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Ian Clarke and Freenet in the Crosshairs 493

Posted by Hemos
from the the-changing-of-the-times dept.
EMIce writes "John Markoff of the New York Times writes of Ian, "Though he says his aim is political - helping dissidents in countries where computer traffic is monitored by the government, for example - Mr. Clarke is open about his disdain for copyright laws, asserting that his technology would produce a world in which all information is freely shared. ... Now, however, Mr. Clarke is taking a fresh approach, stating that his goal is to protect political opponents of repressive regimes." Wasn't freenet originally about dissent? Mr. Markoff appears to be re-writing a history that he probably only knows through a handful of lexis-nexis searches." Update: 08/01 18:32 GMT by T : Ian Clarke wrote to point out his comment posted to the story which lays out the actual subject of his Defcon talk.
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Ian Clarke and Freenet in the Crosshairs

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  • Notable quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:04PM (#13214542)
    "The classic use for Freenet would be for a group of political dissidents in China, or even in the United States."

    Yeah.

    Because the United States and China are so similar when it comes to oppressing free speech and jailing political dissidents. It's clearly impossible in the US to criticize the government, or even have imagery of the president with a bullet hole in his head on the tob banner of your web site [immortal-technique.com].

    If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.

    (Note: traveling to Afghanistan, training in Taliban camps, and planning to blow up buildings in downtown Chicago with radiological dirty bombs is not "free speech".)

    If you're looking for trampling of free speech, you needn't look to the government; you need only look no further than our own academic institutions [thefire.org].
    • by HyperChicken (794660) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:12PM (#13214622)
      You can't oppose US bashing here -- This is Slashdot!
    • >If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.

      Your post is very dismissive, on the basis that free speech is decently protected in the US. But I think one goal of Freenet is to protect the anonymity and privacy of information providers that use it. Free speech by itself does not do that.

    • Re:Notable quote (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CdBee (742846)
      Arguably, free speech is best protected by getting tools like this out in the wild before they're needed.

      The refusal of the secret service to allow demonstrations anywhere near the president ( "free speech zones" ) and the recent raids on server farms hosting indymedia websites could be described as state-sponsored restrictions of free speech.
      • Re:Notable quote (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:49PM (#13214964) Homepage
        You know, things like that used to piss me off. Then someone laid it out for me.

        If you have a group, say the Republicans, trying to have a meeting. Then another group, say PETA, wants to protest. The city says that PETA can have a protest, but it must be a few blocks away from the Republicans.

        What right to peacibly assemble has been infringed?

        None.

        The guys at PETA want to disrupt the Republican's right to assemble. Not the other way around. By seperating the groups, everyone can assemble and no one has their rights removed; either by the government or by each other.

        Now, you can be an anarchast and claim that anyone should be able to assemble at anytime, but that'd just lead to chaos. The Republicans would be trying to talk while the PETA guys are yelling. The PETA guys would get their asses stomped by the Republican rednecks. Someone would kill a dog or eat a steak just for show. It'd be terrible.

        Seperating the groups does not mean that anyone's right to speech has been removed.
    • by iendedi (687301) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:16PM (#13214661) Journal
      If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.
      Here you go: Patriot Act [loc.gov] ... More on the Patriot Act [epic.org]

      Truth is, the U.S. is probably locked down a bit tighter than China these days. Does China have one of these [fas.org]? Through Echelon and the Patriot act, you can say the wrong thing and have nice black suits show up within 24 hours to take you away without a warrant, hold you indefinitely without a trial and completely ignore any constitutionaly protected rights you think you might have.

      That is America today and some people are not so happy about it. People like Ian are sticking their necks out and being good Americans. You aren't trying to tell us he's not a PATRIOT are you?
      • How do you justify your comments? You claim the USA PATRIOT Act abridges Constitutionally protected free speech. Where is the "no free speech" part of the USA PATRIOT Act? Really, where? There are 3 parts to the act:
        1) The USA Act - extending on FISA as a set of restictions on Federal investigations.
        2) A set of money laundering laws to trap international funds used by terrorists.
        3) A set of awards to victims of terrorism.

        You claim that saying the wrong thing can have you taken aw
        • Hi! The word "citizen" does appear in the Constitution, mostly regarding eligibility for elected office, but not in the Bill of Rights.

          The Constitutional restrictions apply to all actions of the Constitutional government, no matter where it is operating.
        • Wait, what?

          Since when does our Constitution apply to citizens of other countries?

          Select parts of the constitution only apply to citizens. Otherwise, everyone is entitled to the rights specified in the constitution (right to trial by jury, court appointed lawyer, etc.) The constitution is not merely a document defining the powers of the government, but a document on human rights that ALL PEOPE ARE ENTITLED TO. Hell, it took the country another 150+ years to fully realize it.

