Although I love and appreciate my friends who fight in the political sphere...

Part of me thinks a) we can't win and b) the censorship, the filtering, the copyright, the moral panics - all will ultimately work to our favour.

By "our", I mean us folks who care about decentralization, free software and less corporate ways to exist online.

The more constraints the law puts on Internet businesses, the more compelling the law-ignoring DIY alternatives become.

Bad laws are for breaking. โœŠ

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One caveat: We have to protect cryptography.

Crypto must be protected at all costs, it will allow us to work around most everything else. If crypto is outlawed (as in, users or developers face jail-time), we're completely and utterly screwed.

If you want to compete with Google or Facebook or other big companies, you need to understand that a) they are actually constrained by the law and b) the only computer bigger than their computer, is "everybody else's computer."

Radical decentralization + build software that has features the companies cannot offer for legal reasons.

We just have to be willing to go where the big companies can't. The more censorship there is of "normal" content, the more opportunities there are to do just that.

@HerraBRE I absolutely agree about protecting crypto, but I don't agree about not fighting the political fight. We should build tech that's as immune to bad laws as possible under the veil of crypto, but that's only so possible. These aren't mutually exclusive... fighting bad laws / fighting for good ones should happen in tandem with building good tech.

@cwebber I would never actually go so far as to discourage people from fighting these legal battles. What if I'm wrong?

I'm just pointing out a silver lining that has a strategic element to it.

If we want to effectively fight the big companies, we need to understand their weaknesses and where we are stronger.

@HerraBRE I agree with that!

BTW my next post that appeared to be a subtoot of this was well, partly in response to it, but also equally to about 20 different threads I've seen over the last month :)

@cwebber @HerraBRE

Yes I certainly agree. Diversified tactics.

There is promise and peril in the current moment.

Worst case, something like Article13 causes ISPs to block all ports, making self-hosting much harder.

On the upside the current dynamics of the technology industry are playing in our favor. Federated systems is shaping up to be the best way to manage online communities, and it looks like the automated methods of Twitter and Facebook will either fail flatly or just produce a highly sterile/boring user experience devoid of anything which might be considered controversial.

I'm much more concerned with "the state"(ยฉ) (three-letter-agencies) than big companies, therefore I completely disagree with you, because the law obviously works in the states' favor

@Maltimore I don't think we are in conflict.

If systems are built that allow users to relatively safely flout copyright law (for example), it will accidentally also raise the bar and provide cover for other types of non-state-sanctioned comms, including organized resistance.

And it will either thwart or raise significantly the cost of mass surveillance.

Elsewhere in the thread I said I would never object to or try to discourage people from fighting bad laws.

Just pondering a silver lining.

@HerraBRE It's hard to belive it will happend (again). Crypto is necessary to protect key industrial and economical inteligences from others state.

The pressure will be more ยซwhen the police ask you to unlock it, you have to do it or go to jailยป.

.@HerraBRE Also important to protect democracy (right of the people to fire their government). Fact that world empire is run by an elected leader (not Xi or Putin) is significant to the fact that we can actually experiment & bend the rules w/o jail.

@cjd Agreed. There are many fights worth fighting; rule of law (which usually depends on some form of democracy) is too often taken for granted.


You can't opt out of the US turning into a fascist dictatorship. You can choose to ignore it, which makes you culpable for the outcome.

@HerraBRE @hhardy01

You may choose to totally ignore politics, but the unfortunate fact is that politics won't ignore you. You may keep losing, but unfortunately you cannot just leave that game and play a different one. That's one of the bad things in life.


> law-ignoring

i daresay google is freer to ignore the law than we are. if i run an underground payment processor, you can bet iโ€™ll get my door kicked in.

@garbados So don't do that then? My point is to look for opportunities in the constraints. They do exist.

@HerraBRE sure. your cavalier attitude toward the tactic of skirting legality just struck me.

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@garbados @HerraBRE @bob

So do you want for others to behave toward you in a lawless manner?

@garbados @HerraBRE @bob

Are you asking me what laws apply in your local jurisdiction? I don't think I understand what information you are asking me to give you.


My question to you is, "So do you want for others to behave toward you in a lawless manner?"

"Not governed by or obedient to laws; characterized by a lack of civic order."

