad Frenzy" wrote:

> What load of fucking dingoes kidneys THAT proposal is.
>
> OK, so you assholes fuck up all the web stats and the like.
>

> And then you'll start crying and weeping when AltaVista demands a
> creditcard number everytime you want to do a search.
>
> Thanks a lot for making the net and the web a battle ground with your
> antique leftist bullshit.
>

> Marx is dead. You can go home now.
>

Marxism? It's worse than that, he's a postmodernist, Jim. What's really
ironic is that he seems to have overlooked the fact that to get private
acess to the internet you need a computer and a modem, neither of which
are in any way free.

Michael Fitzpatrick

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
A little aside, relish, if you will, to accompany the main argument.
It has recently come to light in the Sunday Times (English) that the main
access portals, hotbot, Yahoo, Alta-Vista, etc. collectively only provide
coverage for about 40 - 50% of the Internet. Thus, these "freebiots" will
only affect this proportion in total.

Indeed, some of these "access brokers" have expressed the opinion that
much of the 'net is not worth covering because their user statistics show
that the majority of people only go to certain types of sites. Couple this
with the fact that it is only big corporations who can afford to widely
advertize a web address or maintain a site with a high profile domain name
and you soon get a narrowing of the potential candidates for coverage. As
time passes the "access brokers" focus will narrow, I believe we are
starting to see this beginning to happen now, and we end up with what is, in
effect, a "Corporate Net".

Ask yourself how many of those will be pornographers, the highest growth
area online?

What does that leave us with? Some form of "Folk Net", an underground
network of sites run by individuals whose over-riding concern is not profit?
Interlinked clusters of related sites that may branch out to touch each
other only sporadicaly? A series of Global Villages?

Remember that when Tim Berners-Lee concieved of the WWW (which is what this
thread is really centred on, Usenet and E-mail remaining relatively
unaffected by over-riding consumerism) there was no place for these Portal
sites in his scheme of things. The object was to convey information in a
networked environment, not to increase ratings, which is what "hits"
effectively are.

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 25-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by Craig
Brozefsky@red-bean
> > I was going to say that I admired the spirit of this, but the more I
> > think about it, it embodies everything I hate about activism.
>
> What is that? That is does not allow you to be complacent,
> comfortable in your fatalist view of the world as being overrun by
> capitalists? Is that what you hate about activism? That it calls
> into question your own excuses for inaction?

No, it gives excuses for people that don't ever actually produce
anything useful to feel good about themselves.

> It's nice to imagine that these sites are just collecting anonymous
> consumer decisions, but the harsh reality is that while some stop
> there, many more do not, they want names. This information is used at
> the discretion of the collectors, and while they have several
> "industry" policies, there are no real regulatory powers protecting
> you from the misuse of this information in the United States.

First of all, that's not really true. I will concede one thing, that
companies gathering information should have to have a section on their
website detailing the type of information they gather and who they sell
it to. Many sites do this already.

> > I hate to break it to you, but the entire internet explosion, and
> > the increases in bandwidth that we are all enjoying, the economics
> > of scale that will have high speed internet connections in every
> > home in america are all ude to these corporations. MONEY BUILDS THE
> > INTERNET.
>
> What is your point with stating the obvious?

A point that you obviously missed, judging by your comment later on
about not getting any interesting information in exchange. I'll explain
in a minute.

> > They do this everywhere now, grocery stores collect gigabytes of
> > information every day about what products people buy, in order to
> > more efficiently hand out coupons.
>

> It's not inevitable, you can choose not too participate.

I personally would have a hard time choosing not to buy groceries.

> > This is not a bad thing, and even if you find that it's somewhat
> > infringing on some sort of rights that you think you have, there's
> > nothing that can or should be done to stop it.
>
> Well, the europeans aren't convinced that it's hopeless, look at th
> EU privacy regulations compared to US regulations (or lack thereof).
> Not everyone in the world is convinced that everything might as well
> be sold out now becuase it's "inevitable".

One of the beautiful things about the US compared to much of europe is
our free market capitalist economy. If someone wants to keep track of
how many hard drives I buy, I'll trade that any day for living in a
socialist economy.

> > This creates the capital to give us more access to the types of
> > information that interest us in the internet.
>

> PS. I cannot think of a single bit of interesting information that I
> have gotten in exchange for usch data.
>

How about access to the internet? The exponential explosion of
information available to us is due entirely to the fact that every
company on the planet has discovered the internet. This is the drive
that is making the internet faster, larger, more easily accessable.
This is the drive that creates breakthroughs in internet encryption for
secure transactions, the drive that brings cable modems and ADSL to your
doorstep, the ability to order anything and everything to your doorstep,
to find information on any subject that you have interests in, the
ability to have free email accounts for every person in the world.. If
you use the internet at all, you can't help but benefit from the vast
number of companies using it for economic gain, because they are, in
turn, its food.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> > What is that? That is does not allow you to be complacent,
> > comfortable in your fatalist view of the world as being overrun by
> > capitalists? Is that what you hate about activism? That it calls
> > into question your own excuses for inaction?
>

> No, it gives excuses for people that don't ever actually produce
> anything useful to feel good about themselves.

Well, they seem to have produced a discussion of this issue, which I'm
sure at least a few readers of this newsgroup have learned something
from. I think that "mis-informational agents" are a productive
invention as well, particularly if they have found a way to deploy
them with any scalabitlity. Agent intentionality can be used to do
more than just build autonomous actors in a network of economic
exchange, and their freebiots are an example of just such an
application. Compare this to say, the productive output of a recent
college grad turned peon engineer at Sun. Which has told me more
about the world and given me more tools for thinking and acting?

> > It's nice to imagine that these sites are just collecting anonymous
> > consumer decisions, but the harsh reality is that while some stop
> > there, many more do not, they want names. This information is used at
> > the discretion of the collectors, and while they have several
> > "industry" policies, there are no real regulatory powers protecting
> > you from the misuse of this information in the United States.
>

> First of all, that's not really true. I will concede one thing, that
> companies gathering information should have to have a section on their
> website detailing the type of information they gather and who they sell
> it to. Many sites do this already.

What part above is not true? We saw today already that Amazon is
putting names to purchase decisions, and they are publishing purchase
decisions aggregated with associative information (companies, school,
non-profit organizations, government agencies). Their privacy policy
even says that the information will be used at their discretion.

> > > They do this everywhere now, grocery stores collect gigabytes of
> > > information every day about what products people buy, in order to
> > > more efficiently hand out coupons.
> >

> > It's not inevitable, you can choose not too participate.
>

> I personally would have a hard time choosing not to buy groceries.

The "member's club" which grocery stores use to collect purchase data
and tie it to names and individual shoppers is not a requirement for
shopping their, normally. Sam's Club and things like that are an
exception. So I don't think that it's starve, or give up the name,
yet. Get them straw-men outa here punk.

> > Well, the europeans aren't convinced that it's hopeless, look at th
> > EU privacy regulations compared to US regulations (or lack thereof).
> > Not everyone in the world is convinced that everything might as well
> > be sold out now becuase it's "inevitable".
>

> One of the beautiful things about the US compared to much of europe is
> our free market capitalist economy. If someone wants to keep track of
> how many hard drives I buy, I'll trade that any day for living in a
> socialist economy.

Well, I'm glad to see your ideological reflexes are operating at full
speed. Now what the hell does EU privacy regulations regarding the
collection, selling, and usage of data on private individuals have to
do with wether it's a "free market capitalist economy"? Rights of
individuals are not absolved by the free market, not even the Chicago
school fucks thought that.

It's one thing to think that the U.S. economy is a "free market
capitalist economy" and that the EU is setting up a "socialist
economy", and it's another thing to just reflexively spout some
bullshit line about the glory of the US being it's free-wheeling
capitalist tradition. The first one just shows a general lack of
historical knowledge, and no real education in political-economy,
something that I suppose is acceptable tho lamentable in a geek
trained at CMU. The second one is just plain ignorance, inexcusable.

Just to break it too you, the US economy is built on nothing
resembling a free market, never has, never will be. The free market
is what we pawn off on developing countries in order to pry open their
economies and rip out their resources. The US economy is a particular
powerful blend of state supported capitalism. The computer industry
and the internet are themselves the result of state pumping money into
a market, Public funds passing into private hands. That's not a "free
market" kid.

> How about access to the internet? The exponential explosion of
> information available to us is due entirely to the fact that every
> company on the planet has discovered the internet. This is the drive
> that is making the internet faster, larger, more easily accessable.

No, it's not because the companies discovered it. The thing exists
because the Pentagon system paid for it's development with public
funds, and then privatized it. I was using it long before it was
privatized, you can check the archives here on a.cp for the entire
discussion of that transaction as it occured.

But of course, there is no way to act in this world without some
interaction with corporations, with business, without some act of
consumption. What I don't get is how you see this as an excuse to not
excercise either your power as a consumer, a citizen, or a even an
engineer.

As I explained previously, you can, as a consumer, choose to boycot
Amazon, or Levis or other organizations who are abusing the privacy of
their patrons. The "freebiot" project attempts to make people aware
of this choice, aware that the information they are often coerced into
giving can be abused, aware that it has value and should not be given
lightly. Then I explained how you could address it as a citizen, by
pushing for regulations and other requirements. I think this option
is prolly not going to go far, because the government which is
supposed to administrate such regulatory bodies is very much in
cahoots with the same corporations it is trying to regulate. Then,
you can act as an engineer, and attempt to undermine these collection
mechanisms, or perhaps build infrastructure for supporting anonymous
transactions. This is part of what the freebiot project does as
well. Even if it is a hoax, it's illustrative of the power an
engineer can have on such a situation.

But it seems that you are intent upon naysaying any of these attempts
to act and protect ourselves, calling them unproductive. I think that
reaction is rooted in guilt, about your own inaction, about the role
you are playing as an engineer of this infrastructure which you are
now telling us is inescapable and uncontrollable, that we cannot
effect it and any attempt to just self-gratifying, mastubatory
fantasy.

> This is the drive that creates breakthroughs in internet encryption
> for secure transactions, the drive that brings cable modems and ADSL
> to your doorstep, the ability to order anything and everything to
> your doorstep, to find information on any subject that you have
> interests in, the ability to have free email accounts for every
> person in the world..

This is the death drive. This is capitalism gone pass the pleasure
principle, but their lobotomized brains can't see that. It's also
utter fantasy.

Rev. Jihad Frenzy

unread,
Aug 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/25/99
to
In article <37C38ADB...@earthlink.net>, BK <bjk...@earthlink.net> wrote:

> Rev. Jihad Frenzy wrote:
>
> > And then you'll start crying and weeping when AltaVista demands a
> > creditcard number everytime you want to do a search.
> >
> > Thanks a lot for making the net and the web a battle ground with your
> > antique leftist bullshit.
>

> Greetings-----]
>
> I posted that because it sounded so odd...... I don't agree with the
> "Freebiotic" protest which is being planned for 1-1-00 because I don't
> think that anyone even looks at banners and ads on portal sites......do
> they ?
> (maybe newbies)......or AOL slaves.......hah!
>
> So the point is moot........the commercialization of every atom in the
> universe is inevitable. The best protest ( in my opinion) is the old
> Irish act called the BOYCOTT.
>
>
>
>
> PEACE
>

Just to be clear, I really wasn't pissed off at you, personally. If that
came across, I sincerely apologise to you. That wasn't my intention.

I was just so honked off at the whole concept of freebiots and the chronic
annoyance they could cause on an already chronically annoying internet/WWW,
that I let myself spew unidirectionally.

Omar Haneef

unread,
Aug 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/26/99
to

Craig Brozefsky wrote:

> Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> writes:
>
> > Then we might associate a social cost with a violation
> > of one or the other, and we have a model upon which to
> > take rational decisions.
> >
> > So, for instance, let us suppose that one option is tell
> > marketers that
> >
> > They can store data about PRODUCTS but not data about PEOPLE.
> >
> > That is, they can store data about who buys apples, but
> > not data about what someone buys. This means no names etc.
>
> The collection of names is often neccesarry to provide service, for
> instance, telephone service, or credit card service. In these cases
> there is little that a consumer can do to ensure that their name does
> not get tied into a marketing database about their purchase decisions.
> Your proposal to have a government regulatory agency handle this is
> laughable. The industry has already fought such attempts off, and if
> the success of other regulatory agencies is any indication of the
> teeth which this privacy czar would have, consumers might as well be
> on their own.

