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Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain by David D. Friedman

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By David D. Friedman

Instead of debating what is going to take place sooner or later, Friedman brings our recognition to the adjustments that may take place inside of our tradition and criminal approach because of those applied sciences. He begins with various hypotheticals, poses power solutions to these hypotheticals, after which is going above and past with extra difficulties and options, until eventually apparently basically via marketplace powers do we locate ourselves in a position to care for the onslaught of adjustments we are approximately to come across.

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It means making it easier for criminals to hack into computers, intercept messages, defraud banks, steal credit cards. It is thus likely to be politically costly, not ten or twenty years from now but in the immediate future. What do you get in exchange? The benefit of encryption regulation – the only substantial benefit, since it cannot prevent the use of encryption by competent criminals – is preventing the growth of strong privacy. From the standpoint of governments, and of people in a position to control governments, that may be a large benefit, since strong privacy A World of Strong Privacy 49 threatens to seriously reduce government power, including the power to collect taxes.

The most widely used version of public key encryption depends on that asymmetry – between multiplying and factoring – using much larger numbers. Readers who are still puzzled may want to look at Appendix I of this chapter, where I 34 Privacy and Technology describe a very simple form of public key encryption suited to a world where people know how to multiply but have not yet learned how to divide, or check one of the webbed descriptions of the mathematics of the El-Gamal and RSA algorithms, the most common forms of public key encryption.

It is a world where the technology of defense has finally beaten the technology of offense. In the world we now live in, our rights can be violated by force or fraud; in a cyberspace protected by strong privacy, only by fraud. Fraud is dangerous, but less dangerous than force. When someone offers you a deal too good to be true, you can refuse it. Force makes it possible to offer you deals you cannot refuse. Truth to Tell In several places in this chapter I have simplified the mechanics of encryption, describing how something could be done but not how it is done.

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