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News & Politics News & Politics

Geek post : gun control, pædophilia and anonymity

Posted by on Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:02 AM
  • 3 Replies

 

Poll

Question: I think the argument is:

Options:

Valid for guns; Valid for TOR

Valid for guns; Invalid for TOR

Invalid for guns; Valid for TOR

Invalid for guns; Invalid for TOR

Other (please post to specify)


Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 4

View Results

Everyone has heard the argument:

If you criminalise owning guns, then the only guns will be those owned by criminals.

I've just come across that same syllogism in a different context:

If you pass laws allowing the state to breach the privacy of citizens, then only criminals will have privacy.


The context was a piece of software called "TOR", that is designed to let people use the internet in a way that can't be traced back to them.   This is useful for whistleblowers, and democracy activists living in repressive countries.   However, any software powerful enough to prevent the NSA tracing a whistleblower using it is, necessarily, also powerful enough to prevent the NSA tracing a pædophile using it.

Here's the argument, as presented in the FAQ on the TOR website:

Doesn't Tor enable criminals to do bad things?

Criminals can already do bad things. Since they're willing to break laws, they already have lots of options available that provide better privacy than Tor provides. They can steal cell phones, use them, and throw them in a ditch; they can crack into computers in Korea or Brazil and use them to launch abusive activities; they can use spyware, viruses, and other techniques to take control of literally millions of Windows machines around the world.

Tor aims to provide protection for ordinary people who want to follow the law. Only criminals have privacy right now, and we need to fix that.

Some advocates of anonymity explain that it's just a tradeoff — accepting the bad uses for the good ones — but there's more to it than that. Criminals and other bad people have the motivation to learn how to get good anonymity, and many have the motivation to pay well to achieve it. Being able to steal and reuse the identities of innocent victims (identity theft) makes it even easier. Normal people, on the other hand, don't have the time or money to spend figuring out how to get privacy online. This is the worst of all possible worlds.

So yes, criminals could in theory use Tor, but they already have better options, and it seems unlikely that taking Tor away from the world will stop them from doing their bad things. At the same time, Tor and other privacy measures can fight identity theft, physical crimes like stalking, and so on.


So, what do you think of the argument?   Valid or not?

by on Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:02 AM
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Replies (1-3):
143myboys9496
by Gold Member on Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:10 AM

I think that, criminals will do whatever they need/want to achieve their goal. Guns, internet privacy..whatever. They have people designing programs FOR their specific needs..there are crates of military grade guns coming into this country illegally every day. 

I'd much prefer to take care of myself, family, etc...KWIM?


Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Oct. 17, 2013 at 8:20 AM

BUMP!

JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Oct. 17, 2013 at 9:31 AM

bump

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