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Re: The Indecency of Zealots

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: The Indecency of Zealots
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 14:34:26 -0400

On Mon, 2006-05-01 at 17:17 +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> Dear Jonathan,
> I am very sorry that the discussion has taken the course that it has.
> It was unnecessary and misleading.  It has nurtured miscommunication
> and confusion instead of clarity and understanding.  I cannot turn
> back the time by 24 hours and start anew, trying to find words to
> express what I think without hurting you in the progress.  If I could,
> I would.

Marcus: Thank you. I suspected that the conversation had run away with
both of us.

I suspect that the discussion of use cases (coming next) will be
revealing to both of us. Let us defer the discussion of moral rights in
digital information until then. What I can say on this subject now is

  It appears to me that there are cases where disclosure is
  morally and ethically mandatory. I do not (personally) believe
  that the encoding of information in digital form should make
  disclosure mandatory (not even to legitimately interested
  parties) but there are *other* cases where it is.

  Simultaneously, there are cases where it is morally and ethically
  required NOT to disclose, and for this non-disclosure to be
  computationally enforced.

It is obviously not possible to satisfy both of these objectives
simultaneously using mechanical means.

My belief is that the first situation is extremely rare, and in those
cases that I recognize it is something that would legitimately justify
the cost and difficulty of forensic analysis. I do see that the "digital
information should be free" argument may lead to a much larger space of

My belief is that the second situation happens legitimately in
computational systems all the time, and that support for encapsulation
is therefore pragmatically necessary. I will attempt to show examples in
my next message.


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