The Difference Between Can't and Won't

Imagine as a place with no censorship. People would upload copyrighted videos and those videos would remain online. Copyright holders would then “kindly” ask YouTube to take their videos down, but YouTube (as a no-censorship platform) would not comply.

Ouch. “Non-compliance”. You’re supposed to obey. This cannot end well.

And it doesn’t:
Helicopters would soon swarm the properties of the operators, swat teams; angry law enforcement officers equipped with battering ram, sledgehammers and heavy weaponry would smash in doors, seize domains, servers, property and arrest anyone and everyone responsible (don’t believe me? google “megaupload” - which wasn’t even outright ignoring dmca).

Then, long jail sentences and hefty fines would be thrown left and right. Not a pretty picture.

If a non-censorship version of were to be launched on maidsafe instead. What would happen? The exact same thing except seizure of servers and domain. Still not a pretty picture.

The key issue here is non-compliance. YouTube HAD a choice and they choose to not obey. As Andreas so eloquently put it: the difference between being a free man and getting sentenced to a life in prison is “the difference between can’t and won’t

So that begs the question, how can you run a site on maid without the ability to control it?

Three possible solutions:

  1. Upload the website and throw away the key

    • who’s going to believe you threw away the key (is there proof of burn?)
    • you can no longer update the website
    • you can’t remove spam from the website
  2. Create a multi sig ownership

    • every participant in the multi sig might be responsible
  3. Run the website anonymously

    • opsec is hard
    • you are now a hardcore criminal. Enjoy looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life.

Regulations are increasing, requirement to have “do you want to accept cookies” on every website ruining the smooth experience, gdpr, article 13, you name it, we’re just getting started. This will get much, much worse in the future. The worst laws are those that apply to anything involving money, that’s where you can get decades in prison, sometimes even life sentence. Want to run an exchange on maid while ignoring KYC? Good luck with that, you’ll need it.

How do you even abide to the article 13 regulations on your safe website? Approving/rejecting every new submission is an infeasible task even for giants such as youtube and google who has already built specialized AI robots for filtering. For individuals like you and me, it’s completely impossible to keep up.

The only solution I see is that you must be in a situation where you cannot comply, even if you want to. But none of the solutions I have proposed seems sufficient. Am I missing any?

I’d love to hear your opinions. Do we simply have to suck it up and accept all the ever increasing laws on free speech and free trade or do we become disobedient and live life as criminals? Is there other solutions? Is there any way to run a website on maid without censorship while also not being responsible?


All of that is irrelevant.
Nobody can track who made the site, there are no servers to take down. The network is anonymous, there is no IP to trace.

The SafeNetwork is GDPR compliant by default.

I think you should read a bit more about how the SafeNetwork is designed, as none of your worries are relevant.


That doesn’t make it irrelevant. A simple opsec mistake is enough for you to end up in jail for life. Look up Ross Ulbricht, he ran a site anonymously on Tor, but made a opsec mistake when advertising it. Humans do make mistakes. Staying 100% anonymous and fault free forever is super hard. Admins and moderators of a site is both responsible.

I’m talking about the sites on maid, not the network itself.

Dude. You have no idea what you are talking about and you tell me this?


This is by no means certain as GDPR has nothing to say about P2P systems. Still a lot of grey areas.


The first part, of course yes, there will be no censorship.

On the second… I think you are still responsible, whether you remain anonymous or not. Having freedom of speech does not absolve you of the responsibility for what you say, even if you do not bear the consequences of it.

You may live in a jurisdiction where you are morally and ethically justified in breaking the law, but might still be considered a criminal if you are caught, or decide to do it openly. That is a matter conscience, and bravery.


Dude, any site on TOR fails because it is still technically based on servers. Any webapp vulnerability and you are toasted, that’s how hidden sites are being hacked and deanonymized.

Over here there are no servers, none of the server based exploits are relevant.

Opsec over here would fail if you purposefully reveal your real identity.
DPR’s OPSEC failure is based on the trackability on the cleanet. He posted from the “cleanet” shilling about the Silk Road, but he never revealed as “I am Ross Ulbrich, the founder of Silk Road” to anybody.
That shilling was suspicious on the “clearnet” forums, since the site was fairly unknown, the speculation was that the first user to shill for the site might be the admin himself, so they tracked the IP.

But the final evidence that made the case was the hacking of the website through a captcha misconfiguration, which revealed the real IP of the server.

