Plausible deniability for node operators

There is no PLAN regarding censorship. It’s a community driven project.

And while DFINITY still holds the reins for now (thanks to liquid democracy and neurons defaulting to following DFINITY) the plan (small “p”) is to not be in this situation for long and actually let the community drive it entirely. At that point, if the community wants moderation, we’ll have moderation. If they want anarchy, we’ll have anarchy. But for the time being I’m actually comforted by DFINITY still having enough control to keep the thing afloat.


Thanks, yeah exactly DFINITY still holds the reins and the community can’t really take it in whatever direction at this point. Thats why I need to know whether I should invest any more of my time into this.

This wouldn’t apply to the case of DMCA/copyright situations, but I actually wonder if there’s a very large lawsuit from investors waiting for DFINITY in here, depending on how things play out.

– You have the CEO of the Foundation running around making repeated statements that now appear like they could end up being very invalid and essentially take the teeth out of the entire value proposition.

Or from Dapp developers who chose to build on the Internet Computer because of explicit claims about lack of “platform risk”, built Dapps that were at the very least legal at the time they deployed, and then end up getting censored.

These are pretty serious things, when you start talking about misleading statements. The FOUNDATION’s already got a bit of a reputation for what happened during the Genesis unlock.


Actually, I was also trapped into thinking the same way you do, but after reviewing the web, it appears that Dominic Williams’s statement were targeting private censorship, and NEVER government censorship:

Still it’s disappointing not to see him here while he’s posting on twitter all the time, and this not always wisely.
Lets imagine 10 years from now it IC becomes what it oughts to:
Since all ICP owners are supposed to have KYCed, then it will be a highway for the governments from anywhere in the world to force ICP/neuron owners votings for removing this or that. The more a government have ICP/neuron owners among its citizen, the more they can control what is published on the worldwide internet :slight_smile: .

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Thanks for the links,

I predict government censorship initiatives over the next decade (and new cryptocurrency regulations) will seriously hamper the original vision of the Internet Computer, but I can understand the strong case to say “governments having to explicitly pass new laws in order to make content on the IC censorable is a very high bar”.

Regardless, what I’d really like to hear from Foundation members is how the fact that countries around the world have very different is going to work out in practice w/ this…

Thus, I can see the most resilient scenario as enacting the ideas around a free market for node providers.

If not, then a lot of DeFi initiatives and other things in crypto land that are currently not outlawed are basically dead in the water…

From a public relations perspective, I think the lower bound on the case that DFINITY has to effectively make here is that the censorship on the Internet Computer will be less than the vulnerability of other blockchains to a similar fate – as Dom likes to point out about Ethereum.

I just see a vision where…without the ability for node operators to decide which content they are willing to serve through some kind of market system, the whole thing is going to get very dystopian very fast.

A lot of the innovations (especially the IID) can snap back into the opposite of their stated purpose very quickly.

I say give the hardest core libertarians a way to exercise their beliefs at the same time as giving people who rely on government to determine what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t.

Some people want to get as censorship happy as governments are going to…fine, as long as some people who oppose that have the right to take on that risk in IC-Land as well.

The thing is, who will take the risk to host the illegal content if the governments wants to censor it ? In France for instance, they switched off bittorent by fining you when you upload copyrighted content.

If you host for everybody, then you can be spotted, this is for sure. The only way I can see would be to exchange hosting, you host what is forbidden abroad, and foreigners host what is forbidden in your juridiction.

– People who are in a situation where:

They live in a country where content that is illegal in another jurisdiction is not illegal in their home country


They believe strongly that the controversial content should not be censored

Point is that by giving people the option to do so, you let every node operator decide how much risk they believe is worth it for various content pieces.

The network has been consistently marketed by Dom as resistant to the kind of regulation that Uniswap faced when it had to delist coins though, that narrative seems to be falling apart quite quickly.


People understand what they are dealing with. And people is smart enough to know that 100% censorship resistance is impossible for blockchain to gain real mass-adoption. And I believe, it is not IC is aiming to be. For people that prefer anarchy, they can use other protocol, such as dark web, tor network, etc. These kind of anarchy protocols, IMO are not going to get mass real adoption for sure, they only serves niche market.
At current state, IC makes censorship is not as easy as happen on web 2.0. As the IC grows and evolves in the future, it will even harder to censor. (but still, censorship is possible if community decide to vote for it)

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Actually, one of the use cases of IC Dom brought up in his seminal 20-year plan Medium article is a decentralized form of Uber:

If rapid adoption resulted, powerful competitors might be irked and try to slow things down with lawsuits, but here Open Rides would have an advantage: open internet services run autonomously as part of the fabric of the internet, here in the mode of an advanced P2P protocol that connects drivers with riders, and code cannot easily be stopped. As autonomous code on the internet, Open Rides might be made instantly available in all territories around the world, without expensive negotiations with regional governments who are doing the bidding of local taxi monopolies wishing to protect their turf

Not sure if how that would work here… when do we draw a line between submitting a canister takedown proposal and not?

Side question, since I saw it brought up in the other thread:

Can’t governments treat the NNS (and other DAOs) as legal entities, just like they treat corporations as legal entities?

Then, they could sue them and extract penalties, I guess? How would that work? Who would represent the NNS in court? Is there even a concept of “management” for DAOs? If so, isn’t a DAO basically just a more digitalized corporation at that point?

Multi-national corporations, multi-jurisdictional DAOs… is there a legal difference?

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I suggest rebrand to: Internet Corporation
and hire an army of lawyers with the NNS community fund :upside_down_face:

“You can send out a DMCA notice, not just for infringing material, but also for any indices, references, or pointers that lead to infringing material.”

Does this apply to boundary nodes at all?

I agree this will set an important precedent, and ideally the nodes should be not in a position to deal with any legal claims. Just how to get there?
Through technical improvements? Will this actually solve the problem as to nodes getting served?
Through courts? Does this even make sense?
Could doing nothing result in nodes simply getting blacklisted/blocked by service providers?
Could a node’s decision to have a canister blocked/removed be seen as admitting responsibility?

I feel like we reached some crossroads here, specially where to draw the line of who is accountable in the end. Does the NNS vote on every canister that might be seen infringing on others rights? Does that mean the NNS is responsible for all content on the IC ?

I’d like to add to the list of proposals - Dfinity could look at separating the data layer from the compute layer, and distributing the data across many laptop-grade nodes. Using something like erasure encoding could help ensure that data is split across many nodes and not be lost. It will increase latency and also increase the bandwidth requirements but may have lower bandwidth requirements than shuffling.

Erasure encoding data and making having stateless clients was one of the directions considered for ETH 2.0. @lastmjs

In addition to plausible deniability for replica node operators, another key piece of the solution to the censorship problem may be making boundary node operators the actual censors. Please explode this idea with us: Boundary Nodes as Censors


So what ever happened with all of this?

We goin’ IC Orwell, or did the things brought up in this thread get advanced in some capacity / resolved for the moment through some kind of vote or anything?

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A few ideas discussed were added to the roadmap IC Roadmap Milestones for 2022 (Sneak Preview)