I just want to point out that privacy is AN issuewith A value, and wealth
generated by a company
(or production capacity of a society) not being
wasted on something for which there is no market
is ANOTHER issue with another value. It is not clear
that messing up marketing statistics for EVERYONE
is an optimal solution just because some (most?
almost all?) companies, on some accounts, abuse
their power.

Of course, it might be a good solution, but it is not
a given. A discussion should ensue about the costs and
benefits and the probabilities of attaining both. I
am not married to particular scenario. Your response,
that historically legislation has proven inneffective
in curbing the abuse of consumners, is appropriate
(I mean, if I was really interested I'd ask for cases
and statistics). However, the point of my post is that
it should be framed as if you really are discussing
alternatives and not simply interested in getting rid
of corporate statistics departments.

I think when you bust in with loaded adjectives it makes
the reader feel like you aren't really interested in
finding out what the right thing to do is. You made up
your mind a long time ago about who the bad guys are
and who the good guys are and the good guys should win
whatever the particular positions are. For the reader
who has not gone through the same revelations, and has
not developed intuitions about the teams, all talk of
the issues seems to have disappeared.

This effect is worse in the case of Tobin who has also
decided who the good and bad guys are, only he has
arrived upon different decisions.

Picture me, in the middle, trying to figure out if it really
is true about, say Amazon.com? Should I care? (I do, but
should I relax about it?) Will it influence my healthcare?

By the way, if legislation really is inneffective, and the
abuses are as widespread as you claim, and their ramifications
as "profound", then I would be in favour of freebiots. If I
were in a position to make such a judgement, I would look
up the facts to make sure.

-Omar

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/26/99
to
Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 25-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by Craig
Brozefsky@red-bean
> application. Compare this to say, the productive output of a recent
> college grad turned peon engineer at Sun. Which has told me more
> about the world and given me more tools for thinking and acting?

I know you think you're being witty by looking at my website and making
snide comments about the information gleaned therein, but I would assure
you that your points are missing their mark. I'm neither graduated, nor
a "peon" engineer. I'm starting my own corporation, after gathering
information about corporate workplaces. But that's neither here nor
there. It's just foolish to try for petty personal attacks, like your
later comment about CMU education based on your incomplete information,
because despite your ignorance, I'm actually well versed in politics and
history, even though I go to a "geek" school.

And if you think that a tool meant to clog my bandwidth and harass
companies providing products on the internet has given you tools for
thinking and acting, that's pretty sad.


> No, it's not because the companies discovered it. The thing exists
> because the Pentagon system paid for it's development with public
> funds, and then privatized it. I was using it long before it was
> privatized, you can check the archives here on a.cp for the entire
> discussion of that transaction as it occured.

I'm not talking about existance, although your stubbornness to see my
point is almost impressive. I'm talking about the current state and
development of not only the internet but information technology. The
government laid the framework back in the days of gopher, what we have
now is purely the product of large scale commercial economic
development. Biting the hand that feeds you is counterproductive and
reactionary. As was mentioned in an earlier post by someone, the way we
are heading is a large corporate section of the web that is used by 95%
of the population, and then the rest of the web, which exists BECAUSE
the commercial section was developed, which is what those in the know
will actually use. Nothing that I've purchased on the web has come from
a site large enough to use the information sampling that triggered this
conversation, because I use the smaller underground sites that will
always exist.

This has been my point all along, that no matter what we do, there will
be privacy concerns. There will always be big sites monitoring usage,
just as people do in the meat world, but we learn to deal with it, and
on the whole, it doesn't affect us that much. It affects mostly the
bovine masses on WebTV, who only shop at nike.com or well recognized
corporate trademarks.

> But it seems that you are intent upon naysaying any of these attempts
> to act and protect ourselves, calling them unproductive. I think that
> reaction is rooted in guilt, about your own inaction, about the role
> you are playing as an engineer of this infrastructure which you are
> now telling us is inescapable and uncontrollable, that we cannot
> effect it and any attempt to just self-gratifying, mastubatory
> fantasy.

You sound like the kind of person that would spout mindless PC rhetoric
about guilt in just about any situation where you are challenged,
whether it be the internet or rights of american indians or the
unfairness of standardized testing on minorities or a million other
issues.

My reaction is based on logic and hatred of the self righteous arrogance
of those drawn towards activism. If I had a problem with what was
happening, I would develop a web of advertisers that wasn't allowed to
sample data, instead of destructively attacking the existing market.
That is the difference between me and activists, I believe in production
and constructive activity, activists believe in large groups of whining
bastards throwing stones, and I have no respect for them. Any role I
play in this infrastructure will be one I am proud of, and will have no
problem defending.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/26/99
to
Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 25-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by Craig
> Brozefsky@red-bean

> > application. Compare this to say, the productive output of a recent
> > college grad turned peon engineer at Sun. Which has told me more
> > about the world and given me more tools for thinking and acting?
>

> I know you think you're being witty by looking at my website and making
> snide comments about the information gleaned therein, but I would assure
> you that your points are missing their mark. I'm neither graduated, nor
> a "peon" engineer. I'm starting my own corporation, after gathering
> information about corporate workplaces. But that's neither here nor
> there. It's just foolish to try for petty personal attacks, like your
> later comment about CMU education based on your incomplete information,
> because despite your ignorance, I'm actually well versed in politics and
> history, even though I go to a "geek" school.

Well, I'm sure that information was innacurate, the point was not to
make pointed attacks but just to illustrate that alot of information
is available online about a person, some of it willingly given, some
of it just old newspaper articles and the like. The intent was not to
bag on you, cause that would be alot like bagging on myself. I
actually figured you were reasonably intelligent anyways since you got
the Pres. Scholar candidacy and were at Sun only three or so years
after H.S. (internship?). I'll admit I misapplied some of it, but
it's something of a traditional conversational tactic in this group,
an attempt at personalization.

My comments about your CMU education had little to do with anything I
found online, CMU is actually one of the only educational institutions
I respect, but were based entirely on your presentation of yourself in
this particular thread. As for the well-versed in politics and
history part, your not convincing anyone. The "free market" lines,
and the presentation of EU political-economy as socialist are giving
you away. Those are very uneducated and unresearched opinions. Those
mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of, that is just how most people
are taught in the U.S. If you are interested in finding out more
about the actual structure of U.S. economy and how the "free market"
is used, me and others on this group can reccomend several books. As
for the EU thing, you just need to actually read some socialists and
learn about some real socialists governments and you'll see the
differences between the EUs unification of a trans-national market and
socialism, they are nearly polar opposites.

> And if you think that a tool meant to clog my bandwidth and harass
> companies providing products on the internet has given you tools for
> thinking and acting, that's pretty sad.

Well, if your reaction to it is motivated by hate, as you state below,
I'm sure it's not going to generate any thought. But I try not to
respond to things with hate, disgust sure, but hate doesn't help you
think. Having been involved with facilitating internet commerce for
the last 4 years, I can appreciate those things which seek to disrupt
the frictionless flow of exchange. It's usually been my job to keep
it flowing, doing security for brokerage firms, and transaction system
development for banks. Let me illustrate some of the lines of
thoughts that popped into my head when I heard about the freebiots.

First, I thought of how Freebiots are almost the inverse of some of
the classic "problem" spaces of Agent-oriented programming[1]. Most
AOP problem spaces assume thruthful information is given by the
agents, and that their intentions are obvious and well-stated. On a
more direct level, the AOP version of the "video store rental
application" (that app in a problem domain that every book on the
subject uses as it's example), is the commerce agent, the agent which
goes out and gathers information about prices on a product and then
purchases it for you at the best price or whatever parameters you
wanted to maximize. The Freebiot is the inverse of this. It's an
anti-commerce agent. The Freebiot and other disruptive agents are the
reality of attempting to build any type of commerce system. You must
assume that the agents(artificial or otherwise) will attempt to
provide false information, or that they will attempt to disrupt your
service, otherwise you will be building your business on very thin
ice. So in a professional capacity, I am obligated to pay attention
and think about antagonistic agents.

One of the stated goals of the freebiot project was to render
worthless the collected data. What neat about that is that it does
not even need to make that sizeable a dent in database, just a
statistically significant amount. I doubt this partcular project will
make such a dent, but several such projects could easily destroy the
value in this collected information on targeted sites. Perhaps they
should just focus on the worse offenders? I'm sure that most sites
are not prepared to deal with antagonist agents.

Second, the Freebiot calls into question just who is the subject of
this collected information, What makes it valuable to a point
where it can fund entire websites? It can be sold for sometimes
millions of dollars, and is basically becoming one of the most crucial
revenue streams for online content providers. As more transactions
become automated and take place between two artificial agencies will
the value of this information change at all? Will the mode of
marketing change? I think it will drastically.

Presently the information is used in an attempt to discern the desire
of humans, but as the transactions become more automated they will not
register desire at all, but rather codified intentionality. If you
can discern the parameters of this encoded intentionality you can
treat it as a game-theory problem and maximize your profit from a
given transaction. More concretely, if I know what an automated agent
is looking for, and what they do not take into consideration, I have
room to mazimize my profit from a transaction by exploiting the agents
blindspots. Even if it's a penny difference, processing several
million transactions a day will million quite a bit of dough. If my
competitors do not have that information, I am at an advantage. If
I'm MS, and I build the agents as well as the servers, imagine how
much control I can excercise. A real-world example is the play of
bidding agents in the online auctions, with their attempt to exploit
weaknesses in human agency; having to sleep, not having millisecond
resolution timers built in.

You also will need to be able to identify the agent you are
communicating with in some cryptographically secure manner (you do
realize how difficult it is to deploy a trans-national public-key
infrastructure, especially if you live in the US). But will there
need to be a meat-space identity tied to it at all, perhaps just a
financial identity is all that is needed, and that could facilitate
anonymity. If we forgo the meat-space identity, then we are no longer
measuring the desire of a human, but simply the intentionality and
decision-making prowess of an automated bank account. All that
collected info loses it's value as a snapshot of human desire, but
gains other value.

Third, with regards to the protection of privacy, the freebiots are
very much an engineers response, not an engineers rheotirc th This is
always interesting to me when it becomes disruptive to commerce,
because so much of what an engineer is indoctrinated in is
productivity, efficiency, efficacy. This is directly anti-productive,
I agree with you on that. Where we disagree I think is on wether that
makes it worthless or not. In the context of the other discussion
here on the social responsibitlities of the technocratic class
(engineers, hackers, coders, scientists) this is an example of
engineers attempting to excercise what they think will bring about
some social change (in the awareness of consumers, or perhaps in the
destruction of an entire revenue stream for corporations).

These are the most prominent lines of thought that occured to me when
I read about the Freebiots. I'm not trying to school you with them,
just illustrating that there is quite a bit to think about here, and
that reacting with "hatred" is rather wasteful.

> This has been my point all along, that no matter what we do, there will
> be privacy concerns. There will always be big sites monitoring usage,
> just as people do in the meat world, but we learn to deal with it, and
> on the whole, it doesn't affect us that much. It affects mostly the
> bovine masses on WebTV, who only shop at nike.com or well recognized
> corporate trademarks.

Your point tho has been flying all over the place, perhaps now you are
settling on one, as you've been forced to reason your response out
during the course of this conversation. Your initial point was that
the freebiots were inneffective and meaningless, then you said they
were destructive and disruptive. If they are destructive then we
would have to consider them effective, as disruption is what their
intent was. If they were ineffective in their authors intent, then
they could not be destructive, as he is actively trying to disrupt and
destroy the present systems. This pretzel logic is what happens when
you mix "logic and hatred".

Now it seems you are settling on a more refined point, that the
freebiots will not stop sites from collecting data, and that as
consumers we will need to be wary of this at all times. This is a
point I can agree with for the most part.

I think your mistaken tho if you believe that it doesn't effect you
just as much as it effects the "bovine masses". That's a pretty
common misconception around these here parts. Your digital identity
is just as much caught up in their numbers as Joe Sheep. Also
consider something like the dillema ZMagazine is in, where they do not
accept advertising (advertising in news journalism is quite
problematic) so they cannot use use the established methods for
raising funds online, advertising. If this data collection becomes
the the dominant revenue stream (as it is for some sites already) then
it becomes difficult to support your alternative sites without them
agreeing to spy on you. Alot of sites will have other revenue streams
they can fall back on, but not all of them.

