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The future is bright

Page history last edited by Justin Spratt 12 years, 7 months ago


The future is bright; the past, dark.  Those of us who know the history of freedom know that it is a meager one: stifled beginnings, slow progress, rapid regress, many stagnations.  The great English Historian and champion of freedom, Lord Acton once said, "at all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and his association, which is always dangerous, has sometimes been disastrous." 


     What could hold promise for those few true champions of freedom today in a world of increasingly statist governments?  Technology seems to continuously invade the private lives of citizens.  If any country, the United Kingdom is at the forefront of the onslaught of big government: mass CCTV surveillance, phone and internet monitoring.  The entire European Union is under the Data Retention Directive since 2005.  The United States are [sic] under under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and has an Information Awareness Office that few people are aware of.  All of the modern technology, these inventions and discoveries meant for good, from phones to the Internet, seem to make it ever easier for governments to monitor and control what information citizens can transmit and receive.  So again, is there anything that holds promise or will draconian governments continue to increase their surveillance advantage with the discovery of every new technology?


     I hold that there is hope still and that this hope is to be found in the least expected place: more technology.  In fact, I believe that technologies that are already present (if currently impractical) contain all that is necessary for the reclamation of truly free speech; more than that, I believe that the adoption and widespread use of what I term the Brighternet is so inevitable, its persistence so invincible, its existence so transparent, so invisible, that no particular conscious effort is required to bring it about.  The Internet will be lit with a light brighter until the shadowy, draconian, censoring figures vanish and the dark, statist, oppressive entities are banished.


     Therefore, my purpose in publishing this paper is not to elicit help (although sincere friends of freedom would be helpful), nor is it to drive for any political accomplishment (although political defenses of freedom are always welcome).  No!  This technological innovation, this Brighternet (if that is what it comes to be called by others), must necessarily come about without political aid, aid which always comes in the wake of a recognition that the technology itself is not strong enough to exist and thrive without a political backing, a backing which is necessarily (and rightly) temporary.  No, my purpose is rather to educate those people who do not consider themselves cypherpunks and, for that matter, people who have no experience in computing science, of the hope and promise of the brighter future.  In addition, for those who do consider themselves cypherpunks and are interested in completing parts of this advance in technology themselves (whether for a motivation for the freedom of mankind or for an exercise in cryptography), I hope to collect some of the most useful ideas for successful implementations of the Brighternet.  In all of this, I hope to make the ideas presented clear to anyone willing to read and consider them, whether or not they be technologists themselves.


Free Speech Rights Are Property Rights



  • copyright and property overview


The Deep, Dark Night


Case study in draconian government: Great Britain: MI5/MI6 scandal

Wikileaks: running up against the big boys



I have become aware that the Internet has become a highly censored environment, despite the illusion that anything can be said anonymously and without physical repercussion from behind a computer screen.  In a nutshell, because we trust everyone with our data, all our communications can be traced back to us (physically) with the help of a Powerful Adversary (PA).




The Breaking Dawn

where technology has brought us thus far

where technology leads




The Clear, Bright Morning

Predictions of the future










  • the striving to protect the speech of those with whom we disagree
    • The much celebrated "tolerance" comes in two forms: the classic (modernist, Voltairian) form in which individuals tolerated eachother so that contrary and contradictory ideas could be presented and debated, and the new (post-modernist) form in which individuals must now not contradict (that is, "tolerate") the ideas presented by others.  When the new tolerance is evaluated, it is seen to be no tolerance at all: the one thing you really musn't say anymore is that you disagree with someone, which is, as proponents of the new tolerance will argue, simply bigotry, especially when it relates to any hot-button issue worth discussing.
  • anonymity and authentication
    • Free speech requires both anonymity and authentication, and free speech will thrive best in the environment in which these attributes are most strongly present.
      • anonymity required to prevent powerful forces from shutting down discent
      • authentication required to prevent spam and encourage positive contribution
      • authenticating the connection, not the application "user" (anti-captcha)
  • current state of affairs on the internet
    • how sites get shutdown (the IP trace by the PA)
  • mathematics presents a complete solution to the problem of free speech
    • Computing power favors the defender
    • Dutch wartime communication analogy
    • mathematics not a-moral
    • introduction to mathematical concepts and discoveries pertaining to secure communication
  • history of my vision application
  • my current vision design and implementation of the Brighternet
    • distributed software = no built-in addresses/all hosts can be configured & removal of a central server does little harm
    • IP-transparent virtual internet (so all Internet capable services and clients can use it, not just TCP/IP)
    • building the net: from two nodes to many (how does this thing scale?)
    • DNS in the Brighernet
    • routing algorithms
    • search algorithms
    • semi-transparent TLS gateways (how the general public can get at Brighternet materials from a browser)
  • other in-use solutions
  • Proofs
    • introduction to the formal thread model
    • proof that non-f-2-f connections are not secure
    • proof that f-2-f connections are secure
  • predictions
    • inevitability
    • invincibility
    • invisibility











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