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Author Topic: Don't secure the internet, it needs crime  (Read 718 times)
rini17
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October 23, 2012, 11:59:15 AM
 #1

Whitfield Diffie (of Diffie-Hellman algorithm fame) makes his point:
http://www.zdnet.com/dont-secure-the-internet-it-needs-crime-diffie-7000005958/
Quote
"I'm inclined to think that society needs crime," he said, explaining that in the event of a crime taking place offline, such as a home robbery, it creates jobs for police, judges, lawyers, insurance companies.
"There's thousands of dollars worth of business here, while the crook only got 50 bucks!" he said.

Quote
"People often propose building a separate internet. They vet the users, and they defend the end points, and both of those have costs that are linear in the number of people using it. That's not scalable."


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October 23, 2012, 01:08:26 PM
 #2

Yah - this guy doesn't understand much at all.

Crime doesn't stimulate anything. . . see 'broken windows fallicy' 

Also he's incorrect about saying it isn't scalable. Linear costs very scalable - having a fixed cost per user/customer is measurable and easy to define a business case for or against. Most service industry business is linear and scalable... see 'premium tech support'

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October 23, 2012, 03:42:06 PM
 #3

Yah - this guy doesn't understand much at all.

Crime doesn't stimulate anything. . . see 'broken windows fallicy' 

Also he's incorrect about saying it isn't scalable. Linear costs very scalable - having a fixed cost per user/customer is measurable and easy to define a business case for or against. Most service industry business is linear and scalable... see 'premium tech support'


Completely. Just goes to show that just because you're smart, doesn't mean you're not dumb.

As to an alternate internet, unless you're looking for redundancy, there's no reason you couldn't run a separate network on top of the existing internet. A while back I considered the idea of special routers you could plug into your internet connection to allow religious groups (or other interested parties) to create a completely "separate" "internet" only accessible to others with similar ideals and beliefs if provided with a key from a central authority. Not my bag though.

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October 28, 2012, 10:31:49 AM
 #4

Yah - this guy doesn't understand much at all.

Crime doesn't stimulate anything. . . see 'broken windows fallicy'  

Exactly. Henry Hazlitt's classic Economics in One Lesson is the best book to start with to cure oneself of economic ignorance on the scale of what Diffie is demonstrating. The broken window fallacy is discussed in the very first chapter:

Let us begin with the simplest illustration possible: let us, emulating Bastiat, choose a broken pane of glass.

A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker's shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier. As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it. How much does a new plate glass window cost? Fifty dollars? That will be quite a sum. After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $50 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $50 more to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor.

Now let us take another look. The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion. This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier. The glazier will be no more unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death. But the shopkeeper will be out $50 that he was planning to spend for a new suit. Because he has had to replace a window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury). Instead of having a window and $50 he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit. If we think of him as a part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer.

The glazier's gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new "employment" has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.

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October 28, 2012, 10:54:34 AM
 #5

Yah - this guy doesn't understand much at all.

Crime doesn't stimulate anything. . . see 'broken windows fallicy'  

Exactly. Henry Hazlitt's classic Economics in One Lesson is the best book to start with to cure oneself of economic ignorance on the scale of what Diffie is demonstrating. The broken window fallacy is discussed in the very first chapter:

Let us begin with the simplest illustration possible: let us, emulating Bastiat, choose a broken pane of glass.

A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker's shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier. As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it. How much does a new plate glass window cost? Fifty dollars? That will be quite a sum. After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $50 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $50 more to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor.

Now let us take another look. The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion. This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier. The glazier will be no more unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death. But the shopkeeper will be out $50 that he was planning to spend for a new suit. Because he has had to replace a window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury). Instead of having a window and $50 he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit. If we think of him as a part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer.

The glazier's gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new "employment" has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.


You don't have insurances in your country ?

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Arto
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October 28, 2012, 11:00:55 AM
 #6

You don't have insurances in your country ?