          Since when does it apply to POW's?
        • a) While Hamdi has been removed from Guantano (where we was held for some time) he is still being held without trial, bail, or even being charged with a crime. Jose Padilla is also being held without trial or the ability to mount a meaningful defense. It is relatively (indeed entirely) immaterial where their cells are located the fact is they are still being denied their constitutional rights.

          Your comments are illogical at best. If you read closely you will see that I was making directed criticisms about
        • I assume you are referring to Guantanamo Bay. Did it ever occur to you that there are no citizens of the United States being held there?

          Did you go there and ask?

          Anyways, there are still citizens that have been held without charge for years now. That Padillo guy for one. I have nothing against prosecuting terrorists, but apparently the government does.

          Nobody is going to search your library records.

          Didn't you notice the point when Ashcroft quit insisting that the library records portion of the Act had never
        • Since when does our Constitution apply to citizens of other countries?

          Since it was written. If you read The Bill of Rights, it explictely refers to "persons" and "people", not to U.S. citizens.

          Read it sometime...


        • Really hard to know that there are no US citizens in gitmo, when nobody will tell us who these people are. How do YOU know there are no citizens there, especially since I seem to remember the gov publicly admitting that there are several US citizens (who were nabbed in Afghanistan) currently rotting in Gitmo.

          That is what scares me, too many secrets. If the gov wants to keep something secret, that's fine, if they want to keep a trial secret, they should require a vote of the senate or something, for each ins
    • Managing a website can cause you a significant headache in the USA: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/10/1 8 5236 [slashdot.org]. Luckily, in the end :things worked out nicely for the webmaster this time http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/10/23 55201 [slashdot.org], but how many days did this guy spend in jail innocently?
    • by Kainaw (676073)
      If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.

      Don't be so naive. The USA PATRIOT Act has to abridge our free speech. Why? Because everyone says it does. I know, there are those who have put time into reading it and know that it limits the power of the FBI and CIA, but they don't count. We're in the age of blogs. True or not, I'm believing whatever a nerd with a computer tells me to believe because I want to be a c
    • Re:Notable quote (Score:4, Informative)

      by kschawel (823163) <slashdot@li[ ]h.cx ['.at' in gap]> on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:19PM (#13214694)
      If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.

      Alien and Sedition Acts [wikipedia.org], specifically the Sedition Acts. From wikipeida:

      The Sedition Act made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against government or government officials.

      I think that qualifies.
      • Re:Notable quote (Score:5, Informative)

        by khallow (566160) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:34PM (#13214839)
        This act long ago expired in 1802. I imagine that the grandparent poster meant something a little more recent. :-)
      • Re:Notable quote (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rolan (20257) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:35PM (#13214851) Homepage Journal
        The Sedition Act made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against government or government officials.

        None of which are forms of speech protected by the Constitution.
        • How's that for circular logic? If the law was held constitutional, then it wasn't constitutionally protected free speech. Or, if you're not just worried about the legislative branch, then spraying protesters with hoses and/or tear gas is fine, since if it happens, either the beatdown was legal, or the speech wasn't constitutionally protected.

          This is why Freenet is useful. Even if, right now, speech is doing pretty well in the U.S., it wasn't always and won't necessarily always be. Not to mention that people
        • Not True. (Score:3, Informative)

          by Irvu (248207)
          While False information is generally covered as Slander or Libel "Scandalous" and "Malicious" wiritng is simply anything oppositional to the current govenrment. That includes almost all politicial speech except that desired by the current officeholders. This would include all of the Clinton-Bashing that was published during his office (some of which included unfounded accusations). The same would be true of any and all things critical of the bush administration including news reports of their manipulatin
      • Re:Notable quote (Score:3, Informative)

        by cortana (588495)
        The Acts were all repealed or expired by 1802, and ultimately contributed to the Federalists' loss in the election of 1800.
        I think you are a little out of date.
      • Quick, get Thomas Jefferson on the phone! John Adams has killed free speech! Our freedoms are being trampled while big corporations get bigger and richer and more powerful! This is a heinous crime against humanity and it must be stopped!

        The US is going down the tubes, the book 1784 was right! It was just 14 years late...
      • So, these acts are still in effect, then?

        Good to know.

        ...

        I think I should have perhaps said "currently", or even "remotely recently".

    • Re:Notable quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qzukk (229616) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:22PM (#13214724) Journal
      It's clearly impossible in the US to criticize the government

      That depends. Is your wife a CIA agent?
      • That depends. Is your wife a CIA agent?

        If she were, apparently she'd either directly or indirectly approve trips to Africa for me, her husband, to disprove what she would call "crazy reports" of Iraq trying to buy uranium from Africa. Which it actually did do [washingtonpost.com][1], by the way.