> My reaction is based on logic and hatred of the self righteous arrogance
> of those drawn towards activism.

I don't think you can respond with "logic and hatred" at the same
time, hatred erases logic and rational, makes it little more than a
petty tool for shoehorning your hatred into acceptable rhetorical
structures of argumentation. I think you responded with hatred, and
then applied logic as an afterthought to justify your intense
reaction. I'm not trying to be righteous here, cause I do the same
thing all the time.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/26/99
to
Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> writes:

> I just want to point out that privacy is AN issuewith A value, and
> wealth generated by a company (or production capacity of a society)
> not being wasted on something for which there is no market is
> ANOTHER issue with another value. It is not clear that messing up
> marketing statistics for EVERYONE is an optimal solution just
> because some (most? almost all?) companies, on some accounts, abuse
> their power.

It seems to me that you are proposing that we view privacy and wealth
and two values whose relation to one another is somewhat antagonistic,
and we want to maximize both values at the same time. If this is not
the case, perhaps you should just stop reading this right now and post
a clarification. I see privacy not as an issue with a value, but as
an inalienable Right, and as such, it can't be exchanged and therefor
has no value. Try throwing that into your proposed costs/benefit
analysis and see how far you get.

It's precisely the conception that privacy, freedom of speech, human
rights, and other vital aspects of the "citizen", can be dealt with as
values in an exchange economy that undermines them. Privacy then
becomes a priviledge of those who can afford it (some utility
companies already charge 50 bux more for initial service setup if you
do not give them you SSN). Freedom of Speech is another priviledge of
those who can afford it, or who fall within the bounds of speech
facilitated by those in power. Human rights becomes a priviledge of
those who can afford it, girls in third world countries that we can
get to labor in sweatshops gluing soles on Air Jordans get no human
rights.

The overall result: The consumer has no rights, the consumer's only
power is in the dollar, and that power is useless against
trans-national corporations. The worker has no rights, only their
value as labor, and that is also a nearly a useless power in a global
economy that can ship jobs oversees in a second, unless you happen to
be one of a very very few people in the global economy whose labor
skill happens to be scarce at the moment.

I am reminded of a coworker, whose ex-girlfreind studied art mgmt or
marketing or something. She was convinced that all relations could be
understood in the light of a costs/benefit analysis, and that one
could then maximize benefits while reducing costs for one or both
sides. I don't mean just business relations, but everything. She was
unshakeable in this belief. Sex, mother-child love, obsessional
stalking, homicidal mania, you name it and she dutifully stuffed it
into a value equation, completely oblivious to the severe damage done
to any of those relations, and blind to any surplus part which was not
reducable to a exchangeable value. I could not tell if it was the
education, or the upper-class up-bringing in Singapore.

BTW, Those marketing statistics are not for everyone tho Omar, they
are owned by a specific entity, and sold for rather large sums of
money to other entities. They don't really benefit all of us, just
those with something to sell to us and the money to carry out those
marketing compaigns. In the same way, I find suspect your
juxtaposition of "production capacity of a society" and "wealth
generated by a company".

What is also suspect about your presentation is that as the individual
concerned for my privacy, I am supposed to consider the possible
negative effects that has on the wealth of the companies violating it
(or is there another reason that you juxtaposition that wealth with
the "production capacity of a society") and the waste that I may cause
by not making myself known to someone who might want to sell me a
product. But on the other side, they not consider their effects on me
mas they can appeal to the unquestionable and inalienable right to
pursue wealth in a free market, and can even say that it is increasing
the productive capacity of society! It's a one way street indeed.

So, I am going to refuse to view Privacy as a VALUE, I prefer to see
it as an inalienable Right. In light of this, there is not much more
I can do in this response to your post. I can thank you for the post
tho, as it made me step back from the conversation with Tobin and
realize that I was not really taking the best approach.

> and statistics). However, the point of my post is that
> it should be framed as if you really are discussing
> alternatives and not simply interested in getting rid
> of corporate statistics departments.

But I am quite simply interested in getting rid of the corporate
statistics departments, as such an outcome is inevitable with the
disollution of corporations as a whole. Oh but hold! Such a position
does not jive with a rational costs/benefit analysis, because our
welfare is directly tied to the trans-national corporations, or so we
are told; their welfare is our welfare, but our welfare means nothing
to them, except in our capacity to fuel them as consumers and
laborers.

> Picture me, in the middle, trying to figure out if it really
> is true about, say Amazon.com? Should I care? (I do, but
> should I relax about it?) Will it influence my healthcare?

I picture you in the middle trying to do a costs benefit analysis and
completely oblivious to the ideological position that puts YOU in,
secure in your conception of that strategy as academically and
intellectually sound since it is presently compliant with the mode of
thought your peers re-enforce in you.

> By the way, if legislation really is inneffective, and the
> abuses are as widespread as you claim, and their ramifications
> as "profound", then I would be in favour of freebiots. If I
> were in a position to make such a judgement, I would look
> up the facts to make sure.

You just told me that you are not in the position to make such a
judgement because you do not know the facts and thus cannot properly
justify your position with a rationalists cost/benefit analysis,
maximmizing the two values of privacy and corporate wealth. Now you
are telling me that if you were in the position to make such a
judgement that you would look up the facts. You seem to have gotten
yourself into a bind here. Or should I understand that you really are
just saying that you don't have the time to do that research and
perform your analysis? If so, why are you expecting me to do that for
you, on a playing field of your own design which quite completely
forecloses on any of the possibilities that I see as viable?

Omar Haneef

unread,
Aug 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/27/99
to

Craig Brozefsky wrote:

> Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> writes:
>
> > I just want to point out that privacy is AN issuewith A value, and
> > wealth generated by a company (or production capacity of a society)
> > not being wasted on something for which there is no market is
> > ANOTHER issue with another value. It is not clear that messing up
> > marketing statistics for EVERYONE is an optimal solution just
> > because some (most? almost all?) companies, on some accounts, abuse
> > their power.
>
> It seems to me that you are proposing that we view privacy and wealth
> and two values whose relation to one another is somewhat antagonistic,
> and we want to maximize both values at the same time. If this is not
> the case, perhaps you should just stop reading this right now and post
> a clarification. I see privacy not as an issue with a value, but as
> an inalienable Right, and as such, it can't be exchanged and therefor
> has no value. Try throwing that into your proposed costs/benefit
> analysis and see how far you get.
>

There are two ways to go about setting principles to enforce:
maximizeutility, or protect rights and then maximize utility. The rights
protection
doesn't work if (1) it gets too expensive, or (2) a pair of rights
collide.


> It's precisely the conception that privacy, freedom of speech, human
> rights, and other vital aspects of the "citizen", can be dealt with as
> values in an exchange economy that undermines them.

I think you misread me. I want to estabilish an OUGHT before Iestabilish a
do. The question is: what OUGHT the situation be.
i.e. if I were god, or gates or clinton, what should I aim for. For
this one, I propose, should do costs v. benefits. The analysis
is not support for the free market, as you seem to frame it.


> Privacy then
> becomes a priviledge of those who can afford it (some utility
> companies already charge 50 bux more for initial service setup if you
> do not give them you SSN). Freedom of Speech is another priviledge of
> those who can afford it, or who fall within the bounds of speech
> facilitated by those in power. Human rights becomes a priviledge of
> those who can afford it, girls in third world countries that we can
> get to labor in sweatshops gluing soles on Air Jordans get no human
> rights.

Not because one does a cost-benefit analysis. Surely you are confusingthe
two. It seems silly, in a "you're hitler" kinda way to compare my
proposal to actually look at what is going on with sweatshops in the
3rd world. Even for this ng, this is too much.

I am proposing you don't just knock out ALL attempts to gain information
by corporations, just those that do damage to people. This might be a
large subset of the data collected. Then we can think about how to contain

this subset. This has nothing to do with trading human rights for
corporate
values. It is tiresome to bring that up.


> The overall result: The consumer has no rights, the consumer's only
> power is in the dollar, and that power is useless against
> trans-national corporations. The worker has no rights, only their
> value as labor, and that is also a nearly a useless power in a global
> economy that can ship jobs oversees in a second, unless you happen to
> be one of a very very few people in the global economy whose labor
> skill happens to be scarce at the moment.
>
> I am reminded of a coworker, whose ex-girlfreind studied art mgmt or
> marketing or something. She was convinced that all relations could be
> understood in the light of a costs/benefit analysis, and that one
> could then maximize benefits while reducing costs for one or both
> sides. I don't mean just business relations, but everything. She was
> unshakeable in this belief. Sex, mother-child love, obsessional
> stalking, homicidal mania, you name it and she dutifully stuffed it
> into a value equation, completely oblivious to the severe damage done
> to any of those relations, and blind to any surplus part which was not
> reducable to a exchangeable value. I could not tell if it was the
> education, or the upper-class up-bringing in Singapore.

Dude, she is psycho. You can't blame the upper class in Singapore.

> BTW, Those marketing statistics are not for everyone tho Omar, they
> are owned by a specific entity, and sold for rather large sums of
> money to other entities. They don't really benefit all of us, just
> those with something to sell to us and the money to carry out those
> marketing compaigns. In the same way, I find suspect your
> juxtaposition of "production capacity of a society" and "wealth
> generated by a company".

I think that there is some benefit to a company NOT producinggoods that no
one will buy. I think this benefit is actually
enormous, and that our severly strained natural resources should
be saved if at all possible.

I know this is a bourgy stance, but hopefully you've gotten over the
shock of that by now.


> What is also suspect about your presentation is that as the individual
> concerned for my privacy, I am supposed to consider the possible
> negative effects that has on the wealth of the companies violating it
> (or is there another reason that you juxtaposition that wealth with
> the "production capacity of a society") and the waste that I may cause
> by not making myself known to someone who might want to sell me a
> product.

Before you decide that if this freebiots are a good idea, yeah.You don't
have to come to any particular conclusions. In fact,
I suspect you'll come to the same ones.

> But on the other side, they not consider their effects on me
> mas they can appeal to the unquestionable and inalienable right to
> pursue wealth in a free market, and can even say that it is increasing
> the productive capacity of society! It's a one way street indeed.

Well, no. Since we are talking about OUGHTS, they ought to lookat the
influence on you. Look, there are good things and bad things
about capital. One doesn't make the other go away.


> So, I am going to refuse to view Privacy as a VALUE, I prefer to see
> it as an inalienable Right. In light of this, there is not much more
> I can do in this response to your post. I can thank you for the post
> tho, as it made me step back from the conversation with Tobin and
> realize that I was not really taking the best approach.

I noticed a distinct improvement, and am glad for it.

> > and statistics). However, the point of my post is that
> > it should be framed as if you really are discussing
> > alternatives and not simply interested in getting rid
> > of corporate statistics departments.
>
> But I am quite simply interested in getting rid of the corporate
> statistics departments, as such an outcome is inevitable with the
> disollution of corporations as a whole. Oh but hold! Such a position
> does not jive with a rational costs/benefit analysis,

On the contrary, you seem to have done exactly such a thing,if somewhat
biased.


> because our
> welfare is directly tied to the trans-national corporations, or so we
> are told; their welfare is our welfare,

There is a complicated function that maps the welfare of a corp.on to the
welfare of the individual. I don't think anyone knows
it, but I think you're arguing with the wrong guy.


> but our welfare means nothing
> to them, except in our capacity to fuel them as consumers and
> laborers.
>
> > Picture me, in the middle, trying to figure out if it really
> > is true about, say Amazon.com? Should I care? (I do, but
> > should I relax about it?) Will it influence my healthcare?
>
> I picture you in the middle trying to do a costs benefit analysis and
> completely oblivious to the ideological position that puts YOU in,
> secure in your conception of that strategy as academically and
> intellectually sound since it is presently compliant with the mode of
> thought your peers re-enforce in you.

And I think you just confused me, repeatedly in a long post, withsome
Singaporean. It is kind of tiring. You are putting words in
my mouth and its taking all my energy just to spit them out.


> > By the way, if legislation really is inneffective, and the
> > abuses are as widespread as you claim, and their ramifications
> > as "profound", then I would be in favour of freebiots. If I
> > were in a position to make such a judgement, I would look
> > up the facts to make sure.
>
> You just told me that you are not in the position to make such a
> judgement because you do not know the facts and thus cannot properly
> justify your position with a rationalists cost/benefit analysis,

I mean a position, as in a position of power where I would haveto make a
decision that would be enforced or carried out. In that
case I would find out.