Reflect on the logic there some more; and in case Hazlitt's narrative doesn't help you, you could always read more about opportunity costs and the broken window fallacy elsewhere.

flynn
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October 28, 2012, 11:17:43 AM
 #7

You don't have insurances in your country ?

Reflect on the logic there some more; and in case Hazlitt's narrative doesn't help you, you could always read more about opportunity costs and the broken window fallacy elsewhere.

You didn't answer my question here. If the baker had an insurance, he would end with a new window and a suit.
I don't mean breaking windows is good tho, I just mean the demonstration is flawed here.

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October 28, 2012, 11:33:52 AM
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You didn't answer my question here.

You must mean your implied question, as your literal question could be taken at best as rhetorical and at worst as snarky. I'm not in the habit of taking the time to answer questions that don't appear to have been posed in good faith. I will assume, for now, that you meant your question in good faith and merely happened to phrase it in an unfortunate manner.

If the baker had an insurance, he would end with a new window and a suit.
I don't mean breaking windows is good tho, I just mean the demonstration is flawed here.

As Hazlitt frequently points out in the book I referenced, it's all about learning to see the hidden costs that are usually forgotten from the discussion. It's not difficult, once you get the hang of it. Consider:

The insurance does not come without a cost. In a society with less window-breaking, the baker would not need insurance against his window being broken. Hence, he would be better off, as he would have more money to spend on other things, including indeed discretionary purchases such as a new suit every now and then. It is therefore easy to see that the more window-breaking that is going on, the higher will the ongoing cost of the insurance against it be, and hence the higher will the ongoing opportunity cost be to the baker.

rini17
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October 28, 2012, 12:15:55 PM
 #9

Yah - this guy doesn't understand much at all.

Crime doesn't stimulate anything. . . see 'broken windows fallicy' 

Also he's incorrect about saying it isn't scalable. Linear costs very scalable - having a fixed cost per user/customer is measurable and easy to define a business case for or against. Most service industry business is linear and scalable... see 'premium tech support'


Completely. Just goes to show that just because you're smart, doesn't mean you're not dumb.

As to an alternate internet, unless you're looking for redundancy, there's no reason you couldn't run a separate network on top of the existing internet. A while back I considered the idea of special routers you could plug into your internet connection to allow religious groups (or other interested parties) to create a completely "separate" "internet" only accessible to others with similar ideals and beliefs if provided with a key from a central authority. Not my bag though.
Diffie does make some dumb arguments, but his point we should try to secure just keys, not whole infrastructure,is sound. And your proposal to distribute special routers, just proves it. You seriously think that having one router per every secured "sub-internet" is cheap and easy to use idea? And as long as the computer behind the router is vulnerable or user doesn't know how to secure his/her passwords/keys, routers solve nothing.

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October 28, 2012, 12:27:02 PM
 #10

uhm ... who is this internet that needs crime? Mine just needs some copper and free electrons ... honestly someplace not even that.

Quote
"creating a completely secure internet could be a mistake"
Is that so? To make a mistake you have to do it in first place.
There is no such thing as a completely secure internet, thus it can't be a mistake.
The fault is to think there could be such a thing and argue on that base.

The paining (sic!) is done with the QPainter class inside the paintEvent() method.
(source: my internet)
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October 28, 2012, 02:45:04 PM
 #11

Diffie does make some dumb arguments, but his point we should try to secure just keys, not whole infrastructure,is sound. And your proposal to distribute special routers, just proves it. You seriously think that having one router per every secured "sub-internet" is cheap and easy to use idea? And as long as the computer behind the router is vulnerable or user doesn't know how to secure his/her passwords/keys, routers solve nothing.

My router cost $20 and is far more capable than what would be needed for what I was suggesting. Note that I wasn't saying much more than that a separate network does not necessarily require completely new infrastructure from the ground up. You seem to be interpreting my comments to be deeper ad mean more than what they are at face.

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