        [1] "According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998."
        • Re:Notable quote (Score:3, Insightful)

          by VP (32928)
          Both of your statements are untrue and outdated - even the article you link to is an year old. There are much newer sources of information (based on testimonies under oath in front of a Grand Jury). Wilson's wife brought him in the CIA for a meeting - that is what her involvement was. She had neither the power, nor the influence to "approve trips to Africa". And the reports that Iraq was trying to buy uranium, that were to be investigated, were not for 1998, but from this century.

          I guess it would be too muc
          • No, actually, they're not untrue.

            And 1998 was mid-sanctions, long after the end of the Gulf War.

            This has no bearing on 2002 and 2003 specifcally, granted, but the point remains.

            I also didn't say that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program.

            What I do know was that Iraq was in continuing and egregious violation of numerous binding and in-force Chapter VII UN Security Council resolutions [un.int], so whether or not Iraq attempted to purchase uranium again after 1998 is irrelevant.

            Further, I said "indirectly". Wilso
            • Re:Notable quote (Score:4, Insightful)

              by VP (32928) on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:05PM (#13215769)
              Nice back-pedalling :-). It is not true that she "approved" the trip, and that is what you said. It is true that she was involved, but that is not what I was repsonding to.

              So now, the whole Iraq issue is that they violated the UN Security Council resolutions? Oh my, how did I miss that?

              Of course Iraq was violating the post-Gulf War resolutions. The reason given to go to war, however, was to prevent an existing and immediate threat of materializing. Wilson's trip was to investigate a specific report, not whether Iraq had tried to buy uranium at some time in general.

              As for impropriety, this is always determined by the power and decision making structures involving the participants. Was Valerie Plame the person who initiated the trip? Did she make the decision who will go on that trip? Was she in the position to make that decision? AFAIK, the answer of all three questions is "No."

              As to the childish reasoning that she only got involved because the White House wanted to discredit Wilson's article, why does the administration have a need to discredit the truth? (BTW, this is where the Senate's report is relevant - even with Iraq's violations of the UN resolutions, there was, and is no evidence that they did anything with their nuclear program). Even if you really believe that it was simply incompetence not to know about the rules regarding CIA operatives' identities (i.e. always assume it is secret, unless specifically told otherwise), it is still criminal incompetence.

              To get back to the original issue - "outing" Valerie Plame was a goivernment retaliation against a published article. Whether it was to discredit the author, to ruin his wife's carrier, or to endanger her life, it doesn't matter - it is still a free speach issue, especially since the intelligence supports the aformentioned article.
    • Re:Notable quote (Score:3, Informative)

      by interiot (50685)

      If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.

      That's easy. The constitution and the federal and state laws have many many rules. Some of them are in conflict. It's not always clear which of the rules in conflict trumps the other. When there's some disagreement about which one should win, some people have legitimate room to say that the first amendment is being overruled. Our speech isn't being "trampled" per-se,

      • It's worth noting that it is nearly always legally actionable whenever someone utters/prints an untruth that relates to another person or organization in any sort of demi-public forum. Fraud, Libel, and Slander cover a hell of a lot of ground.

        Like a lot of things in the constitution, your right to protected free speech ends when it starts hurting other people/organizations/multinational corporations etc.
        • Like a lot of things in the constitution, your right to protected free speech ends when it starts hurting other people/organizations/multinational corporations etc.

          But there are laws that go beyond that. Threatening the president doesn't actually do harm to him (or in 2008, "her"). Mailing obscene material to a customer who paid money for it doesn't harm anybody (material created when the actor/actress is under duress, especially child porn, definitely hurts someone, but "obscenity" isn't defined anywhe

    • Re:Notable quote (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pohl (872) *
      Your request f or a "provable" example betrays how naive you are. There is no way that the suppression of free speech by the government would be so overt in such a politically savvy nation. If you want to look for suppression of speech, look for those things surrounded by the protective shield of plausible deniability, such as the Plame affair [wikipedia.org]. Or look for subtle forms of coercion, such as denying "access to the president" to reporters that stray from the pattern of lobbing softball questions in press conf
    • Somtimes [phxnews.com] the government just destroys your wife's career, blowing the CIA front company and any operations or sources she may have been involved with, past or present, if they don't like what you write in the papers.
    • Although the United States is probably the best country for protections of the freedom of speech, the US government does regularly suppress speech.

      Take Miller vs. California, 1973. Activist supreme court ruled that any obscene speech is not to be protected and that the government may censor it.