-Omar

Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me please.Post me
please.Post me please.


wiliam choehen

unread,
Aug 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/27/99
to
>he economics of scale that will have high
>speed internet connections in every home in america are all ude to these
>corporations
ehh 70% of the net tranfer are graphis... wonder what kind of sites
they are on ...


. MONEY BUILDS THE INTERNET. =20
eh mony comercsAIL the net PENTAGON build the internet ,UNVERSTY are
building the internet (internet2)


EVRYTHING IS JUST A SATE OF MIND

wiliam choehen

unread,
Aug 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/27/99
to
>Cyberpunk requires capitalism because it is the only way
>to get hi-tech gear to people at a mall price-point.

but havent open scources that u dont need capitalims too be dynamic
productiy? and red hat like companys (they will never be big copaerion
or eivl sice it alwasy be other geeks who will make simmalewr open
scoures for the masses software or they will satrt too devlop a other
open scources OS (like now hard core nerdes and hackers who devliop
for linuiux are moving too HURD becuse linux
get
too coumesd and too comersial )

and stallman have also started a free hardware project
I
>saw (and see) no other use for capitalism than its
>prolific productivity. This was posted when a 386SX with=20
>4 MBytes of ram was the common denomonator home box

and thjats only what it done iot havent make more creative thinges
whit the hardware whiote booste the speed on it or com,erlazi aslredy
devlopet unverstyu stuff .... just think abut whey will still use a15
year old desktop the windows system...

. It=20
>was also the reason why Microsoft was important to=20
>cyberpunk -- the bloated software pushed the horse power=20
>of the boxes available at the mall.

yhe and limted the posibeltys and creativets .

isnt just that what capitalims do tkae the ideas from a iventor
/visonary make it cheaper and bettr but never add som e real
dinfrents too it=20

>
>The incorporation of spy-code in chips (such as the
>Pentium III) alters this situation.

who woulden happen if nerds devloiped ther owen chips and made it
free=20

[0jh]

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
I actually agree with their protest.

Have you taken a look at what some Cookies actually store lately?

I think its fucking nosy of them.

What happened to all those wierd "rights of the individual" you
collonials crap on about anyway?

I'd have thought you lot'd have been all for it.

Anyway, why should we boycott what was once ours...?

[0jh]

In article <37C38ADB...@earthlink.net>,
BK <bjk...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>
> Rev. Jihad Frenzy wrote:
>
> > And then you'll start crying and weeping when AltaVista demands a
> > creditcard number everytime you want to do a search.
> >
> > Thanks a lot for making the net and the web a battle ground with your
> > antique leftist bullshit.
>
> Greetings-----]
>
> I posted that because it sounded so odd...... I don't agree with the
> "Freebiotic" protest which is being planned for 1-1-00 because I don't
> think that anyone even looks at banners and ads on portal sites......do
> they ?
> (maybe newbies)......or AOL slaves.......hah!
>
> So the point is moot........the commercialization of every atom in the
> universe is inevitable. The best protest ( in my opinion) is the old
> Irish act called the BOYCOTT.
>
> PEACE
>

> BK-BORG (version 2.01)
> ===================================================================================
>
> "Information is an important part of a balanced diet."
> ===================================================================================
>
> http://home.earthlink.net/~bjking/
> ===================================================================================
>
> ICQ # 4557591
> ===================================================================================
>
>

--
...


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.

[0jh]

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
What a load of bollocks.

"Free market economy?"

Run by the same morons who say we can't eat beef without growth hormone
or by clothes not made by sweatshops?

Is that freedom of choice?

Why should we accept what should be the single biggest revolution in
communication of ideas and information this century and next being turned
into a tool for the pale faced shallow eyed soulless fucks in marketting.

Call me crazy, bolshy or what the fuck ever, but I don't really see how
the sites I visit or the usernames/passwords I choose are anyones busines
but my own...

[0jh]

> One of the beautiful things about the US compared to much of europe is
> our free market capitalist economy. If someone wants to keep track of
> how many hard drives I buy, I'll trade that any day for living in a
> socialist economy.
>

> > > This creates the capital to give us more access to the types of
> > > information that interest us in the internet.
> >

> > PS. I cannot think of a single bit of interesting information that I
> > have gotten in exchange for usch data.
> >
>

> How about access to the internet? The exponential explosion of
> information available to us is due entirely to the fact that every
> company on the planet has discovered the internet. This is the drive
> that is making the internet faster, larger, more easily accessable.

> This is the drive that creates breakthroughs in internet encryption for
> secure transactions, the drive that brings cable modems and ADSL to your
> doorstep, the ability to order anything and everything to your doorstep,
> to find information on any subject that you have interests in, the

> ability to have free email accounts for every person in the world.. If
> you use the internet at all, you can't help but benefit from the vast
> number of companies using it for economic gain, because they are, in
> turn, its food.
>

> -----------* *----------------------------------------
> Tobin Coziahr "The man who hungers for truth should
> sha...@cmu.edu expect no mercy and give none."
> - HST
> ----------------* *---------------------------------------
>
>

--

Juno

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
My question is -- what do you call a luddite that uses technology to destroy
technology?
-- juno

BK <bjk...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:37C30905...@earthlink.net...


> The economy of the Internet is based on the access to information.
> Unlike
> broadcasting mass-media, the internet is an interactive communication
> medium,

> so there's no need for audimeters, because the access to information is
> made by


> individuals through computers with a two way connection to the net and
> have an
> IP address which leaves a trace on the servers. By monitoring and using
> such
> traces, companies have perverted the spirit of interactivity and have
> created
> frontiers that break the unity of the Internet and spoil the possibility
> of a
> culture of participation.
>
>
>
> Every time a server gets a hit and every time a search engine gets a
> query, the
> owners of the site learn about the needs, the desires and the interests
> of
> potential customers. Tracking access to information is made directly by
> server
> owners through their access statistics and indirectly through the search
>
> statistics provided by information search engines and directories. To
> some
> extent, the ownership of access information is more valuable than
> information
> itself, given that for a server owner information about access has a
> market

> price while information (knowledge) supposes a cost. This explains the
> fact

> Economic dictatorship of access monitoring is creating enormous
> differences
> within the Internet, a medium that promised equal opportunities of
> visibility
> to all. The dramatic transformation of this medium in the last five
> years
> responds to the logic of market taking over the logic of participation
> and
> knowledge.
>
>
>

> FREEBIOTS is a web specific art proposal by Roc Parés, which uses
> information
> and communication technologies to create automatic and unpredictable
> hits and
> queries all over the Internet. The intention is to dismantle the present
>
> economic logic of the Internet, in order to take it forward to the state
> of
> freedom dreamed of by its utopian founders and defenders.
>
>
>

> FREEBIOTS are artificially intelligent agents, which will start moving
> around
> the Internet in January the 1st, 2000 at 00:00.00 GMT. Their mission is
> to
> create confusion by invalidating all access and search statistics on the
>
> Internet. Desired foreseeable consequences are the end of advertising
> and
> investing by all corporations on the World Wide Web, the loss of
> credibility of
> all market trends detected through Internet tracking, the restitution of
> free
> public space and respect for intellectual property rights as opposed to
> copy
> and access rights.
>
>

> PEACE
>
>
> BK-BORG (version 2.01)
>
============================================================================

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> writes:

Let me clarify that I am not confusing you with the method of analysis
you are proposing. I find the thought of using a costs/benefit
analysis to figure out whether we should respect the rights of
individuals pretty grotesque, a misapplication of a sometimes useful
methodology. I believe that misapplication lends itself to
rationalizing abuses of what I see as rights. In pointing this out, I
do not mean to imply that you yourself are responsible, tho you and me
are both implicated, or that any application of a costs/benefit
analysis will result in such abuses.

> There are two ways to go about setting principles to enforce:
> maximizeutility, or protect rights and then maximize utility. The
> rights protection doesn't work if (1) it gets too expensive, or (2)
> a pair of rights collide.

This paragraph needs to be unpacked. Along with your comments about
establishing "OUGHTS" it seems that you are attempting to generate
some type of ethical framework, via cost/benefit analysis. Then you
would like to consider all of the options of "enforcing" this ethical
framework, via cost/benefit analysis also.

First, you are assuming that we are seeking to maximize utility. What
if we sought to maximize diversity? What if we sought to maximize
something that was not directly measurable and quantifiable, as
ultimately "utility" is. As someone recently said to me, economics is
the last respected voodoo science. My goal is not to maximize utility,
it is to maximize liberty. Liberty is not really quantifiable in a
meaningful way.

Second, you say there are two methods (there are actually many more)
but you only present one. Your second method is really the first one
in disguise, the exception for when the right gets to expensive makes
it really no different than the first, except that you perhaps
establish a margin or tolerance for that variable. Unless you make
the expense of protecting a right a non-issue, a given for the
analysis, then you will always at some point rationalize it away.
Perhaps the privacy of Joe SixPack is not worth stopping Amazon from
selling his purchasing habits along with a million other people for
ludicrously large sums of money that Joe will never see.

Third, the notion of "enforcing" implies a position of power, but as
you state below, neither of us are really in a position of power.
This drastically changes the set of tactics we are capable of
deploying (legislation is right out, along with physical force). The
question you seem to be trying to get me to answer is of little
interest to either of us. I am not interested in what either the
Bills or God would choose to enforce, I am interested in what Craig
and Omar can do, not enforce from a position of power. We have to
work with an ethics of our own, not with an ethics of an omnipotent
being, filthy rich man, or fascist tyrant.

Last, you are not telling us whose "benefit" we are measuring against
whose "cost". Third world labor is a no brainer, it's my benefit of
not paying 100 more bucks for my kicks, at the cost of an Indonesian
girl being worked to death and slowly dying from the fumes. In the
case of privacy, it gets a little more difficult to determine who
benefits, and who pays the cost because we are dealing with a
non-quantifiable value, and a indeterminant subject.

I think the most interesting question here is "who benefits" because
that is a persistent issue that will need to be answered whenever you
try and perform such an analysis. I also think that the ambiguities
and limitation of the cost/benefit analysis make it an undesirable
method for evaluating way of protecting privacy, particularly when it
is framed as you have it in your post (see comment below).

Within the deployment of a particular tactic for protecting privacy, I
think we can actually apply a costs/benefit analysis, but with a much
different set of values to maximize. We will need to determine whose
benefit and cost we are measuring, along which vector we want to
maximize them, and what space we have to act in. Are you interested in
us attempting to determine those criteria? I think we should begin
with determining "who benefits".

> > It's precisely the conception that privacy, freedom of speech, human
> > rights, and other vital aspects of the "citizen", can be dealt with as
> > values in an exchange economy that undermines them.
>

> I think you misread me. I want to establish an OUGHT before
> I establish a do. The question is: what OUGHT the situation be.


> i.e. if I were god, or gates or clinton, what should I aim for. For
> this one, I propose, should do costs v. benefits. The analysis is
> not support for the free market, as you seem to frame it.

The analysis does not directly support the "free market" correct, but
it is indeed a creature of political-economy. The "free market" came
up because of the way you framed this particular analysis, setting up
the value of privacy against the value of wealth of the corporations -
which you parenthetically called "social production". The "free
market" is where the wealth of the corporations is amassed. I
explained this sets up an artificial inverse relation between the
privacy of an individual and social productivity thru the link by
juxtaposition you made between wealth of corporation generated by
collecting this data, and social production. This link does not go
the other way tho, the well being of corporations is tied directly to
"social production". Because the individual whose privacy we are
evaluating is implicitly part of the socius, it would seem that
privacy always acting against his own good, because it can diminish
social production.

You see, the question of "Whose benefit?" is begging to be answered.
Twice you are positing that the beneficiary includes me, as part of
the social whose productivity is being evaluated, as as a beneficiary
of such statistics (when you say that messing up these statistics for
EVERYONE may not be the best idea). As I stated before, I am not the
beneficiary of these statistics in any real manner.

> I am proposing you don't just knock out ALL attempts to gain
> information by corporations, just those that do damage to
> people. This might be a large subset of the data collected. Then we
> can think about how to contain this subset. This has nothing to do
> with trading human rights for corporate values. It is tiresome to
> bring that up.

