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A few days ago, there was a lot of talk about how Tor has backdoors, because it is funded by the US Government.

The answer to that question is also here. You have the NIST, a government entity that is opposing another government entity, the NSA, because the former does not agree with the latter's practices. We should not forget that the government is not one cohesive entity and this is an example of that.

Likewise, one should also remember, that no single entity is singular cohesive; that there are people working from within, even from within the "controversial" agencies, trying to make the places they work better for the country.

There is certainly much good intention, more than is given credit for, in most government agencies. The reason I don't want to fund them to a great extent is that the bureaucracy of almost any large entity causes serious problems in inefficiency. I'd not want IBM running our government, and I don't want our federal government running our government.

People might be surprised at how much public-private cooperation goes on between businesses and government research entities like NIST.

In fact, an explicit part of NIST's role is filling in science that businesses need but can't do themselves.

NIST started out as the National Bureau of Standards. It sits in the Department of Commerce. Most of its activities are directed at tasks-- like standardizing measurements-- that businesses depend on, but are too small, or too balkanized, to do effectively on their own.

Unless, you know, you like every corner gas station having its own definition of "gallon", and every appliance manufacturer rating its offerings using different definitions of energy, and every steel producer specifying tensile strength according to its own test procedure.

Disclosure-- I had a post-doc at NIST in the late 1990s.

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