      Oddly, in the same breath, you also reference a site which documents infringements of freedom of speech in public institutions: those funded and sanctioned by the government? Aren't they infringing freedom of speech
    • How about Bush excluding people who haven't drunk his neocon koolaid from his Social Security rallies? Which are government operations, not just the campaign events he turns them into. "Not as bad as China" is not an acceptable standard for my country's freedom.
      • "Not as bad as China" is not an acceptable standard for my country's freedom.

        Agreed. I cannot understand how people justify some of the United States' actions by saying "Well, it's a lot better here than (China, Iraq, Russia, whatever)". Is Gitmo a gulag? No. Does that make it ok? Not even close. The United States I love isn't just the best country in the world, it's far and away the best country in the world. Lately, it's been sinking down to pretty good.

        I criticize my country because I love
    • I'd argue the following are provable examples of the U.S. government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech:

      1. DMCA protection of algorithims used in commercial DRM encryption code.

      Information here: http://www.legal.wao.com/decss.html [wao.com]

      Computer code is copyrightable. In that sense, it is equivalent to speech; the government should not be able to arbitrarily repress it. However, the code for DeCSS, which does not violate either patent or copyright restrictions, is, according to the DMCA, illegal to r
    • Are you kidding?

      Is it still free speech when you have to go to a "free speech zone" [amconmag.com] to do it? That is absolutely restricting people's freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble. "Provably". Admit it.

      The only difference between the current US administration and Mubarak [canoe.ca] is that Mubarak hasn't yet figured out what's tasteful and what's not. Arresting Immortal Technique for making a cartoon of GW with a bullet in his head wouldn't look very good. You stop the demonstrators before they get to the demons
      • Does unlimited free speech and movement trump the safety of elected officials/dignitaries/world leaders/etc.?

        I say, no, it doesn't.

        You know damned well that there are some people in those groups who want to do more than just talk.

        And note you say "peaceably" assemble. Some of these assemblies are hardly peaceable, and claiming the police always incite any unrest is a copout, and false somewhere from some to most of the time.
        • The "free speach zones" cannot be excused by accusations that "some of these assemblies are hardly peaceable". Note that these "zones" were introduced during Clinton's administration, so this is not a dem/rep issue, it is an issue of prinicple - something that those in Washington have long forgotten. Even by Washington, DC standards, however, the current administration is claiming new heights in hypocricy, and (allegedly) criminal behavior.

        • Does unlimited free speech and movement trump the safety of elected officials/dignitaries/world leaders/etc.?

          You're absolutely right. Because if I were going to assasinate Bush, I'd turn up wearing an anti-US t-shirt and waving a placard.

          • You're absolutely right. Because if I were going to assasinate Bush, I'd turn up wearing an anti-US t-shirt and waving a placard.

            ...

            1. I didn't know we were only talking about Bush.

            2. You'd better believe that if an assassin, or anyone else who wishes to cause the greatest disturbance, property damage, etc., would absolutely love to integrate into a huge mob of people with as-direct-as-possible access to the meeting buildings, travel routes, etc.

            • Re:Notable quote (Score:4, Insightful)

              by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:54PM (#13215653) Journal

              1. I didn't know we were only talking about Bush.

              I referenced Bush because he's the one who is setting up the "Free Speech Zones" that we were discussing. This is where anyone who would make him look bad on television is confined (i.e. those who would boo him, those who would wave banners where the cameras could see, etc.) Anyone wanting to assasinate him is, allowing for sanity, not going to make themselves part of this group. They'll make themselves part of the flag-waving, cheering crowds who are aloud in media range of the president.

              As to integrating into a huge mob of people? Absurd! You pull out a gun in the midst of a crowd of protestors, point it at the president and see how quickly you get mobbed and flattened. And if you did, see how quickly you can run away through that "huge mob" you describe. And you see all those coppers who are positioned to keep order? Do you see where they're keeping order? That's right - they're paying special attention to the protesting people, as they always do.

              Trying to use a mob of protestors as cover for an assasination is only a hinderance compared to not using them.

              The only scenario in which a mob will be a benefit to an assasination, is when it's a mob of people who all want to assasinate the president. And if that's the case, it ain't assasination you're dealing with. It's an intifada.

    • Re:Notable quote (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:32PM (#13214821) Homepage
      (Note: traveling to Afghanistan, training in Taliban camps, and planning to blow up buildings in downtown Chicago with radiological dirty bombs is not "free speech".)

      Ah, you refer, I presume, to Jose Padilla? Good. I've been wanting to ask some questions of someone so well-informed on the matter.

      • What justifies the administration holding him completely incommunicado - without any communication with family, friends, or a lawyer? (C.f. the Fifth Amendment.)
      • If he is, in fact, guilty of a crime, when may we expect the trial? (C.f. the Sixth Amendment.)
      • What assurance does any other U.S. citizen have that they may not be designated 'enemy combatants' and similarly 'disappeared'?