@hhardy01 whose laws? the ones in my jurisdiction? the laws i live by? the laws i'd *like* to live by? if we're in different places, do you mean whether they or i should obey the other's jurisdiction? if neither of us has access to a lawyer, how will we determine the shape of the law?

when the police behave toward me in a lawless manner, unrestrained by any semblance of legality, am i wrong to question a system that applies justice so selectively, with such contrived malice?


You are trying really hard to avoid my question, aren't you. lol.

How's that working for you? :)

@hhardy01 i don't even know what you mean by "lawless", your appeal to a dictionary notwithstanding. it certainly seems like you're trying to make some kind of point but i have no idea what it is.


Let me give you a particular example.

Right now in the US we have a President who evidently would rather not be encumbered by law or the US Constitution. What stands between Trump, other than his own fecklessness and stupidity, is the law and legal due process

Conducting a revolution against a state which has a monopoly on violence, up to and including thousands of nuclear weapons, seems like a very problematic alternative to seeking to protect and amend the instruments of legality


> the law and due process

certainly isn't standing between him and putting kids in concentration camps ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

unless... the law is fine with kids in concentration camps ๐Ÿค”

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@HerraBRE laws that are unenforceable, are enforced selectively. This is by design. While looking fair, they are affecting only those that effectively challenge profit and power of the status quo. Those who are distractions and useful tools are free to break them.

@HerraBRE just run all the servers inside tor and the problem solves itself.
@HerraBRE if you have enough of them they can't take them ALL down.

@jeff A lot of people committing minor crimes is indeed handled very differently from a small number of people committing serious ones.

So yes, mass disobedience is a valid tactic and there can be safety in numbers. It depends.

And Tor is a useful tool.

I just wanted to remind you that it is just a tool - it only works if you use it correctly. Which is much easier said than done.

@HerraBRE this is why sane defaults are required. mastodon and pleroma should default to federate over tor via onion.

@HerraBRE they will work in favour of small elite of tech-savvy users. Not the general public. And that's a very elitist point of view.

Besides, then they will pass another law. And another. The laws will fsck you up one way or the other, eventually.

We need both. Laws that do not fsck things up, and decentralized services that are hard to fsck up.

@HerraBRE you tooted the other day that the "only" thing that needs to be left unfscked is crypto.

But that's the main thing that some people are working day and night to fsck up as we speak.

So there is no escaping the political process. And if there's no escaping we might as well not wait untill we're at our last cryptostand.

@rysiek I disagree with the elitist point, simply because what I am talking about is building services and software for the general public - things like Mastodon or Peertube or Signal (or Mailpile!), not things like Pond or Mailman.

I agree that the political battles are necessary, but my impression is we have been, inch by inch, losing ground over the past 20-30 years. It's pure defence and inevitably the other team scores a goal now and then.

I'm looking for opportunities for offense.

@rysiek It's interesting to me that you tooted the ACTA fight actually left some memories and changed some attitudes.

Maybe there is hope that the political class can learn and develop some resistance of its own to the constant encroaching on digital rights. Things like Pirate parties are also a ray of hope.

It just feels agonizingly slow, and meanwhile the Overton window has shifted: we're not talking about preventing censorship anymore, we're arguing what kinds of censhorship are acceptable.

@HerraBRE then help to shift this overton window back.

I am amazed with techies/geeks complaining about their side "losing", about how the political process is broken... and then not getting involved in that political process.

Look at the right-wingers. Boy, can they organize! Can they get galvanized!

Why are we not a vocal minority? Why are we not as involved?

@HerraBRE this "losing inch by inch" might be true. But that also means that we delay it so that developers have time to create services that are more robust and decentralized.

The alternative is clearly to lose all or a lot at once, which would mean there is no time to develop the new services.

If you want offence in this area, get involved, get people galvanized and informed, so that we *can* go on offence and fix copyright, for example.

@HerraBRE the reason why we're losing inch by inch, and why we're always playing catch-up, and why we're always outnumbered, is because "our side" does not have high-powered lawyers by the dozen, and millions in lobbying money.

I am here in Strasbourg on my *vacation time*!

You want to go on the offence? Support EDRi. Support politicians that are doing good work, like Reda, or Boni. Or McCarthy.

Software is an important argument, too! But we need to tackle the law.

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