I never proposed that corporations be made blind to all our actions,
nor do I think the Freebiots or any other project ever has a chance of
carrying that out. I think we have a misunderstanding on that point.
The EU regulations, in spirit if not in enforcement, are a good
starting point for talking about what type of data should be
protected, and what controls individuals should be given over the
information. These regulations proceeded from an understanding of
privacy as a recognized fundamental right, not as a service or
capability of service to individuals which must be weighed against the
ability of corporations to gather wealth. For instance, the first two
paragraphs of directive 97/66/EC regarding privacy in the
telecommunications sector specifically are:

(1) Whereas Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with
regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement
of such data requires Member States to ensure the rights and
freedoms of natural persons with regard to the processing of
personal data, and in particular their right to privacy, in order
to ensure the free flow of personal data in the Community;

(2) Whereas confidentiality of communications is guaranteed in
accordance with the international instruments relating to human
rights (in particular the European Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) and the constitutions of
the Member States; The following link has a decent introduction to
the EU regs:

A more gentle introduction from the perspective of U.S. Marketeers is
available at:
http://www2.goldink.com/tm/monthlyarticles/1098international.html

> I think that there is some benefit to a company NOT producinggoods
> that no one will buy. I think this benefit is actually enormous, and
> that our severly strained natural resources should be saved if at
> all possible.

Yes, there may be some benefit to that, but this is orthogonal to the
issue of individual privacy. First, the real way to conserve
resources would be to produce only what is needed, not what will be
purchased. The ability of a corporation to target a demographic which
has a high percentage of desiring a commodity is much more likely to
allow the production of commodities for which desire is then
manufactured. Second, Marketing(the primary use of this information)
is the business of manufacturing desire, not satisfying need.

> There is a complicated function that maps the welfare of a corp.on
> to the welfare of the individual. I don't think anyone knows it, but
> I think you're arguing with the wrong guy.

Then how do we perform our costs/benefit analysis if a major part of
it, as you framed it, is utterly unknowable?

> I mean a position, as in a position of power where I would haveto make a
> decision that would be enforced or carried out. In that
> case I would find out.

How utterly boring. Yes, Omar, you are absolved of all responsibility
for thinking, because you have no power to enforce your decisions.

Andrea Chen

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
>
>
> There are two ways to go about setting principles to enforce:
> maximizeutility, or protect rights and then maximize utility. The rights
> protection
> doesn't work if (1) it gets too expensive, or (2) a pair of rights
> collide.


I'm glad the Supreme Court has at times disagreed. Thus in theory the
accused get lawyers even though this may increase and some due process
the cost of crime, most expression is legally protected even though we
might pay with child pornography and Nazis.

As for rights colliding it's like any other interests colliding, you
try to work out a mechanism which provides compromise or preeminence.

Under certain extremes your points are true. But if rights are
considered a priority, then to a significant extent they can be
mantained through stress. In many cases the restricting factor isn't
necessity, but social morality. For example the cost of *not* interning
the Japanese would have been little, indeed society might have gained.
The desire for vengence and racism was justified by the argument that
they were a potential danger (unacceptable cost) to society.

Your approach is potentially insidious. While certainly impractical
under extreme conditions there is certainly value in the claim that "no
cost is too great for freedom." If seriously practiced this would help
assure that rights were only sacrificed under extreme conditions and
perhaps even then if one excludes the "right of property" (purposefully
excluded from the Constitution) such loss might not be necessary. If
however cost is presented as the determining factor, it's very easy for
various costs to be deemed unacceptable and for rights to slip away.

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 26-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by Craig
Brozefsky@red-bean
> Your point tho has been flying all over the place, perhaps now you are
> settling on one, as you've been forced to reason your response out
> during the course of this conversation. Your initial point was that
> the freebiots were inneffective and meaningless, then you said they
> were destructive and disruptive. If they are destructive then we
> would have to consider them effective, as disruption is what their
> intent was. If they were ineffective in their authors intent, then
> they could not be destructive, as he is actively trying to disrupt and
> destroy the present systems. This pretzel logic is what happens when
> you mix "logic and hatred".

It's more of a case of incomplete information and evolution. My first
response was simply the end case of my logic, because I didn't know the
extent of the conversation, and I didn't want to write a treatise on
what was at the time a news blurb someone posted. My arguments were two
sides of the same coin, because in the long run I consider them
incredibly ineffective and meaningless, but I have no respect for them
because of their destructiveness. Sure, they'll cause some problems in
the short run, but you're not going to stop data collecting. Now we can
discuss things more logically, because you've dropped your condescention
mostly, and have stopped calling me "boy" and making jabs at my
education and station.

My point is more one of honesty. I think that if a site is completely
honest about what data it collects and how it is used, we have
absolutely no right to attack them for it. If you don't like it, shop
elsewhere, but they are providing a service or product to you, and you
know the conditions of this trade. It's all about the approach, if some
company claimed to not gather information but it was known that they
did, then attack away. This is my complete viewpoint - if someone's
personal rights are being infringed upon and they are not informed, or
if it is invasive, then we have every right to defend those rights. If
there is an established system in place where we know the rules, what
data is being collected, what is being done with it, etc, and we have a
choice whether or not to use it, we have no right to attack that system,
because they are providing a product and they have a right to do this in
the manner they see fit. In this case we are obligated to find a better
way, if it is that important to us.

I get the impression that we have the same core values regarding this,
but had a different snap judgement to the material presented.

> > My reaction is based on logic and hatred of the self righteous arrogance
> > of those drawn towards activism.
>
> I don't think you can respond with "logic and hatred" at the same
> time, hatred erases logic and rational, makes it little more than a
> petty tool for shoehorning your hatred into acceptable rhetorical
> structures of argumentation. I think you responded with hatred, and
> then applied logic as an afterthought to justify your intense
> reaction. I'm not trying to be righteous here, cause I do the same
> thing all the time.

Not at all. I arrive at my viewpoints with logic, and many of my
viewpoints include hatred. You can logically decide that you hate the
Holocaust, for example. I just have a strong dislike and lack of
respect for most activism, because I think it's not constructive at all.
There are so many people that whine and cast stones and hang out with
other whiners and think they're changing the world, while other people
go out and do something about it. They generally use politically
correct buzzwords, pepper their sentences with "overprivileged",
"repression", etc.. They have a pious disrespect for most things that I
hold as important, are paranoid about unimportant issues, and love to
tell people that they are, or should be guilty about just about
everything, almost like political catholicism.

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 27-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by
Omixo...@hotmail.com
> In general, if you don't want to be easily traced then skip the catalogs
> (whether paper or webpage), use hard currency, and carry your purchases
> home yourself. :)
>

Right, but do you know what most of that is used for? Coupons and
product placement. The coupons printed on the back of your receipts are
for products that you purchase most often. When I got my Safeway card,
I asked if I could leave off my address and phone number, and they said
sure. The rampant opinion here seems to be that the less they know
about you the better, but my god people, it's not so bad. They want you
to shop there, buy more groceries, and be happy with your shopping
experience. This is the same thing I run into when people start talking
about the government. The government is just a bunch of people running
the country. They're not evil, they're too inept to hide things like
aliens from us, there's not some crazy bastard in charge creating things
like the AIDS virus for no good reason. It's just people.

This is why I don't understand people so worried about information
collecting. If I got cold calls asking me to buy more Pop Tarts next
time I was in the store, I'd be pissed, but I don't. Most junk mail is
automatically created and sent out, most of this information is used to
HELP us, to make us want to buy more things, to decide what products are
selling. There are exceptions, but it's really not as evil as everyone
makes it out to be.

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 28-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by [0jh]
<h0...@my-deja.com>
> "Free market economy?"
>
> Run by the same morons who say we can't eat beef without growth hormone
> or by clothes not made by sweatshops?
>
> Is that freedom of choice?

Not only is it possible to get beef without hormones and clothes not
made in sweatshops, but even if you were right, it would still be a free
market economy. If you wanted, you could make and sell clothes, and you
could buy a farm and raise cattle. Neither of these points contradict
the fact that we have a free market economy.

A.Lizard

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
On 26 Aug 1999 23:12:53 -0500, Craig Brozefsky
<cr...@red-bean.com> wrote:

>Omar Haneef <han...@darmstadt.gmd.de> writes:
>
>> I just want to point out that privacy is AN issuewith A value, and
>> wealth generated by a company (or production capacity of a society)
>> not being wasted on something for which there is no market is
>> ANOTHER issue with another value. It is not clear that messing up
>> marketing statistics for EVERYONE is an optimal solution just
>> because some (most? almost all?) companies, on some accounts, abuse
>> their power.
>
>It seems to me that you are proposing that we view privacy and wealth
>and two values whose relation to one another is somewhat antagonistic,
>and we want to maximize both values at the same time. If this is not
>the case, perhaps you should just stop reading this right now and post
>a clarification. I see privacy not as an issue with a value, but as
>an inalienable Right, and as such, it can't be exchanged and therefor
>has no value. Try throwing that into your proposed costs/benefit
>analysis and see how far you get.

If you don't think privacy has an economic value, feel free to
send your next snailmail order for bestiality porn that you're
paying for via credit card a postcard with all that information
that no sane person would want the world to know.

One of the biggest barriers perceived by users to purchase over
the Internet is a fear that credit card and other personal
information will go to places they don't want it to go. Of
course, any knowledgable person knows that an shttp / https site
running 128 bit encryption means the information is secure in
transit. Of course, the 40 bit crypto that is highest level of
security that the US government will allow to be exported without
restriction is fairly useless.

Anti-cryptographic laws, regulations, etc. that the Clinton
Administration and other governments are trying to make law are
literally an attack on e-commerce, an attempt to sabotage the
future economic growth that any standard of living we want to
live at depends on.

"It's the economy, stupid" was the battle cry of the Clinton
campaign. Worked, too. Apparently, they've either forgotten that
slogan or are so incompetent that they don't get that this
applies to the Internet as well. Remember this if you go to the
polls and see the name of "The Man Who Invented the Internet"
Gore on the ballot.

Civil liberties is an abstract concept that the average citizen
simply doesn't get until his friendly neighborhood jack-booted
thugs kick down his door at midnight. Now, having civil liberties
or not having them is ultimately the difference between that
citizen getting a regular paycheck and not getting one. While it
is still true that not quite *every* element of the economy is
tied economically to the high-tech infrastructure yet, wait 5
years.

Marketing attacks on civil liberties as an attack on people's
wallets makes far more sense than trying to educate people to an
abstraction which may be quite simply beyond their intellectual
capability.

>It's precisely the conception that privacy, freedom of speech, human
>rights, and other vital aspects of the "citizen", can be dealt with as
>values in an exchange economy that undermines them. Privacy then
>becomes a priviledge of those who can afford it (some utility
>companies already charge 50 bux more for initial service setup if you
>do not give them you SSN).

While a court test would cost a lot more than $50, given the
explicit stipulation in the legislation that created them that
they are NOT supposed to be used for non-SSN-related ID purposes,
one would probably win or at minimum, require that extra service
charges be realistically related to the actual extra costs of
doing a credit check in the absence of such a number.

>Freedom of Speech is another priviledge of
>those who can afford it, or who fall within the bounds of speech
>facilitated by those in power. Human rights becomes a priviledge of
>those who can afford it, girls in third world countries that we can
>get to labor in sweatshops gluing soles on Air Jordans get no human
>rights.

No argument there, but that's always been true. It's possible
that the main reason for the legislative calls for restricting
the Internet is that the Internet gives people a chance to get
their messages out limited only by their creativity and ability
to use the medium without having to answer to gatekeepers who are
employed by some element of the power structure.

I'm going to refrain from further comment, due to the usual news
server problems, I seem to have wandered into this debate in the
middle.

A.Lizard

************************************************************************
Personal Web site http://www.ecis.com/~alizard
For reliable year 2000 info, go to:
http://www.ecis.com/~alizard/y2k.html
backup address (if ALL else fails) alizard@[spam]onebox.com
PGP 6.5.1 key available by request,keyserver,or on my Web site
Find out what I think of the Littleton school killings at:
http://www.ecis.com/~alizard/littleto.html
************************************************************************

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> > they could not be destructive, as he is actively trying to disrupt and
> > destroy the present systems. This pretzel logic is what happens when
> > you mix "logic and hatred".
>

> It's more of a case of incomplete information and evolution. My first
> response was simply the end case of my logic, because I didn't know the
> extent of the conversation, and I didn't want to write a treatise on
> what was at the time a news blurb someone posted. My arguments were two
> sides of the same coin, because in the long run I consider them
> incredibly ineffective and meaningless, but I have no respect for them
> because of their destructiveness. Sure, they'll cause some problems in
> the short run, but you're not going to stop data collecting.