      Note: he may well be guilty. The administration may well have evidence to that effect. I hope that is the case, as the idea that they would just imprison a guy for three years with no evidence is even scarier.

      But if they have evidence to justify such an imprisonment, then what possible excuse can there be for not putting him on trial with it?

      • But if they have evidence to justify such an imprisonment, then what possible excuse can there be for not putting him on trial with it?

        That's likely just it: the evidence is manifestly circumstantial, and might not result in the type of punishment sought, or indeed, even a conviction.

        It's not against the law to go to Afghanistan and train in terrorist training camps.

        It's not against the law to suddenly convert to radical Islam.

        While he might have been planning on blowing up buildings in Chicago with radiolo
        • At exactly the same point at which it's justified in shooting the guy on the battlefield.
        • That's likely just it: the evidence is manifestly circumstantial, and might not result in the type of punishment sought, or indeed, even a conviction.

          So, in such case, we should just ignore the Constitution and imprison someone anyway, just because "we're sure he's guilty, we just can't prove it"? And, if by accident they should think that about you, well, you're willing to pay that price to protect freedom or something?

          But the more important question is, when does the US, under the auspices of the mili

      • But if they have evidence to justify such an imprisonment, then what possible excuse can there be for not putting him on trial with it?


        They need to get Osama on the witness stand, but haven't been able to serve him the papers.


        c.

    • "Because the United States and China are so similar when it comes to oppressing free speech and jailing political dissidents."

      Give it ten more years of a fundamentalist republican-dominated government, and another successful bid by the next Neocon-backed Bush replacement (and hey, Arnie after him, right?), and I think you'll find the trend unmissable.

      "It's clearly impossible in the US to criticize the government, or even have imagery of the president with a bullet hole in his head on the tob banner of your

      • the large majority of Americans seemingly just don't care any more.

        It's a minor point in your overall post, but I'm glad you added the word "seemingly." With the media as solidly locked down as it is, how do you know that there isn't a Hell of a lot more resentment out there than you think? A million marched in Edinbrough recently, and got minimal converage (and half of that anti-anarchist hysteria).

        I think more people care than most people realize. But the biggest trick the private media will pull,
    • by Irvu (248207) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:40PM (#13214895)
      At the DNC and RNC conventions protestors (even licenced ones) were either a) moved to fenced-in areas well away from the conventions or (in the case of the RNC conventions blocked off and arrested non-violent marchers (with permits) (see here [2600.com]). I'd consider these pretty unambiguous attacks on "the rights of people to peacably assemble and petition their government for a redress of greivances." !st Amendement to the Constitution of the United States [cornell.edu].

      In other notes we have violations of due process in the case of Jose Padilla and other U.S. Citizens. For example Article III Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states: "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed." Which requires jury trials for those accused not secret military tribunals. Amendments V and VI also speak to this subject:

      Amendment V

      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      Amendment VI

      In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

      And before you jump on the point I would point out that the Military Tiribunals are not being convened against members of the U.S. Military ('
      In service in war or in time of public danger') so that clause of Amendment V doesn't give carte Blanche for them.

      On another note both the USAPATRIOT act and various federal laws dealing with drugs routinely allow for the unwarranted search and seizure of private property in some cases such property is not returned even when no conviction takes place. This would be (IMHO) a violation of Amendment IV of the constitution which states:

      Amendment IV

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      While we're on the topic of drugs. Excessive punishments and jail times have routinely been employed in this area noteably including California's 3-strikes policy which leads to life in prison even for 3 minor crimes (any 3 frauds including possession). Agasin in my opinion this would be a severe issue with Amendment VIII:

      Amendment VIII

      Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

      As a key point I would also mention this amendment:

      Amendment IX

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other

    • by mcc (14761)
      Because if America is superior to China, a still-stalinist-in-many-ways entity that probably qualifies as the most successful fascist nation in the world, then Americans don't need extralegal protections on their freedom of speech?

      Wait, no. That's silly. There's a massive gray area between "Stalinist China" and "free", and anyway, America being superior to China now says nothing about the future. One would think that strengthening our guarantee to freedom of speech through technical as well as legal means c
      • But in answer to your question, it seems examples abound where exercising free speech in public results in negative and undesirable attention from the government, thus making it fair to say that yes, freenet might be in some circumstances a useful tool for avoiding such things. I provide that link simply because it was the most recent example in a story on, well, slashdot.

        You might be surprised that I disagree that your example proves anything.

