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January 28, 2004

Interesting Slate Essay [10:34 pm]

See You on the Darknet touches on a number of current topics online, with the following conclusion:

Wondering how the security vs. privacy struggle might play out, I e-mailed Steven Levy, the respected tech journalist who penned the Newsweek article. “I’m currently at CES,” he replied, “which is shaping up as a celebration of the stuff that gives Hollywood chills—distribution, ripping, burning, of all sorts of content (for personal use, of course).” Exhibitors avoided discussing security systems that might get in the way of all that fun, Levy noted. “If it’s onerous out of the box”—i.e., if it requires a digital driver’s license that keeps users from enjoying the full benefits of the darknet—”people won’t use it, and won’t want to buy computers that have it.”

[John] Walker’s manifesto [The Digital Imprimatur] spells out the ugly truth: As the Net gets more powerful, other powers will feel increasingly threatened by it and try to take it under control. But to do so, they’ll need the complicity of those who build the hardware and software. If the Consumer Electronics Show is any clue, the gadget makers have figured out that if the powers that be get their digital imprimatur and their secure Internet, the real money will be in darknets.

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