But I'm not proposing that the Freebiots will stop data collecting,
never have I said that. My position in support of the Freebiots is
that they problematize this automated data collection, raising issues
both for the consumer, and for the service provider. I have described
the issues they raise several times in this thread. The Freebiots are
an artistic project, and I think that an evaluation of them as such is
more fitting. In that light, I think I have shown in this thread,
that their are effective as an artwork/demonstration. (They need not
even really be deployed to be effective either).

The tactic of data-poisoning tho is not just artistic masturbation,
but IMO can be succesfully deployed, targeting specific sites and
offenders. We have already seen it deployed succesfully against
online surveys and polls. and to a limited extent, just about every
"free membership" site on the web, thru the use of the
"cypherpunk/cypherpunk" login. If you're not familiar with that, it's
a tradition that whenever a new "free membership" site pops up,
someone creates an account with false information and the login
cypherpunk/cypherpunk. Quite frequently when you come to a site like
that you can use that login pair (or a pluralization) and not have to
hand over any data. This practice is very effective, providing
anonymity to large groups of people.

So I agree with your assesment that they can be destructive, but I
dont have a problem with that in this situation, but I do not agree
with your assesment of them as ineffective. They are succesful as a
work of art, and the tactic of data misrepresentation and poisoning
they deploy has already shown itself effective when properly targeted.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Freebiots is that they point at a
mechanism of protecting privacy that users can deploy themselves, and
does not have to be filtered thru structure of power, like government
regulations or industry standards bodies (both of which are
notoriously incompetent at protecting consumers in the US). That
scores some CP points.

> My point is more one of honesty. I think that if a site is completely
> honest about what data it collects and how it is used, we have
> absolutely no right to attack them for it. If you don't like it, shop
> elsewhere, but they are providing a service or product to you, and you
> know the conditions of this trade.

Honesty has never been the best suit of corporations, and I'm not
about to rely on it as protection for my privacy. We have already
seen that industry regulated "policies" are just window-dressing and
they are quite often violated. A recent Jupiter Communications survey
showed that 64% of those surveyed mistrusted web site privacy
policies. Are you seriously suggestion that as a way of managing your
own privacy online? That's laughable.

Some recent news about violations of posted policies:

United Airlines' confusion between privacy policy and user agreement:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,37413,00.html

Article on Survey Mentioned above, other good info too:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,40597,00.html

Article about general falure of online privacy policies:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,36470,00.html?st.ne.ni.rel

AOL admits to privacly lapse, resulting in discharge of naval officer:
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,18324,00.html?st.ne.ni.rel

Microsoft violations of TRUSTe (industry attempt at heading off privacy
regulations) policy:
http://www.wired.com/news/news/technology/story/18423.html

Ira Magaziner, who is the whitehouse privacy czar has already
expressed his opinion that industry attempts at self-regulating via
the posting and following of privacy policies is inadequate.

As for not buying services, in many situation (the example of the
discount shopping club it not one), it can be impossible sometimes to
do that. You cannot actually use telecommunications devices,
land-line based or cell based without using a system which is required
by law to give up your information if some law enforcement officer
decides that they need to be listening to you. Not only that, but any
service you use MUST provide automated wiretap access as of June 30
next year under us code Title 18, chapter 119. Honesty does nothing
for us here, we have no options to go elsewhere.

> It's all about the approach, if some company claimed to not gather
> information but it was known that they did, then attack away. This
> is my complete viewpoint - if someone's personal rights are being
> infringed upon and they are not informed, or if it is invasive, then
> we have every right to defend those rights. If there is an
> established system in place where we know the rules, what data is
> being collected, what is being done with it, etc, and we have a
> choice whether or not to use it, we have no right to attack that
> system, because they are providing a product and they have a right
> to do this in the manner they see fit. In this case we are
> obligated to find a better way, if it is that important to us.

There is presently no system in place in the U.S. with regards to
consumer privacy. There are half-ass attempts at industry regulation
in order to head of a federal privacy policy, but even if we have a
fed. policy we are putting it into the hands of the same people who
demand that all telecommunications be radically tappable, and that
they should be allowed to bug our computers and such with sealed
warrants. So it would see that we have an obligation to find a better
way to protect ourselves.

> I get the impression that we have the same core values regarding this,
> but had a different snap judgement to the material presented.

Well, my snap judgement was with regards to your place of employment
and status as a student. My opinion on the Freebiot matter and online
privacy in general is hardly a snap judgement, since I have been
actively involved in that arena since 1993. I think my presentation
of my postion shows that experience.

> Not at all. I arrive at my viewpoints with logic, and many of my
> viewpoints include hatred. You can logically decide that you hate the
> Holocaust, for example. I just have a strong dislike and lack of
> respect for most activism, because I think it's not constructive at
> all.

I haven't really seen any logic in your reasoning. What I have seen
is reliance upon religious beliefs with a fervor that only someone
convinced they are being "rational" can have. First, the repeated
claim that the US economy is "free market capitalism", an opinion that
does not stand up to even the most cursory of examinations of Us
economic policy. Second, appeals to the the unstoppable power of
market forces and the futility of acting against them. Lastly, a
uninformed opinion that all activism is non-constructive. You have
never really built up an argument beyond those three points.
Meanwhile I have illustrated several problems with those beliefs when
accepted without a critical perspective.

You've expressed your feelings, eloquently even, but that does not
pass as argumentation in these parts. If you are going to trash on
activists, you really should have a better leg to stand on than your
religious belief in "free market capitalism" and it's hegemony over
society. I have laid out why I support the Freebiot project, and
particular types of activism directed at protecting privacy. I have
given real world examples of succesful data-poisoning, and references
to articles supporting my position. I have also given documented
counter-examples to your assertion that we are operating in a "free
market" and thus can let it sort out the issues thru competition, your
assertion that we can rely on corporate honesty in the presentation of
their privacy policy, and your assertion that activism is
unconstructive and innefective. You have not refuted any of my claims
or counter-arguments in a meaningful way.

It seems you are at an impasse.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/28/99
to
alizard[spam]@ecis.com (A.Lizard) writes:

> >It seems to me that you are proposing that we view privacy and wealth
> >and two values whose relation to one another is somewhat antagonistic,
> >and we want to maximize both values at the same time. If this is not
> >the case, perhaps you should just stop reading this right now and post
> >a clarification. I see privacy not as an issue with a value, but as
> >an inalienable Right, and as such, it can't be exchanged and therefor
> >has no value. Try throwing that into your proposed costs/benefit
> >analysis and see how far you get.
>
> If you don't think privacy has an economic value, feel free to
> send your next snailmail order for bestiality porn that you're
> paying for via credit card a postcard with all that information
> that no sane person would want the world to know.

I did not say that there is NO economic value to privacy, but rather
than using that value as the sole criteria for our analysis of how
much it should be protected, and how to protect it has lots of
problems. What you are actually describing is the economic value of
certain bits of information which I am given by a bank to represent my
account balance with them, not my privacy as an individual. It's a
subtle difference yes, but important.

> One of the biggest barriers perceived by users to purchase over
> the Internet is a fear that credit card and other personal
> information will go to places they don't want it to go. Of
> course, any knowledgable person knows that an shttp / https site
> running 128 bit encryption means the information is secure in
> transit. Of course, the 40 bit crypto that is highest level of
> security that the US government will allow to be exported without
> restriction is fairly useless.

In another thread (the root of this one actually) I mentioned a survey
which foind that 64% of the people questioned did not trust online
privacy and security policies. Encryption of the information in
transit is just a small part of the equation, and I would suspect that
is not the major component of the mistrust they have for the
corporations they are giving the information too. Nearly all security
incidents resulting in the theft of credit card information has
occured on the server, not in transit. Grabbing them in transit is
hard, costly, and only gets you one. Popping the server they are
stored on, or using an inside connection can net you massive amounts,
like 20k or more seperate cards in some publicized cases.

> Marketing attacks on civil liberties as an attack on people's
> wallets makes far more sense than trying to educate people to an
> abstraction which may be quite simply beyond their intellectual
> capability.

I think you underestimate the reasoning capabilities of your average
citizen. I have never had great difficult discussing issues of civil
liberties, such as privacy, freedom of speech, with them. As a matter
of fact, my point in this thread is that if you attempt to frame it
entirely as a economic issue, you will lose the battle in the long
run.

Tobin G Coziahr

unread,
Aug 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/30/99
to
Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 28-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by Craig
Brozefsky@red-bean
> to articles supporting my position. I have also given documented
> counter-examples to your assertion that we are operating in a "free
> market" and thus can let it sort out the issues thru competition, your
> assertion that we can rely on corporate honesty in the presentation of
> their privacy policy, and your assertion that activism is
> unconstructive and innefective. You have not refuted any of my claims
> or counter-arguments in a meaningful way.
>
> It seems you are at an impasse.

My only impasse is your refusal to look past your own views, in my
opinion. I'm just getting started.

As far as I recall, your refutal of my 'free market economy' comment,
which you have hounded upon like a pack of dogs after a meat truck, was
a simple assertion that we in fact don't have a system of pure
capitalism, which I won't deny, because it's true. However, I see that
as beside the point, because for all intents and purposes in the scope
of our discussion of web site information collecting, it's completely
true. Your comment about government jurisdiction over cell phones and
personal data may be true, but I see no relevance to the matter at hand.
If our conversation has strayed beyond the scope of simple data
collection, let me know.

Your 'refutal' of my reliance on corporate honesty also misses the mark,
because I get the impression that you aren't reading my posts for
content, but more for words to twist. Here is my opinion one more time.
I object to the wide scale usage of Freebiots on every single data
collection system in effect. If we find that a site is not disclosing
what data is being collected, and who it is being sold to, it is a
legitimate weapon for defending our privacy. In this limited context,
it has uses, but I still think that a constructive solution is always
preferable to a destructive one. However, if a company is being sleezy,
I have no problem with its information being rendered useless as a
lesson to promote honesty. Yes, people distrust corporations. Yes,
corporations have violated privacy policies. That doesn't mean that the
answer is to begin widespread attacks. Surgical strikes, however, can
make both a political and artistic point.

I'm not sure what you mean about my appeals to the unstoppability of the
market forces and the futility of acting against them. If you're
telling me that we can stop data collection, you're dead wrong. If you
mean that I'm asserting that we have no power whatsoever against the
market in general, that's not my point at all, the word of the people
can always make itself heard through action and media. There have been
many products and privacy infringements attempted by corporations,
governments, etc that were headed off by the sheer fury of public
indignation when they tried to go too far. I just think that if their
policies are made known, this isn't one of those cases.

As to your comments about activism, you've made no points besides
mud-slinging. Calling me religious and putting the word rational in
quotes seems to be the meat of your argument, and throwing in snide
comments like "uninformed". What I gave wasn't a point by point
discussion of every single type of activism that is in effect, and how
they are useless, but a summary of my feelings after having associated
with and experienced dozens if not hundreds of activists and their
propaganda over the years. One of the things that bugs me, besides the
fact that you don't seem to realize that condescending insults do
nothing but make me think you're pompous, is the fact that you fit into
some of my descriptions of activism, which might be why you're taking
this side point so seriously. Although you've not mentioned it lately,
one of the first quips you threw out was calling me "guilty", which is
one of the primary weapons of the politically pious. I'm glad you've
stopped that, at least. I can take this to its logical conclusion and
save us some effort. You'll counter me with some well researched
documentation of some sort of activism that has achieved something, I'll
counter you with examples of useless activist groups, but neither of us
will change our opinion. We should probably focus more on the issues
that are more cp related, like privacy and data collection than the
fuzzy concept of the usefullness of activism.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/30/99
to
Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> As far as I recall, your refutal of my 'free market economy' comment,
> which you have hounded upon like a pack of dogs after a meat truck, was
> a simple assertion that we in fact don't have a system of pure
> capitalism, which I won't deny, because it's true. However, I see that
> as beside the point, because for all intents and purposes in the scope
> of our discussion of web site information collecting, it's completely
> true.

