[Cryptography] "we need to protect [our dox] by at least encrypting them"

Henry Baker hbaker1 at pipeline.com
Mon Nov 7 18:16:07 EST 2016

At 01:47 PM 11/7/2016, Florian Weimer wrote:
>* Henry Baker:
>> I have yet to see any evidence that *secret negotiations* are _ever_
>> in the best interests of the ordinary citizen.
>Current public discourse has tremendously raised the perceived cost of
>being in the wrong.  Typically, it is possible to negotiate a way
>forward for everyone involved, while all parties can somehow save face
>in the public eye (at least formally).  In a fully public environment,
>this wouldn't be possible, so there wouldn't be much incentive to make
>any compromise at all.

And the problem is?

In Edo-period Japan, an ordinary non-Samurai citizen couldn't talk
to the Shogun on pain of death.  Read the book or see the mini-series
~1980.  In one scene, the villagers were so upset with what this one
European was doing, that they chose one of their own to risk death
to bring his behavior to the attention of the Shogun.  Needless to
say, this process dramatically cut down on citizen complaints, much
like our current "whistleblower" processes dramatically cut down on

Here's the flip side:

I recall a science fiction story from the 1950's (whose name &
author I cannot recall -- please, please help me if you know) in
which the leader of a certain democracy had "strict accountability"
to its citizens.  Upon inauguration, a special non-removable
"necklace" would be locked around the neck of the new leader --
which necklace simultaneously gave him/her both the power of the
office and the accountability of the office.  If *at any time* a
majority of the citizens so "voted", the necklace would instantly
strangle the new leader to make way for the  election of a new

The problem that remains to be solved is called the "principal/agent"
problem, wherein "[a] dilemma exists in circumstances where the agent
is motivated to act in his own best interests, which are contrary to
those of the principal, and is an example of moral hazard."

Unfortunately, our democracy offers mechanisms which are too weak to
align the interests of the agents (politicians) with the interests
of the principals (citizen voters).  Indeed, most of our politicians
have become confused as to who is the principal and who is the agent.


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