On the other hand if DPR had done all that on the SafeNetwork (either promoting under an alias and setting up a marketplace), he would had been safe.
The SafeNetwork is invulnerable to those vectors because it is a complete different animal.

Seriously, if I tell you to learn about the network, you should do it. You clearly have no idea of how this network is designed.


A few other points here:

If you create a web app (aka site) that displays content posted by 3rd parties, technically, you are not the publisher of this content. As you point out there is no server there, that you control. This public content belongs to the network, and will be there perpetually. So it’s a bit of a shift from the current web structures. How this will shake out in legal terms is a different matter… and it’d need to be tested in court probably.

But it’s easier to think of web apps (with open contributions) as certain way for Safe users to view a set of publicly available data… mashing it up, or curating it, rather than publishing it.

Another user could decide to take the same set of data, and order it and cut it in a different fashion… or each individual user could choose a different app (or lens) to view that same data. It’s the individual that uploads the data that’d be the publisher (and they may well be anonymous), and the network is the autonomous host/infrastructure.


This isn’t important. You can give them the key, you / they can use it to remove the link to the data from your website, but the data will remain on the network and anyone can collect the addresses of those uploaded files (initially from your website, or any sites that link to the same content - which I would expect to proliferate).

So they/you can remove the links, but the content can’t be removed (once it is public immutable data). So no swat teams, no way to enforce after the fact.

This doesn’t stop them being mean to people who create such sites but it does present a problem. For example, people could begin putting up content and then sharing direct links via secure channels bit torrent style, and so on.

We will no doubt still end up with attempts to censor and prosecute, but they become more difficult, more expensive, and don’t achieve the goal - taking down the content.


These are concerns I have had about the upcoming Safe Network for a long time. Beautiful concept and definitely needed but some fleshing out needs to be done about the philosophical and moral implications inherent to the network.

For example, if one provides the means for exploitation of copyrighted works does that entity have a responsibility to protect the copyright holder at all? If the answer is no, does that go a long way in stifling individual creativity since there will now be few adequate protections for intellectual property and will cause some of the motivation for artists to be diminished? Should Safe Network be treated like a highway where the infrastructure itself has no burdens of safety and control or should it be required to erect safety barriers, lane markers and danger signs along the way. All important issues to be pondered in my opinion.


Ok, so from what I gather the answer is: You must become a criminal to run a site without censorship on maid. Got it. None of you actually disagrees with me. You may think that you do, but you don’t. Let’s summarize the responses:

@piluso has chosen solution 3: run the website anonymously and hope opsec will save you. The reality is that opsec is hard and includes far more than masking your IP. Regardless, you’ll still have to be a criminal using @piluso’s solution. I would say that’s pretty relevent, but apparenly he thinks not. People suffering from Dunning–Kruger effect usually are the first to go, so I hope you’re not intending to do anything illegal @piluso.

@JimCollinson you make some good points, but you also chose solution 3. When people upload infringing content to Youtube, it’s youtube’s responsibility to remove the content. Similarly to a safe site, the operator of that website is at the end of the day responsible for removing links to infringing content uploaded by third party users. Unless you can come up with a way that the operator of the website is unable to do so.

@happybeing has come up with something that finally touches on my point. The difference between can’t and won’t. Because you can’t remove content from safe, you can only remove it from your site (the latest version of it, that is). As in, you can remove the links to the content. Therefore you cannot be punished for not removing the history of your website, however you can still be punished for not moderating it.

In other words, @happybeing selected the moderation solution, which imo is not ideal, because it’s inconvenient to constantly route around censorship. It’s unproductive use of time and resources.


The thing is, with bitcoin there is no operator, and thus no criminal. With e-gold there was an operator and that’s why e-gold shut down and owner was sentenced. Same thing with napster, there was an owner, bittorrent not. I was hoping there would be a way to host freedom enabled websites while not being a criminal at the same time, but apparently not.

Yes, you can be good at opsec, and might get away with it, but it would be preferable to not even be a criminal in the first place. You are underestimating how hard opsec really is. You can in fact even de-anonymize users by text pattern analyzes. People usually have a distinct writing style and may be using specific phrases or have certain typos, this can then be used to identify users by searching in other areas where the user is not anonymous. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that maidsafe is in fact as safe as you think. The government can participate with nodes and/or monitor ip connections that are happening. To say that it’s impossible to unmask an ip is disingenuous. Unlikely sure, but impossible, with a large enough adversary, not so much.

Also, this topic is not about opsec, this is about how we can make permission-less websites.


Well, the links will forever remain in the history of the site, visible to all, and it will be impossible for the operator to remove them.