It was not just that we don't have a pure form of capitalism, but that
it is so far away from a "free market" that the various mechanisms
that capitalists rely upon for maintaining competition and fairness
and the various other so-called advantages of a "free market" cannot
be relied upon. So looking at the US economy thru that lense is will
not just give slightly out of focus, rather it produces an illusion
with very little basis in the real.

As for the applicability of this critique to web sites data
collection, I think it is still quite applicable. It should be noted
that two of the service areas with the highest growth rates are also
two of the most heavily regulated industries in the nation.
Stock/Securities Brokerages and Banking; not only are they heavily
regulated by the government, but they are basically run by cartels. I
don't think we can extract the web economy where these web sites exist
from the rest of the economy so easily. Perhaps it would be better if
we took a look at this issue in another thread, as it seems this
thread is getting a bit clogged.

The jist of this whole thing about the "free market" is that I think
that reliance upon our powers as consumers, to vote with our dollars
and our feet, is of limited use when it comes to protecting privacy
online. We can influence the corporations doing the data collection
to a certain extent, perhaps require them not to sell it without our
permission, or give us the option to opt out entirely. Beyond this,
for instance if we would like to have guarantees that information we
give them would not be turned over to the court in case of a legal
action (something akin to attorney-client priviledge), we could not do
that thru consumer action, but would need to act as citizens to pass
legislation. Also, if we are dealing with monopolies or other heavily
controlled industries like banking, we really cannot act with much
power as consumers. Consumer power also relies upon a large enough
group of people agreeing with you. This works on some issues but not
on others. I'm not willing to let my privacy be dependent upon me
convincing large groups of people that giving away their SSN is
dangerous, particularly when they are already conditioned to do it.
Consumer power is still dependent upon a measure of trust, so without
proactive measure to protect ourselves, we will always be open to
abuses to some extent.

The power as consumer does not address privacy, online or off, in our
position as worker either. Mandatory drug testing and other
intrusions into employee privacy cannot be combatted with the power of
the consumer, and we all know how attenuated our power as laborer is.

I saw in your argumentation an over-reliance upon the power of the
consumer and their ability to influence the behavior of corporations
in the "free market". I might have imagined all of it, but I don't
think so. In your first few posts it seemed that you were proposing
that acting as a consumer was the only effective action, and that even
then we should not rock the boat to much, or risk not being able to
buy all the pretty toys and bandwidth. You presented it as a
catch-22, act as a consumer, but don't forget where your pretty
baubles come from. I'm not the only one who read this in your posts,
so I don't think I was imagining it. My jibes and other pokes at your
position were intended to tease that knot apart, and expand your
understanding of the options available to us.

> Your comment about government jurisdiction over cell phones and
> personal data may be true, but I see no relevance to the matter at
> hand. If our conversation has strayed beyond the scope of simple
> data collection, let me know.

I believe it has strayed to cover privacy online in general, but I'll
address the issue of government intervention in the context of data
collection online. I think you are missing some of the implications
of both government control of the amount of privacy companies can
provide their consumers, as well as the way in which these service
providers react when given subpeonas or other court orders to reveal
information about their customers which theiur customers thought was
confidential.

Yahoo for instance has turned over information on around 100 anonymous
posters to Philips Services Inc, because they had brought a defamation
suit against the posters. Hotmail and other have also turned over
identifying information in similiar situations. In these cases, the
user was acting under the belief that the service provider would
protect their anonymity, they gave information to the service provider
under this pretense. The upshot of these cases is that one can be
fairly sure that any information you give out, even if the
organization says will be held privately, can be subpeonaed(sp?) or
otherwsie accessed by the government. Even more worrisome is that new
legislation would make it illegal for the service provider to even
tell you that they have turned over your data.

> Your 'refutal' of my reliance on corporate honesty also misses the mark,
> because I get the impression that you aren't reading my posts for
> content, but more for words to twist. Here is my opinion one more time.
> I object to the wide scale usage of Freebiots on every single data
> collection system in effect.

Perhaps I misread the Freebiot proposal, but I do not think they
actually thought they could cover all data collecting websites, and I
assumed that they would be targetting specific sites from the start.
The prose was very purple tho, and unlucky for me, the article has
expired on my news server so I cannot go back and check. I do think
that I made it clear in my post that I was only considering them
effective when applied in a intelligent manner, targetting specific
sites.

> If we find that a site is not disclosing what data is being


> collected, and who it is being sold to, it is a legitimate weapon
> for defending our privacy. In this limited context, it has uses,
> but I still think that a constructive solution is always preferable
> to a destructive one. However, if a company is being sleezy, I have
> no problem with its information being rendered useless as a lesson
> to promote honesty. Yes, people distrust corporations. Yes,
> corporations have violated privacy policies. That doesn't mean that
> the answer is to begin widespread attacks. Surgical strikes,
> however, can make both a political and artistic point.

Well, it seems we are in agreement. Your opinion now seems quite
different than what you originally posted here, slagging the Freebiots
and activists. Here you are saying that Freebiots (applied tactfully)
are both politically and artistically effective. That happens to be
the same thing I have been arguing from the start, how nice.

This reminds me of why I originally responded to your post. The
Freebiot announcement was very, uhm, florid, but the notion of
mis-information agent has been around for awhile, so what I saw was
just some art dewds sopping wet presentation of a proven and effective
tactic of protecting privacy. I saw your reaction to Freebiot post,
which was very negative and seemed driven more by your disgust with
the presentation of the Freebiots, than by an analysis of the tactic
and effect of Freebiots properly deployed. I think that most of the
smoke in this thread came from this difference in our reading of the
post. You were responding primarily to the prose of the announcement,
while I was talking about the tactics of the Freebiots. At least
that's how I'm seeing it now.

> I'm not sure what you mean about my appeals to the unstoppability of

> the market forces and the futility of acting against them.

Some of your earlier posts expressed this sentiment, primarily thru
aligning the growth of the internet with corproate investment, and
that we should not do anything to disturb the return on investment for
this corporations otherwise our Internet would go black, to
paraphrase. I'm not interested in pursuing a tit-for-tat on this
anymore.

> action and media. There have been many products and privacy
> infringements attempted by corporations, governments, etc that were
> headed off by the sheer fury of public indignation when they tried
> to go too far. I just think that if their policies are made known,
> this isn't one of those cases.

Public fury is a conditioned response, and it's not something I think
we can rely on. People are presently conditioned to hand over the SSN
in many situations, making it effectively a universal identifier.
People are also conditioned to hand over personal data to corporations
they do business with. Neither of these responses have been with us
forever, but instead have been conditioned. We can educate the public
on these matter, but we are up against people with massive resources
and PR squads, so it's a chancy battle. For this reason, I don't
think that we can rely on public outcry in the face of invasive
policies as a long-term protector of our privacy.

> I can take this to its logical conclusion and save us some effort.
> You'll counter me with some well researched documentation of some
> sort of activism that has achieved something, I'll counter you with
> examples of useless activist groups, but neither of us will change
> our opinion. We should probably focus more on the issues that are
> more cp related, like privacy and data collection than the fuzzy
> concept of the usefullness of activism.

Ironically, the usefulness of activism happens to be a rather popular
topic on a.cp in the last few weeks, appearing here and in other
threads, so we should maybe not discount it's CP point count. In this
thread I disregarded the things in the announcement which curdled your
blood, and would normally do the same to me, because I was familiar
with the notion of mis-information agents outside of the context of
that post. I maintain that activism can be fruitful, and at the same
time I find most activists to be idiots. I think the writer of the
Freebiot announcement fit into my general assesment of activists, but
I think it's important not to confuse those who portray themselves as
activists with activism, action to change the world.

Script Kiddy

unread,
Aug 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/30/99
to
In article <87btbwr...@duomo.pukka.org>, Craig Brozefsky
<cr...@red-bean.com> wrote:

>There is no need for them to migrate, they can quite simply
>stay on one host. It's not very hard to write such agents.
>They simply needto perform some HTTP requests, and maybe
>parse some HTML.They could run on any platform with a
>TCP/IP stack.
>

Therefore these will be almost trivial to automatically
filter out during logfile analysis.

Anything more like a mythical "self replicating autonomous
intelligent agent" starts to look like a computer virus
and will not be tolerated by most ISPs

I tend to agree with you that there is a lot of possible
data which could be used to profile you based on purchasing
records, credit card transactions, shopper loyalty bonus
point schemes etc, but none of these are directly tied in
with web site statistics.

Most of the big banner ad suppliers already have routines to
try to filter out attempts at "cheating" via scripts.

Isn't the idea of Freebiots just the same old art scam
"hactivism" which will not hurt the big corporate targets at
all, yet leave lots of individuals, small websites and ISPs
the victims of another kind of "spam attack" ?


* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!


Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/30/99
to
Script Kiddy <script_kid...@hushmail.com> writes:

> >There is no need for them to migrate, they can quite simply
> >stay on one host. It's not very hard to write such agents.
> >They simply needto perform some HTTP requests, and maybe
> >parse some HTML.They could run on any platform with a
> >TCP/IP stack.
> >
>
> Therefore these will be almost trivial to automatically
> filter out during logfile analysis.

That depends on the information they give out. If it's obviously
wrong than it will be detectable. The other method for detecting them
would be analysis of hit frequency from a particular host. Give the
IP address you host the Freebiot on a PTR mapping of something like
"firewall.mycorp.com" the high hit count from that host will not be
very suspiscious (particularly if you make up a bunch of different
names for the 'internal' hosts).

Automated migration is not the only way to avoid being filtered tho.
Manual migration is fairly effective also, make it an easy to install
tarball or whatever and post a reference to Slashdot or some other
site with sympathies.

What do you think of the following architecture:

1. Small perl script or C program distributed with source, should run
on nearly any POSIX compliant OS with sockets. Has a mutation
engine which which generates random personal information for a web
site. A simple mutation engine is easy, but perahps might be
identifiable. More complex mutation engines could be produces,
perhaps seeding ther base of names and addresses from some random
web pages. Hehe, maybe a BackOrifice2k module.

2. A set of modules which describe a particular site, which would be
used to generate the HTTP request to feed false data to that site.
These could be updated daily to offer a selection of different
sites that your computer will seed with false data during the day.

3. Automated or manual process to download new modules for the
Freebiot and reseed it's mmutation engine.

Assuming you could reach some critical mass of users with the Freebiot
running on their system, you could be quite effective in your
mis-informing cammpaign. The distribution site you use could be
publicized and act as a distribution point for various bits of
propaganda. Simple making it known which sites you are poisoning
might be impetus for them to correct their privacy policy violations,
or make it acceptable, or face bad press and a devaluation of their
marketing data. Perhaps you could also provide a service like the RBL
anti-spam lists, and provide a lists of sites which violate their
privacy policy or otherwise do not provide adequate protection, format
it as a set ipchains command, or maybe a plubing for apache/squid
proxies.

The "critical mass" part is the biggest stretch, but considering the
success of BO2k and Satan and other script kiddy tools for wreaking
havoc, it's not unthinkable.

> I tend to agree with you that there is a lot of possible
> data which could be used to profile you based on purchasing
> records, credit card transactions, shopper loyalty bonus
> point schemes etc, but none of these are directly tied in
> with web site statistics.

We are not talking solely about web site hit statistics, we are
talking about all sorta of information that is gleaned online, signup
info, purchase logs, surveys, whatever.

> Isn't the idea of Freebiots just the same old art scam
> "hactivism" which will not hurt the big corporate targets at
> all, yet leave lots of individuals, small websites and ISPs
> the victims of another kind of "spam attack" ?

That is a matter of choosing targets, and how your deploy the bots,
and I don't think it's inherent to the use of automated agents.

--
Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software http://www.red-bean.com/~craig

"riot shields. voodoo economics. its just business. cattle
prods and the IMF." - Radiohead, OK Computer, Electioneering

Bill Houdini Weiss

unread,
Aug 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/31/99
to
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

On 30 Aug 1999 17:45:44 -0500, Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
wrote:

>Script Kiddy <script_kid...@hushmail.com> writes:

Are you a programmer? It might not be as easy as you think.

>2. A set of modules which describe a particular site, which would be
> used to generate the HTTP request to feed false data to that
> site.
> These could be updated daily to offer a selection of different
> sites that your computer will seed with false data during the
> day.

