Cover of Darkness - What will happen when everyone is anonymous?

It is very likely that corruption will increase if it becomes easier to corrupt people. So I don’t think we can assume that governments wont fully exploit cybercash or anonymous value transfer for their own means. In fact it would be wise to expect them to do exactly that which would explain why SAFE Network and similar technologies are being allowed to be developed.

I’m pretty sure those who are in authority and who are corrupt might decide to use the latest technology to enhance their activities. So if we are focused on transparency shouldn’t we promote that aspect rather than cybercash?

Cybercash has pros and cons, but is very controversial. Transparency also has pros and cons and is controversial but it is only transparency which can protect us from the corrupt agent. It isn’t the whole government that is bad but bad actors within the government.

I believe in the future very advanced artificial intelligence will survey everything and everybody. That might sound scary as hell and will be very dangerous if the AI turns evil. So it’s extremely important that we develop friendly AI. What will happen when the AI becomes strong AI and able to improve itself at an accelerating rate? Will it automatically become evil? No, not if it’s a healthy AI. Evil is not only a narrow form of intelligence, it’s also a pathology. Real intelligence is general and empathy, compassion and concern for others are required traits of healthy general intelligence.

Selfishness is good when the consequences for others are taken into account. It’s the narrow form of selfishness that in an irresponsible way disregards others that is dangerous and destructive. A responsible godlike AI will respect individual freedom and anonymity even when it CAN spy on everything. We will be able to use the AI to protect ourselves 100%. So it will be really good.

I think at this point it’s unclear whether anonymity would be exploitable in such a way (for blackmail).

If the tech is good, it should be hard (maybe not impossible, fine) to track and blackmail anonymous users, so it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to go after small blackmail opportunities. In that case, assuming the 80/20 rule, 80 percent of anonymous users would be better off.

What if you’re not really anonymous but you think you are? What if some 3 letter agency knows who you are and where you are? How exactly are you supposed to be protected?

Also what about the rest of the civilians on the Internet who aren’t anonymous? Now they’ll have to figure out how to protect themselves from anonymous shadow armies of extortionists.

Please apply game theory here. If you’ve got power and money then having anonicash only allows you to control federal agents at your whim.

What damage could a corrupt federal agent do?

Imagine the federal agent Carl Mark Force without the ability of ever getting caught, with the ability to do whatever he wants to whomever he wants. If you don’t like what he does then he can shut you down, have you arrested on bullshit charges or for whatever crimes you really committed but which conveninetly will be ignored if you pay a fee to him.

Now imagine every federal agent has this sort of power and that these federal agents can operate in complete anonymity just like you. Unlike you they would have all the powers of the government so they’d probably still know what you’re doing, who you are, where you are, but now they’d be able to break the law themselves.

I think that is the big danger you should be worried about with cybercash. It’s not that cybercash is always bad but I think this case shows that it’s better to have an open ledger which can at least by analyzed than to have it be totally obfuscated. When it’s an open ledger you can at least for now see for example that the MtGox coins were stolen and are being moved from here to there and in situations where there is corruption or when you need to protect yourself you can reveal your transactions.

How do you protect yourself in SAFE Network with no transaction log? A federal agent could say you financed ISIS and you’d have to somehow prove you didn’t. How would you prove it?

If I didn’t do it, couldn’t I rely on plausible deniability?
Since there’s no positive proof (logs), it would be hard for them to blackmail people just like that.
It would have to be important for them to justify the effort. In that case they could even afford to manufacture evidence (assuming they knew the victim could afford to pay).

I know there are many cases where it wouldn’t be advantageous to be anon, but having the option is different from using it. People who are concerned about the possibilities you mentioned could choose to use Bitcoin and an ID-able identity on MaidSafe.

I am in favor of having a choice, not of forcing my choice on to all the users, so I am not saying your arguments don’t apply. They do, but not to all the situations. For example consider some public person frequenting MaidSafe gay porn sites. It may not be illegal, but it may be embarrassing. If there’s a chance he might get busted, it’s better for him to takes his chances and browse as an anonymous than ID-eable MaidSafe user.

Again you’re underestimating the power a corrupt federal agent might have. I suggest you look at some other countries to see what can happen.

I do agree that most people don’t want to be anonymous because for most people there will not be any advantage. In fact if enough people abuse anonymity then being anonymous will come with negative associations.

No, not for reasonable people will attraction of anonymity be sullied.

@chrisfostertv I see cybercash etc as tax evasion strategies that wont be much more effective than cash for such purposes, in part because slur on safe type whistleblowing and increased transparency.