        My [slashdot.org] thoughts [slashdot.org] on that topic [slashdot.org].
    • If anyone can give actual provable examples of the US government abridging Constitutionally protected free speech, I'd love to hear it.
      (Of course, emphasis is my own)

      Though we all act like there is one solid definition for the term "free speech", this isn't necessarily so. Though the Constitution guarantees many freedoms as far as personal expression, there are many more possible freedoms it doesn't guarantee. It could be that someone else's version of Free Speech includes freedom of anonymity, or free

    • I agree with you that the USA is no China -- we really do have a huge measure of freedom that the average Chinese citizen does not.

      That said, I think it is disingenuous to ask for examples of abridging "Constitutionally protected free speech" -- the Supreme Court decides what is constitutionally protected and their definitions change over time. Right now, for example, expression defined as "obscenity" by the courts is not constitutionally protected, but I and many others think that this is a wrong interpr
  • by ponds (728911) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:06PM (#13214559)
    Don't we already know John Markoff's tactics all too well?
  • Mr. Clarke is taking a fresh approach, stating that his goal is to protect political opponents of repressive regimes." Wasn't freenet originally about dissent?

    Isn't that exactly what protecting dissent is? A very common definition of the word is someone who disagrees with the reigning government in their country. So I don't see this sudden change of motive that is being implied here.
    • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:18PM (#13214681)

      The writeup isn't confusing...the article itself is, and purposefully so.

      From TFA:
      While Freenet attracted wide attention as a potentially disruptive force when he introduced it in 2000, it proved more difficult to use than file-sharing programs like Grokster and Napster, and did not achieve the impact that he envisioned.

      Now, however, Mr. Clarke is taking a fresh approach, stating that his goal is to protect political opponents of repressive regimes.
      In the second sentence, Mr. Markoff insinuated that the original purpose of Freenet wasn't to protect political opponents of repressive regimes, when in fact Freenet's stated purpose was always, and still is, to combat censorship.

      In other words, Mr Markoff is intentionally distorting established history for his own ends, but given his history, that's not too surprising.
  • John Markoff is a hack who will write anything that will get him published. Now that Mitnick's out he's trying to find a new source of revenue - that means attacking anyone operating "in the grey."
    Remember in Takedown when Mitnick beat up Shimomura? I'll bet that we'll be seeing a best-selling novel by Markoff in which Clarke is a heroin-dealing child pornographer. Just give it time.
    • Remember in Takedown when Mitnick beat up Shimomura?

      I know that was in the movie, but was that depicted in his book? Markoff is a slime, no question about it, but if that was solely added into the movie, he probably didn't have any control over that. Screenwriters embellish source material all the time.

      Besides, if you take your facts about Kevin Mitnick from a Skeet Ulrich movie, then you've got problems.
  • ..actually get this thing to work?

    Last few times I tried it I could never get it to REALLY connect, just spurts, an image here, an image there.
    • Re:So anyone.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by g0tai (625459)
      Freenet's not really something you can just start up like eMule or BitTorrent (exeem, azureus(spelt) etc), but it is designed from an 'always on' perspective... If you left it on for at least a couple of days and allowed it to get to know other (reliable) nodes, you would notice it is considerably faster when the network is in a working state..... Even though it does have a sort of 'load and go non-permanenet' mode, it does take ages to get it to do sod all. Have patience, and if you've not got any of tha
  • by donleyp (745680) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:14PM (#13214643) Homepage
    They talked about Usenet in the article. The fact is that Usenet news is still very much alive and there are tons of copyrighted material floating around on it. There's also lots of legitimately published stuff too. Does anyone know of any efforts by RIAA and others to shut it down? ISP's have been carrying the alt.binaries.* groups for as long as I can remember. Have there been any legal challenges to that?
    • Usenet may still be alive, but it's less and less P2P and more centralized every year. As evidence, for you Usenet feed which peer's too you connect to; and is the usenet data you provide to peers fo a similar scale as the data you recieve from peers?

      If you answer is "I get my usenet feeds from one of the large commercial suppliers; and I send my usenet data to no-one" it's really not P2P anymore.

      I think it would be really cool to join or set up more traditionally P2P amateur usenet though (with small

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:16PM (#13214660)
    A problem Freenet faces is highlighted by the Scientology debate -- and I don't mean if Tom Cruise is right for Katie Holmes.

    In order to accurately discuss Scientology you need access to documents they claim are copyrighted and sell only at extornist prices. Open informed discussion brings lawsuits.

    Yet free speech via Freenet brings charges that it is just a method used to violate copyrights.

    How do you reconcile these two, divergent views?