They could be removed from the ‘current’ version of the site, and I guess a site owner might be asked to do that, but they’s always be just a click or two away in the version history pane in the browser.

Bitcoin and SAFE are no different in the respect you are trying to make out. Nor from a pencil.

If you take any technology, Bitcoin, SAFE or pencil, and commit a criminal act with it, you are responsible. If you disagree, please explain how bitcoin can be used to do criminal stuff without you ‘becoming a criminal’. In what way is bitcoin different? Genuine question. I can’t respond until I understand the point you are making.

Pre-empting: the difference is not that there is no operator because for the same actions neither SAFE not bitcoin has an operator, and @JimCollinson has pointed out that (like blockchain) the history also remains available, not just the data.

You mentioned opsec, I am merely describing how your examples are not relevant here.

On this network, you are a free agent, the onus is on you.
On the other hand, we are talking about the applicability of your scenarios on the design of this network.

None of your scenarios are applicable.
Any other ad-hominem attacks towards me are totally uncalled for.

And again, everyone is pointing out the fact that you don’t seem to understand the properties of the SafeNetwork.

No one entity will ever own private data, and all published data will be permanent, not maintained by any entity. This network is autonomous Do you get that?
If you don’t, well, get to know the network.

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There will be a way to publish content with no link back to your account—a sort of anon, data drop mode—if that is what you are asking.

But whether doing that with certain data means you have broken a law, or committed a criminal act, is a separate matter, and unrelated to the architecture of the network.

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I think he is really asking the question as to the liability of a curator of publicly available, autonomously served, content.

it’s a legit question. But not one I think any of us can answer. For a start, it depends on jurisdiction, and even then I’d imagine it’d need to be tested in court.


While this is true, it’s also horribly inconvenient. Let’s say I want to find a specific video that has been deleted, how would I do that? Look through every single version of the website until I find it? How do you even know what to look for? The videos on current version will not be linked, there will be no mention of them. The links will have to be found in history. Might work out for that one video you just have to have, but for daily usage this is a terrible user experience and most people will stick to whatever is the latest version.

Bitcoin is the largest money laundering operation on earth at the moment, who’s responsible? Nobody. Because nobody owns or controls it. If you personally partake in the money laundering you become responsible through direct action. You had a choice in the matter. But that is the point I’m trying to make: how can we remove responsibility for what happens on safe websites? The distinction here is of critical important: I am NOT talking about SAFE, I am talking about website on safe.

I think this is a separate, unrelated, topic.

Well you are asking for magic :wink:. Bitcoin and SAFE are the same if you are doing the same thing (coin transactions).

So the issue is whether it is possible to create an autonomous thing and not be responsible for it. Well until it is done, we don’t know, but I don’t see why not. It won’t work in the way the websites are being shown now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done (even without magic :mage:)

So perhaps your question is really, how. I’m not going to start looking into that but maybe others will want to explore it. Thanks for the question, it is interesting.


Yes, it’s still relevant. Masking your IP is far from the only thing that matters. There are so many other ways to make opsec mistakes. I don’t have time to teach you them all, but I can mention another example: let’s say you upload an image, a photo you took with your camera, but you don’t know about EXIF data and it includes your geographical position in image. That’s enough to get you busted, and no IP needed.

As I just proved, they all are. How is “just become a criminal” a solution?

The irony. If you don’t want to be attacked with ad-hominem don’t do it yourself. It’s that simple. Now I was just answering back, you started it by insinuating that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Couldn’t you just have addressed my actual arguments instead?

…and just as you told me to not make ad-hominem attacks, you make another one. Fantastic. The irony is palpable.

Each site on safe has an owner. That owner can modify the site. Not the history of it, but the current version.

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My view is SAFE apps are windows to your data with some tools on the sill. You can open that window and manipulate your data with those tools. Now given the app doesn’t host the data you feel pretty comfortable as an app owner but you are also providing tools, that’s why I believe Terms & Conditions won’t be going anywhere if the app owner doesn’t publish anonymously. Simply state the intention of your app and if it’s misused it’s not on the app owner but the user, which the user should understand fully. Also, there is no geotracking in SAFE or way to prove that a IP address (scrubbed after first hop) belongs to any SAFE ID to prove it was someone in court, so users should feel protected there I would think.

Things could get nasty and that’s why I think app owners should build responsibly (for society and SAFE’s sake) and build other tools to make up for abuse. We can’t win whackamole but we can build better and newer tools with SAFE and properly align incentives. Or at least we should try.