The Four Horsemen

To: cypherpunks@toad.com
From: aba@dcs.exeter.ac.uk
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 11:53:29 +0100
Subject: Four Horsemen (was Re: PA Remailer Concerns)

Laurent Demailly <dl@hplyot.obspm.fr> writes:
> I feel really dumb, but what is that "Four Horseman" thing ?
> [i saw that several times quoted on the list but I never understood,
> nor found in faq,...]

You sure about the faq, grepping reveals:

    8.3.4. "How will privacy and anonymity be attacked?"
[...]
           - like so many other "computer hacker" items, as a tool for
              the "Four Horsemen": drug-dealers, money-launderers,
              terrorists, and pedophiles.

   17.5.7. "What limits on the Net are being proposed?"
[...]
           + Newspapers are complaining about the Four Horsemen of the
              Infocalypse:
             - terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, and money
                launderers

ie the idea that hysterical media demonization is used as a tool to
justify the net, a witch hunt.  A tatic in general: if you can make
something look bad in the eyes of the world, if you can sway public
opinion, you can do what you wish, and be applauded for it.  So, the
spread of untrue, or greatly exaggerated stories, as a conscious ploy
to obtain this effect.  Popular tatic of Freeh at the moment.  "Oh
gosh people can get *bomb* making information on the internet, we must
put a stop to this".

How to get what you want in 4 easy stages:

1. Have a target "thing" you wish to stop, yet lack any moral, or
practical reasons for doing so?

2. Pick a fear common to lots of people, something that will evoke a
gut reaction: terrorists, pedophiles, serial killers.

3. Scream loudly to the media that "thing" is being used by
perpetrators.  (Don't worry if this is true, or common to all other
things, or less common with "thing" than with other long established
systems - payphones, paper mail, private hotel rooms, lack of bugs in
all houses etc)

4. Say that the only way to stop perpetrators is to close down
"thing", or to regulate it to death, or to have laws forcing en-mass
tapability of all private communications on "thing".  Don't worry if
communicating on "thing" is a constitutionally protected right, if you
have done a good job in choosing and publicising the horsemen in 2, no
one will notice, they will be too busy clamouring for you to save them
from the supposed evils.

Adam



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