Hmm, maybe. Too much possibility for abuse, though.

>3. Automated or manual process to download new modules for the
> Freebiot and reseed it's mmutation engine.

No! It's a bad idea to automatically update something like this.
All the sites would have to do is download the update, and filter the
contents.

Wait a minute, that's the same for all of these.
<snip>

- --
Bill "Houdini" Weiss
PGP key: http://home.earthlink.net/~cultobill/bill_weiss.asc
ICQ#: 43270740

French Cow: Screw you, you American PIG!

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.1 for non-commercial use <http://www.pgp.com>

iQEVAwUBN8w/5adYWMs+Z0hzAQHVKQgAiro0aCcFY4EY2eykDVdiPnqzLI61KPWY
N/WXL8GMIyxT3n3LQLGV73Xgx0FmPpWPNgxCWfqMxLazH6WIE+nEcX5911pqmBha
/TluSA/lNCmvtW2bSuZZaGhz2KKyEobtZ4op24LxYzsetbevXfG89eiDDPPI92/u
ZYCQzCni0bAvRn5vauy1QKWaPeNK3m+ZHzHMPMgfe045bOlFmMvevloEy6A6Iv0J
ZCtTp7gFW3319I9v1263P2SDuIolEdWA5DmzXu6TbRicbVWaQtVuoHtbvoB8Uy8s
W2t9Yt/tS1HyK1xYbUfeaLai1KCF9EzgIc5/6RFltPR9OLO0zFUQhQ==
=W9dv
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

[0jh]

unread,
Aug 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/31/99
to
Exagerations admitedly, but I suggest you take a look at the activities
of the bodies concerned.

You might have to research this as your media probably doesn't tell you
these things.

Your "free market economy" is going to land you in some serious shit when
the third world gets religion and its act together.

[0jh]


In article <0rlvwze00...@andrew.cmu.edu>,


Tobin G Coziahr <cozi...@andrew.cmu.edu> wrote:
> Excerpts from netnews.alt.cyberpunk: 28-Aug-99 Re: freebiots by [0jh]
> <h0...@my-deja.com>
> > "Free market economy?"
> >
> > Run by the same morons who say we can't eat beef without growth hormone
> > or by clothes not made by sweatshops?
> >
> > Is that freedom of choice?
>
> Not only is it possible to get beef without hormones and clothes not
> made in sweatshops, but even if you were right, it would still be a free
> market economy. If you wanted, you could make and sell clothes, and you
> could buy a farm and raise cattle. Neither of these points contradict
> the fact that we have a free market economy.
>

> -----------* *----------------------------------------
> Tobin Coziahr "The man who hungers for truth should
> sha...@cmu.edu expect no mercy and give none."
> - HST
> ----------------* *---------------------------------------
>
>

--

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/31/99
to
cult...@earthlink.net (Bill "Houdini" Weiss) writes:

> >What do you think of the following architecture:
> >
> >1. Small perl script or C program distributed with source, should
> >run
> > on nearly any POSIX compliant OS with sockets. Has a mutation
> > engine which which generates random personal information for a
> > web
> > site. A simple mutation engine is easy, but perahps might be
> > identifiable. More complex mutation engines could be produces,
> > perhaps seeding ther base of names and addresses from some random
> > web pages. Hehe, maybe a BackOrifice2k module.
>
> Are you a programmer? It might not be as easy as you think.

Yes, I am a programmer and no, it is not difficult. I have code that
can generate haikus and abstracts of essays, so generating a random
name and believable address is not difficult at all. Making it so
that the results are varied enough to make them difficult to identify
as artificially generated and thus filterable is a matter of tuning
the grammar you use to generate the data, and the lexicon of words you
have available. A dynamically generated lexicon gleaned from various
web pages (pick three words from the users dictionary, do a search at
one of several search engine, generate a random number, take that
result and index into your search returns, grab the page and snag
words from it, repeat until you have a large enough lexicon) would be
difficult to filter. The grammar for most of this stuff is trivial,
addresses, full names, phone numbers, whatever.

> >2. A set of modules which describe a particular site, which would be
> > used to generate the HTTP request to feed false data to that
> > site.
> > These could be updated daily to offer a selection of different
> > sites that your computer will seed with false data during the
> > day.
>
> Hmm, maybe. Too much possibility for abuse, though.

That is the point Bill. It's a bargaining crow-bar.

> >3. Automated or manual process to download new modules for the
> > Freebiot and reseed it's mmutation engine.
>
> No! It's a bad idea to automatically update something like this.
> All the sites would have to do is download the update, and filter the
> contents.
>
> Wait a minute, that's the same for all of these.

A little applied information theory is all you need here to make it a
moot point. That is what the mutation engine is for. They may indeed
know that they are targeted, but they mutation engine or grammer
generator would make that useless information. In order for them to
block it, they would have to be able to identify some distinguishing
feature of a spoofed request, that makes it unlike a regular, "real"
request. The module which describes how to make a request which
submits bad information does not really contain anything which would
make it appear different thana normal browser request, and the random
generated bad info would not be easily detectable.

There are some counter-measures they could deploy against this. For
instance, complete random form variables so that you cannot generate
a REQUEST submitting bad data without going thru some series of steps
which would be difficult to automated on the client side. But it's
very costly to rewrite all of your CGI scripts to do this, and can in
the end be defeated. The data is on our side; they have to accept a
well-defined request format for which we know all of the parameters
(the HTTP protocol) and the data they are collecting is widely varied
and there are heuuristics for checking the validity of only a few bits
of that information and very few sites deploy them.

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Aug 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/31/99
to
cult...@earthlink.net (Bill "Houdini" Weiss) writes:


> >enough lexicon) would be difficult to filter. The grammar for most
> >of this stuff is trivial, addresses, full names, phone numbers,
> >whatever.
>

> Hey, that's great. I just wanted to make sure you knew what you were
> talking about.

Here is a clue Bill: The next time you see fit to check someone's
knowledge, try not and make a fool of yourselve by quoting the
entirety of their message in order to make the equivalent of an AOL
metoo.

Bill Houdini Weiss

unread,
Sep 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/1/99
to
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

On 31 Aug 1999 16:08:01 -0500, Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
wrote:

>enough lexicon) would be difficult to filter. The grammar for most
>of this stuff is trivial, addresses, full names, phone numbers,
>whatever.

Hey, that's great. I just wanted to make sure you knew what you were
talking about.

>> >2. A set of modules which describe a particular site, which would


>> >be
>> > used to generate the HTTP request to feed false data to that
>> > site.
>> > These could be updated daily to offer a selection of different
>> > sites that your computer will seed with false data during the
>> > day.
>>
>> Hmm, maybe. Too much possibility for abuse, though.
>
>That is the point Bill. It's a bargaining crow-bar.

I meant on both sides.

>> >3. Automated or manual process to download new modules for the
>> > Freebiot and reseed it's mmutation engine.
>>
>> No! It's a bad idea to automatically update something like this.
>> All the sites would have to do is download the update, and filter
>> the contents.
>>
>> Wait a minute, that's the same for all of these.
>
>A little applied information theory is all you need here to make it
>a moot point. That is what the mutation engine is for. They may
>indeed know that they are targeted, but they mutation engine or
>grammer generator would make that useless information. In order for
>them to block it, they would have to be able to identify some
>distinguishing feature of a spoofed request, that makes it unlike a
>regular, "real" request. The module which describes how to make a
>request which submits bad information does not really contain
>anything which would make it appear different thana normal browser
>request, and the random generated bad info would not be easily
>detectable.

Ideally. There are always bugs in programs.

>There are some counter-measures they could deploy against this. For
>instance, complete random form variables so that you cannot generate
>a REQUEST submitting bad data without going thru some series of
>steps which would be difficult to automated on the client side. But
>it's very costly to rewrite all of your CGI scripts to do this, and
>can in the end be defeated. The data is on our side; they have to
>accept a well-defined request format for which we know all of the
>parameters (the HTTP protocol) and the data they are collecting is
>widely varied and there are heuuristics for checking the validity of
>only a few bits of that information and very few sites deploy them.

- --


Bill "Houdini" Weiss
PGP key: http://home.earthlink.net/~cultobill/bill_weiss.asc
ICQ#: 43270740

THE PHONE PHREAK'S TEN COMMANDMENTS

I. BOX THOU NOT OVER THINE HOME TELEPHONE WIRES, FOR THOSE WHO
DOEST MUST
SURELY BRING THE WRATH OF THE CHIEF SPECIAL AGENT DOWN UPON THY
HEADS.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.1 for non-commercial use <http://www.pgp.com>

iQEVAwUBN8ytQKdYWMs+Z0hzAQH1VggArtCQhmH5U02JIwNkfkBCiWuAPkZeX1L0
5cvtrOTo8eT2Dqadpsf6QjlDB+M91YbWS/QH7Zyquym/D9wMhwyz3RNAi0iEcdBv
64I+qb9Cow6Y9mXixfmH6bamFqzZ0WSiHHs6iP8F0DWrTdZAjgdH3DD6IcYf193u
y1gP4FgwtrS/OzoFVp4mDpKNGGfoKLrZZwWGliberPpYKpzeUkRlgx8VxyOC+fwx
VU30NC1uYwW9n4vMsAPbrnMtL259EzFO8rCcAaw2MJEtDAqxcuj5nNMkmi4vDvXK
nTxRY6GhjPvjCXjNUqLKdZX7WgjpZstq7m8rNaCJEnK5WkvdztWWjw==
=xMhg
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Bill Houdini Weiss

unread,
Sep 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/1/99
to
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

On 31 Aug 1999 21:28:15 -0500, Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
wrote:

>cult...@earthlink.net (Bill "Houdini" Weiss) writes:
>
>
>> >enough lexicon) would be difficult to filter. The grammar for
>> >most of this stuff is trivial, addresses, full names, phone
>> >numbers, whatever.
>>
>> Hey, that's great. I just wanted to make sure you knew what you
>> were talking about.
>

>Here is a clue Bill: The next time you see fit to check someone's
>knowledge, try not and make a fool of yourselve by quoting the
>entirety of their message in order to make the equivalent of an AOL
>metoo.

Hey, I had legitamate questions there. Many times, I have been asked
by non-computer people, "why don't you make a program to do xx?"
So, I wanted to know if you were one of them. I asked questions, or
made comments about all sections of the post. Both times. If you
don't want input, you're in the wrong place.

- --
Bill "Houdini" Weiss
PGP key: http://home.earthlink.net/~cultobill/bill_weiss.asc
ICQ#: 43270740

Maybe this world is another planet's hell.
Aldous Huxley

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.1 for non-commercial use <http://www.pgp.com>

iQEVAwUBN8y43KdYWMs+Z0hzAQGq/wf+M3fFjqGzcd7TfukWl7trOmXVCnGeu/Ud
rxFQzSKjyW7g+p8wWzGg7OWPZ68C1DNsLyMLlHLs81f+MlUWstv7/0Mf+9v86MWP
k97nm6D/E4B/u0M1Cd3BqVi5I0KxX4Qojc6F6lX/0ABGchIOaB3dXa65nuoZL3fZ
q+22c7nfmvg5UMSK5hjgO5yr3Ao/eERnZzUStnMQtDrruUgTJXfQWUbsCOFId6vm
L8Frr7cEZWEKjbElXSBGYF3x6XnNlXy4yv4PgVF5fceiUpUahp42qHMKrgU06Amh
xQ0i/Pl9Ggzm/i/85/dWrJa1O3Mkd+Q1Q6GR2g01hM7Uwegwgd57sQ==
=WyCB
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Craig Brozefsky

unread,
Sep 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/1/99
to
cult...@earthlink.net (Bill "Houdini" Weiss) writes:

> >Here is a clue Bill: The next time you see fit to check someone's
> >knowledge, try not and make a fool of yourselve by quoting the
> >entirety of their message in order to make the equivalent of an AOL
> >metoo.
>
> Hey, I had legitamate questions there. Many times, I have been asked
> by non-computer people, "why don't you make a program to do xx?"
> So, I wanted to know if you were one of them. I asked questions, or
> made comments about all sections of the post. Both times. If you
> don't want input, you're in the wrong place.

That is all fine and good Bill, but as I said, when you see fit to ask
such a question, don't quote the entiretey of the person's article. I
didn't say you should not ask the question. Now look at me, I'm
spending my evening being an asshole 8)

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages