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.
@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.
Crypto relies on clearly communicating who build what and why it's strong. Look at the Black Hat Con in Las Vegas. It gets stronger because people are allowed to speak freely about it.
Where are all the human clones? Of course we can research it. It's feasable. Yet it's not done because it's against the law. That's how laws work. It's the same with cryptography. Forbid it and let the world burn.
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.
@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.
@aadilayub That's really unfortunate. Where are you from? (You don't have to answer, obviously, don't say anything that will incriminate you!)
All crypto, or just some? Are you breaking the law by visiting a website that uses TLS?
You are right it is very hard to enforce, but governments can make it dangerous to break the rules - and with enough surveillance you can catch enough people to set an example to keep most people "in line."
Encrypted VPNs and VoIPs are explicitly illegal, but I'm not sure about TLS or things like Signal.