Plausible deniability for node operators

Assume that the intention to ban the Internet Computer from every inch of the Earth is already out there – the entire point of building the network is that it needs to function in this environment.

The CEO of the DFINITY Foundation is literally out there talking about how the network is designed to survive electromagnetic pulse attacks.

The Internet Computers ability to “uphold laws” or not won’t be what gets it banned or doesn’t – what will determine how well it survives is the power of it’s network to exist in the face of a hostile environment, period.

If you think “playing by the rules” is the determining factors, then I hate to break it to you, but…


Sounds great – this would effectively put it in the realm of TOR and similar that already exist, wouldn’t it?

Shifts the target to the entire network instead of node providers, and gives the network’s original vision a real test.

People here are also glossing over that the ability to remove canisters exists via the NNS and there are no plans to change that, correct?

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If the whole world is against you, then you’re on the wrong side of history. We don’t want to enable criminal psychopaths to do as they please. Canisters need to hit a certain threshold of acceptance to be worth protecting.

The intent of the Internet Computer is not to faciliate anarchy. The IC is closer to a direct democracy (especially once we have proof of personhood).


But who are considered to be criminal psychopaths?

Today it’s people hosting Mario 64. Tomorrow it could be people asking for equal rights in China.

The entire root of this issue is an ethical one. How should the IC handle illicit content? Who says which content is illicit or not?


You’re just fearmongering here. I implied that “criminal psychopaths” were those that act against the will of the whole world. The world is not against equal rights in China, that’s for sure.

The entire root of this issue is an ethical one. How should the IC handle illicit content? Who says which content is illicit or not?

This issue that prompted this discussion has nothing to do with ethics, it’s about ensuring ICP isn’t outlawed globally by naive lawmakers and that its participants (in this case, node providers) aren’t persecuted for “illegal activity”. We have to address that issue first, and we can worry about ethics separately.

The reality is, ICP is managed by humans on Earth, and those humans are subjected to the rule of law. We have to decide which laws to evade, and which laws to follow. No blockchain project can evade all laws, unless its participants are planning to set up their own country in international waters.


What makes you believe governments have accepted ETH consensus mechanism?

I’m confused by your claim regarding KYC. As an American I’ve found that I have to KYC with every exchange that I use. So the government can trace any transactions from ETH wallet (or any other crypto) back to me if they wanted to.

Edit: isn’t there an entire industry of blockchain analytics and intelligence gathering services being built up to assist in this?


Not KYC. Sure in some exchanges but most require it.

There is always governance. The node operators are the governance system of the protocol. Then it becomes a wealth based governance system. The reason no one has done anything is because they have people in power that have much at stake.

Everything is tracked the only real private coin is one that uses Zero Knowledge to encrypt everything but timestamp. Even then you have to make sure your hardware and OS is not compromised. The intelligence agencies love all of this. The reason it hasn’t been shut down is because why get rid of a tool that works for them.

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“But ICP must offer some mechanism to uphold laws, including country-specific ones. If it doesn’t, I can predict with 100% certainty it will be banned in many jurisdictions.”

Yet you can’t offer a coherent theory as to why this prediction doesn’t hold for other blockchains. Hint: The size of the file involved in criminal activity isn’t relevant.

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The fact most haven’t tried to ban it suggests they accept it. China is obviously an acception.

I’m obviously talking about KYC on Ethereum.

“Edit: isn’t there an entire industry of blockchain analytics and intelligence gathering services being built up to assist in this?”

Yes that’s precisely the point! Crime fighting happens above the protocol level, not on it. They go after the users in question not the network maintainers.

That’s a non-sequitur. For policy makers it’s merely a pragmatic question of relevance vs effort. Much more likely that they simply haven’t had enough motivation yet for investing significantly into measures of regulation. For the reasons @Nick gave. China already decided to crack down on Bitcoin, and nobody should believe that the same can’t still happen in other jurisdictions or to other platforms if the need arises. It’s completely naive to assume otherwise. Respective discussions have come up for years.


I’d argue that crime fighting only happens above the protocol level because (historically) that is where the perceived threat exists. If a user maintains control over the application then it makes sense to target them. The same goes for controversial data being served from a centralized server or front-end being hosted on a cloud provider.

Now imagine someone decides to pay the stupid amount of :moneybag: required to upload an immutable copy of child porn to Ethereum (is that possible, I honestly don’t know). But I think that would be an entirely different scenario that would bring all sorts of heat down on the network.

I don’t think you know what the meaning non sequitur is. Most governments have not only not tried to ban bitcoin and ether, most have embraced it. They’ve set up digital assets task forces, approved futures contracts and ETFs. You’re off your head if you think they’re hostile.

It’s quite the opposite. They, unlike seemingly Dfinity stakeholders, see the value in global networks nobody controls.


The CIA found payments attached to terror units planning to attack the US. I assure you they give way more of a shit about that than child porn. They still sought remedies above the network. Your theory doesn’t hold in practice.

I don’t understand your argument. You say most governments like decentralized networks no one can control. It makes no sense. AWS is controlled by Bezos and top investors. So they like both type of systems. Why would they care to control something they can tax, hence why they increase the IRS budget. They already control it that way. Bitcoin went from being a currency to being an asset. We now see the IMF concerned with El Salvador making it a currency. As you see the story isn’t over yet.

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Records of those payments existing on the network doesn’t do any harm to anyone. If anything it made their job easier. Again, in this case the actual threat exists outside the protocol.

Child porn, revenge porn, and many other types of content that can’t be removed does cause emotional trauma for the victims and if you can’t remove that or at least make a meaningful effort to censor it, you are going to have entire armies of people around the world come after you.

Yeah all that shit exists in the dark web it has no place in IC.

Weird that these armies haven’t gone after the TOR network.

Also those payments were payments for people to do harm. Why on earth did the US go so crazy on AML after 911?? I’m not sure what planet you live on.

Either way, if you decide to meaningfully censor things, you’ll be brought under centralised control. States will have to do this because there’ll be a fiduciary. That’s fine. But just don’t go kidding yourself that Dfinity has built something new here.

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They have. Most things have been broken. They have even used Bitcoin to trace everything.