    • (voluntary disclosure: I am a practicing Catholic in full communion with the see of Peter, and a Canadian citizen)

      I've actually thought about this a bit myself - partly about the Scientology problem, partly about the fact that copyright law makes it essentially impossible to post complete, up-to-date copies of Catholic liturgical texts and such online. I would be inclined to suggest the following:

      Any "official" sacred writing or liturgical text of any religious group, or any translation thereof, is automati
      • you could disambiguate "official" by defining it to include any documents defining any practices that the religion in question plans to (or already does) use and argue 'freedom of religion' as their defense/justification.
      • Now, this would in many ways solve the whole Scientology problem. If they are a religious group, then all these texts they're trying to protect would be public-domain, and so they couldn't suppress public dissemination and discussion of them using copyright law. If they insist on protecting these texts under copyright, then they're no longer a religious entity, but a business, and that opens them up to government legislation.

        I think this is a great idea. The best way would be to make it a condition of the

  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:16PM (#13214672) Homepage Journal
    Whenever freenet pops up in any discussion, there are two points discussed.

    * Child porn
    * Political propoganda

    These are two of the untouchable evils that are used to condemn Freenet. The rest of the world really doesn't see the point of an organized data store distributed accross machines based on constancy of use.

    After all, political dissidents are an essential measure of the health of a country. One with too little or too much of those indicate either fascism or anarchy. Democracy essentially says that the minorities shall not get what they want (ie the minority is defined as people who voted for something other than the majority) - it should technically have some disgruntled citizens. If you believe otherwise, please stop buying more shiny things.

    Anyway, like I like to say "Technology is a sword, both sides use and misuse it". And the essential sarcastic comment about "Freenet can be used for terrorist communications".
    • Democracy essentially says that the minorities shall not get what they want

      That is why the United States is a republic, not a democracy. A democratic, representative republic, yes, but not a democracy. The tyranny of the majority is rather close to a democracy. Of course, republics aren't immune to the tyranny of the majority either.

      Alexis DeTocqueville wrote some good essays [virginia.edu]
    • Since this topic creeps up again, let me share what I wrote some time ago; I kept it hidden in the hope that it would mature, but it did not by itself ;-) Its fancy name is:
      Tractatus Arcanae

      I'm going to suggest a combination of measures to improve the stealth and integrity of peer-to-peer communication.

      Preface:

      The exchange of personal information and forbidden secrets is facing the nosyness of governments and intellectual property 0wners. Allow me to add a sidenote here:

      I believe there is such a thing as in
  • Mr. Markoff appears to be re-writing a history that he probably only knows through a handful of lexis-nexis searches.

    Slashdotters, in turn, appear to comment on the story they probably only know through reading the headline or the submitted blurb.

    - shadowmatter
  • Obvious? (Score:3, Informative)

    by globalar (669767) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:25PM (#13214746) Homepage
    This article doesn't seem to be about Clark. What Markoff appears to be saying is that the struggle corporations have with "protecting" copyrighted material is similar to the challenges repressive governments face with censorship. Tools such as Freenet challenge both. Advocates like Clark typically find themselves disagreeing with corporations and governments. Communication technology and individual liberty makes no distinction between information. /.'s should already know this well.

  • Fundamental problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Have Blue (616) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:25PM (#13214753) Homepage
    If you're going to let anyone onto the network, you may be letting undercover government agents onto the network.

    If you're going to transmit data from point A to point B, points A and B have to know something that makes the other unique among all possible points.

    If you're going to make the network 100% anonymous and available, it'll get blocked by administrators afraid it will be abused, like Tor.
  • by UninvitedCompany (709936) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:27PM (#13214770)
    I wonder whether the courts will continue their strategy of balancing 1st amendment rights and copyright protection. Though the Grokster ruling was a big win for the RIAA and Hollywood, it left P2P intact as a legitimate technology, with the betamax-like reasoning that it has noninfringing uses.

    When freenet becomes common enough, government and industry will have to resort to Old Fashioned Police work, trying to trick file sharers into trusting them, then exploiting that trust in an investigation. I have no doubt that we will see that for highly objectionable content, such as child porn and terrorist communications. It won't be worth it for infringement cases, though.

    The real question is whether the courts will be bold enough to make the technology unlawful based on the widespread criminal uses that are sure to develop. Stay tuned.

  • by Linus Torvaalds (876626) on Monday August 01, 2005 @12:42PM (#13214910)

    ...shame the facts don't agree with it.

    From the Wayback Machine archive of May 2000 [archive.org]:

    Freenet is a peer-to-peer network designed to allow the distribution of information over the Internet in an efficient manner, without fear of censorship.

    Another page from the Wayback Machine [archive.org]:

    Freenet implements free speech, nothing more. It won't encourage or enable criminal behavior that wouldn't have happened without it, and it might actually help us better understand and deal with criminals. While our hope is that people under oppressive governments can use Freenet to describe their plight without retribution, it is also possible for a terrorist to publish on Freenet why he chose to bomb a building or hijack a plane.

    Freenet's political goal isn't revisionist history. Implying that it's intended for copyright infringement is.

