On future of GnuPG

Robert J. Hansen rjh at sixdemonbag.org
Tue Jan 5 23:07:11 CET 2021

> The landscape has changed dramatically from the times when the
> original PGP fundamentals were introduced. Today, for any secure
> personal communication system to be of practical use, it must
> be designed from the ground up observing the following simple
> principle: *anonymity is the necessary condition of privacy*.

This borders on ridiculous.

One of the problems we have in privacy discussions is there is no
single agreed-upon definition of privacy.  Privacy is defined by
culture, and unless we share a culture we're very unlikely to share a
privacy definition.

In the United States, the prevailing culture cares a lot more about
government's ability to learn things about me without a warrant than it
does about the ability of corporations or businesses.  And we also
believe that government limiting our ability to speak infringes on our
privacy: "why the hell is the government getting in my business if all
I'm doing is sharing true things with my buddy?"  Whereas in Europe,
right-to-be-forgotten laws, enforced by the government, are seen as
wins for privacy, in America they would be (a) blatantly unlawful and
(b) considered massive invasions of our privacy by the government.

In Europe it's a lot different.  There, the prevailing culture cares a
lot more about limiting the ability of businesses to learn things about
a person than with limiting the ability of governments.  The national
security exemption in the GDPR is big enough to drive a truck through:
it is so all-encompassing that I, as an American, look at the GDPR and
think it's a nightmare for privacy rights.

And, you know, *this is okay*.  Privacy is culturally defined.  Enjoy
your culture, accept or reject its definition of privacy as you like. 
Just don't think that your culture's definition is somehow the only
one, or universally agreed-upon, or...

If there is no agreed-upon universal definition of privacy (and there
isn't), then any attempt to make sweeping statements like "anonymity is
a necessary condition of privacy" is just a bunch of freshman
Philosophy 101 crap that's entirely disconnected from the real world.

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