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Comment This is what my final career project was about (Score 4, Interesting) 29

The problem is that web is server centric. You always connect to a server. It's not just that someone might be listening your conversations (i.e. potential man in the middle); it's that the server is ALWAYS there. That's what I call the "server in the middle" problem, whose solution is of course end-to-end encryption, and that's what my final career CS project was about. I implemented a simple extension for HTML5 in KHTML that allowed you to use your GPG keyring to sign, encrypt and decrypt message, with full support implemented in the browser. This was done two years ago and I also did a small presentation about this at Google office in Spain, though they were not very interested on it (their business model is to be the server in the middle, so no surprise here). Of course you cannot trust the Javascript code given by the server, because that breaks the security chain. You cannot trust the server in the middle for anything. You should trust only the browser (otherwise you're fucked anyway, which you well might be). Every bit of security should be implemented in the browser and not in Javascript, even the presentation layer (this is what I did, albeit only for very simple text messages). But then that would limit the possibilities: that can work for very simple text applications, but if you want to show smileys, rich text, images, jquery sugar, etc then.. you can't do that. If you want to implement an end-to-end "google spreadsheet" you won't be able to do that with presentation done completely by the browser, you need to trust the code of the web page. Of course google chrome plugins signed by google would work, but then you're trusting google (and not Fedora for example) and you're not using just standards on the web, you're requiring one specific web browser. We could go for an end-to-end security basic extensible standard with an increasing list of extensions supported more or less by mainstream browsers. That's one of the possible solutions, but I'm sure there will be better proposals.

Comment Re:The real Internet Party, liquid democracy,in Sp (Score 1) 291

That sounds like a great selling point, but I think you're glossing over the fundamental criticism of democracy expressed by people since Plato, which is, basically, that it's mob rule.

If I'm an artist insulting some religious icon and the mob is screaming for my head, the whole point of limiting democracy is that the mob doesn't get what it wants. They have no right to censor my speech, ergo one person can tell millions to go fuck themselves. Enumerated powers, checks and balances, representative democracy, confederation, all of these are tools to limit mob rule.

We have a constitution, and it must be obeyed. The mob cannot censor speech because any law would be against it and the Supreme Court would go against such law.

But your system puts no bar on the tyranny of the majority. Worse still, no one will care who represents them since they can overrule them any time they want, so with no purpose and guidance from voters, those representatives are really just there to enrich themselves through corruption.

The executive power represents the country and within the law they can do whatever they want, so yeah people should care about them. The proxy representatives in the legislative chamber have no power because they always have to vote what people tell them to, so they cannot be corrupted in that way, and the delegates in which people delegate via internet voting are the ones with real power, but their vote is public and if they corrupt, people can instantly change their delegation, which acts as a check and balance system.

You talk about the tyranny of the mob, but the real tyranny I know of is that of the rich and powerful minority, the one we have been suffering in this "democracy". Surely any democratic system is far from perfect, but a liquid democracy puts a bar on the current biggest problem, the rich and powerful minority. They won't be able to convince as easily the mob to do whatever they want as a few congressmen and senators, and anyway at any time the mob realizes they have been tricked it will never be too late to change back the law, something really really difficult with other systems.

Will the "mob" enact stupid laws? Sure, but as Former Google CIO suggest, doing dumb things might not be that bad. And really, can it get much worse than the current system? The current check and balances does not work, and I think liquid democracy will work much better and transparently.

Comment Re:The real Internet Party, liquid democracy,in Sp (Score 2) 291

The criticism to direct democracy does not apply to PDI. Partido de Internet is NOT about direct democracy - it's about both direct and representative democracy. You get what you want when you want. The most probable use-case is you stablish a voting delegate, and then once in a while you check that your delegate is doing right. If there's an important voting you can always check the vote your delegate will proxy as yours, and if you don't agree you can emit a direct vote for a specific voting and continue delegating in the rest. And of course if that happens a lot, then you can change your delegate.

Oh and you cannot stablish a voting delegate and forget about it for years: the authorities in charge of the secrecy of the vote need to be many and will have a period of renewal, which could be say 2-4 years. When they change, the votes (including the delegations, which are treated as a special kind of vote, where the options are not YES/NO/ABSTENTION but DELEGATE 1,DELEGATE 2,etc) need to be re-emitted too. So in the end it can function as regular representative democracy where you vote (i.e. delegate) every 4 years, BUT you can change your vote at any time, and you can emit a direct vote if needed for important matters, working as direct democracy when the user wants only (which can be always, never, or anything in between). This is useful because some people always want to vote for X party, but in reality they don't agree 100% with it. For exmaple in spain 50+% voted for Partido Popular, but ~97% was against irak war promoted by Partido Popular. All of them could have voted NO had liquid democracy been in place. People voting to a traditional party and then also voting in Ágora "virtual parliament" is a non-issue for us: we want more users, and those must naturally come from those voting traditional parties, so that's a "transitional" stage, and as marketing. If lots of people from another party try our system, we believe we will gain lots of people that otherwise wouldn't have known our system and wouldn't have a chance to vote to our party.

Comment Living towards the future (Score 2, Insightful) 202

Looks like the future is coming. Fast. See this post that appeared in digg TODAY

So this is what the future is going to be like. First step, make this voluntarily. Then a lot of services will use this. I live in Spain, and I see this coming. Here Franco's dictatorship stablished what you're fighting against in many countries right now: a national identity card (called DNI). Our DNI is already an electronic, comes with a chip with all the information and can be read with a card reader, and contains some legally valid certificates with which you can authenticate and sign anything.

For us, this is a normal thing because we've been living having DNI for decades, and if you ask just about ANYONE, it's good. The police have our fingerprints, photos, and all data, and this way they can identify anyone, they can use the fingerprint for crime-scene-techniques like in CSI, etc.

Now the government of Spain is spending a lot of money and time trying to make people use the electronic DNI. They have a nice web page with info for developers ( An increasing number of websites are using https (SSL) for authentication via e-DNI (like banks), and Java Applets for signing all kind of things. For example there's a webpage (tractis) in which you can sign electronic and legally valid contracts.

You might be an optimist and think you have two choices: you can either fight against it, or use it. But really, read all above. This is not something you can easily fight against. I am an advocator for liberties, but I'm also used to having DNI, and I've surrendered. I'm helping a new political party called "Partido de Internet" (Internet Party) whose aim is to be able to have a liquid democracy in which our representatives will vote what people vote over the Internet.... using DNI-e. So yes, I'm helping the governmental machinery trying to spread the usage of electronic national identity cards. Welcome our 1984 overlords!

This is the first step. Next step will be to make its usage mandatory for every login. They're requiring everyone to secure their wifi in Germany to prevent unauthorized people from using their Web access to illegally download data. And then, probably much earlier than 2025, we'll be as bad as in the first digg link in this post. We're already living in a distopy worse than 1984 in many ways, but we see it normal because it can always get worse - and it certainly will.

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