  • This reminds me of a news broadcast in Sweden a year ago or so about - you guessed it - child pornography. They interviewed a guy at a children's rights organization and he particularly mentioned Freenet, he called it "an open door for pedophiles" and continued with some inane ramblings about how ISP's must monitor all traffic for greater good (tm). This also reminds me of http://news.com.com/Congress+threatens+P2P+networ k s+on+porn/2100-1028_3-5809223.html?tag=nefd.top [com.com] When will these people realize guns
  • How about the part where the RIAA spokesperson honestly refers to the Grokster decision as prohibiting only "active encouragement to abuse", while Markoff pretends that the Court decided that "enabling copyright infringement" is prohibited? Markoff's boundary is much more restrictive, which prohibits all kinds of legitimate transactions, than the actual law. He's always shilling for the corporate interest, from his New York Times soapbox.

    He's planting a corporate flag in the conventional media wisdom of wha
  • by Sanity (1431) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:02PM (#13215099) Homepage Journal
    The article doesn't really discuss it, but the core innovation being presented in the Defcon talk was a design for a scalable darknet. This is interesting and new because current darknets, such as Waste, don't scale. They typically consist of small isolated groups of small numbers of people.

    This new design for Freenet is different, it is a globally scalable invite-only Darknet. Oskar Sandberg and Ian Clarke have developed a method to route messages through a "fixed links" P2P network in a scalable way. This is non-trivial as most scalable P2P search algorithms (such as that previously employed in Freenet, and other Distributed HashTable algorithms) rely on being able to choose which peers are connected to each-other. Its like trying to create signposts for a gigantic maze in an entirely decentralised way.

    We hope to make a paper describing this available through the Freenet website [freenetproject.org] in the next few days.

    -Ian

    • More information (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sanity (1431) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:42PM (#13216132) Homepage Journal
      Here is a formal abstract, and an informal "blog entry", both of which were part of the submissions material for the talk:

      Abstract:

      It has become apparent that the greatest threat toward the survival of peer to peer, and especially file sharing, networks is the openness of the peers themselves towards strangers. So called "darknets" - encrypted networks where peers connect directly only to trusted friends - have been suggested as a solution to this. Some, small-scale darknet implementations such a Nullsofts WASTE have already been deployed, but these share the problem that peers can only communicate within a small neighborhood.

      Utilizing the small world theory of Watts and Strogatz, Jon Kleinbergs algorithmic observations, and our own experience from working with the anonymous distributed data network Freenet, we explore methods of using the dynamics of social networks to find scalable ways of searching and routing in a darknet. We discuss how the results indicating the human relationships really form a "small world", allow for ways of restoring to the darknet the characteristics necessary for efficient routing. We illustrate our methods with simulation results.

      This is, to our knowledge, the first time a model for building peer to peer networks that allow for both peer privacy and global communication has been suggested. The deployment of such networks would offer great opportunities for truly viable peer to peer networks, and a very difficult challenge to their enemies.

      Blog Entry:

      I started the Freenet Project in 1998 with the goal of building a network for truly free communication, and of all the things we have learned since then, perhaps the most salient is that the biggest threats to P2P networks come not from without, but from within the network itself. This is something that the current file sharing networks are now learning the hard way, with those organizations who wish to stop them now infiltrating the networks to sue individual users for providing certain files. And while Freenet has always been designed to protect the identity and security of people who access and publish information from attackers and prying eyes, it's design has never been able to protect the identity of people who operate nodes in the network from one another.

      Recently Oskar, who was one of the original contributors to the project and who is now working on his PhD in Mathematics, and I have been discussing the mathematical mechanics behind large scale networks. As a part of this discussion it dawned on us, that because science now believes that human relationships really do form a "small world" (between any two of us, there are only six degrees of separation), with the right algorithms it should be possible to find data fast even in a network where peers only ever talk to peers that they already know and trust. We believe our methods for doing this provide to key to making peer-to-peer networks that are both dark and searchable: secure and efficient. For those who wish to constrain the free flow of information, such networks could be the biggest nightmare of all...

  • John Markoff was the NewYork Times journalist who framed Kevin Mitnick for solitary confinement for over 5 years!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Markoff [wikipedia.org]
    So stay clear from John Markoff, he's even worse than a government chill.

    Robert
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:32PM (#13216024) Homepage Journal
    The question is when does free speech go to far?
    Someone complained that about the preventing protests too close to the president. How do they feel on limiting how close protesters can be to abortion clinics? Another talks about how valuable hiding you identity is when you speak but how do they feel about Microsoft funding studies about Linux? I have seen people post that allowing kiddie porn is a price they are willing to pay for free speech. If I had the home address and phone number of someone that was unpopular on Slashdot should I have the right to post it? Should I have the right to lie about them?

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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