When I was asked to make this address I wondered what I had to say to you boys who are graduating. And I think I have one thing to say. If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion, whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners. -- John J. Chapman
Retroshare is nice, but can't be used to talk in public as a member of the public with other members of the public. I mean, a few friends talking freely behind closed doors? Even dictatorships have that.
Don't take this wrong, I know you meant to point out a cool program, and I'm not having a go at you or anyone seeking technical solutions for this.. but I think this is a social/political problem, and ultimately needs to be deal with as such, if we're ever to achieve anything real.
If talking freely is risky, because we're still in the stone age in so many ways, then I want the risks, not to shut up.
Hah, that is a good point. Of course we need encryption, and we also need to play alpha and beta testers to help find out what works and doesn't. Regardless of politics, there will always be blackhats, so don't take any of that as arguing against using Retroshare, which I like. I just like to stay hungry :)
In a documentary about Africa I saw zebras trying to cross a river. It was full of crocodiles awaiting them, and the zebras all gathered around the edge nervously... sooner or later, a few zebras would step (or get pushed) into the river, and then the rest scrambled to follow them, as if on cue. A few got surrounded by crocodiles and eaten ("without ever having felt / sorry for itself" .. !), but the vast majority made it across fine.
Imagine if the zebras instead had watched in horror as the first few "pioneers" got mauled... prodding each other saying "your turn", until all of them were too weak to be able to cross, even as a herd, and the crocodiles simply came out of the river and dragged them into it (which is exactly what would have happened, because the reason they cross rivers is that there is nothing left to eat on their side of it).
Not that I consider humans herd animals, or that I want to other humans who prey on humans so much that I would cast them as a different species. But I still think there is a lesson for us in there, too. Cowardice, as rational as it may seem, simply doesn't pay in the long run. Until we learn that, we're stuck.
I'd rather have my public opinions public and face the consequences.
If the next time I visit the US I have my laptop confiscated, my luggage searched or have my entry denied, so be it. I'll know that's because the US no longer welcomes free speech and plan my future travels and career moves accordingly.
I'll add that, if that ever happens, it'll be a sad day for me. I still have faith a country founded on principles rather than ethnicity or geography means something. I'd like to keep that faith, if possible.
A few years ago I went back to the US to visit the crypto museum (incidentally, right across the street from NSA in Fort Meade). It was my first trip to the DC area and the first night I got in, I went over to the Jefferson memorial. A sign on the pathway approaching the dome warns visitors that due to federal law, firearms are prohibited on the grounds.
Jefferson would be proud, I'm sure.
[note to non-US citizens: It's basic right #2 in the USA that people can own and carry firearms.]
Nothing has ever happened to me in the past and I have no reason to believe I'm under investigation for anything I've ever said. Yet I've already made the decision to never go back. The "lose" position is simply too high to make it worth it. As it stands, if someone decided to "make an example" out of me for some bizarre reason I could be detained indefinitely with no realistic recourse. I can't think of anything the US has (that other countries don't) that makes that sort of risk, regardless of how unlikely it is, worth it (in case that's not clear, what I mean is, my expected odds for getting kidnapped by the US might be one in 100 trillion trillion, yet if it happens my life could be over).