[arin-ppml] Whois doesn't violate privacy, people do (was~ whois misuse innuendo)

tvest at eyeconomics.com tvest at eyeconomics.com
Sun Dec 6 20:15:59 EST 2009

On Dec 6, 2009, at 3:22 PM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

>> Given your very well-known, lopsided hard-line position on privacy
>> matters, this claim defies all credibility. It's literally
>> impossible to imagine some credible LEA insider glibly confessing
>> this to you.
> As usual, you stereotype me and are factually wrong.

The facts that you claim would make me wrong are not in evidence,  
because so far you have consistently refused to provide them.
I encourage you to reveal the error of my assertions for all to see,  
by clarifying your full position on privacy as it relates to the  
matter at hand.

> I am not a "privacy hard liner" relative to, say, some of the  
> dedicated privacy rights groups; I've had many interesting debates  
> with privacy groups about the tension between freedom of  
> information, freedom of expression, accountability and data  
> protection/privacy.

As long as you refuse to clarify your own position on privacy -- and  
fully, i.e., not by merely obliquely claiming that your views are  
somewhat less extreme that the most extreme pro-privacy position that  
anyone could possibly imagine -- then you should expect to spend a lot  
of time rebutting others' assumptions about your actual position,  
motives, etc. Practically speaking, until you make your own position  
clear, you don't have one -- at least not one that merits  
consideration, much less "respectful treatment."

> Moreover, it's really not nice to call me a liar about conversations  
> I have had with LEA people in the course of my work on Whois WGs and  
> CERT conferences in Europe and elsewhere;

I never called you a liar; I suggested that you are prone to re- 
presenting facts in summary forms that are strongly shaped by your own  
prior views, on this and other subjects.
Perhaps the distinction is not so easy for others to discern, given  
the fact that you deleted the rest of my remarks. For those who missed  
them the first time:

>>  ... glibly confessing this to you. However, it's quite easy to  
>> imagine you exercising your equally well-known authorial license by  
>> selectively summarizing some description of LEA practices down to  
>> "unjustified evasion of legal constraints, just because it's easy."

Of course, if you still insist that this interpretation is  
inflammatory and/or factually incorrect, you could always produce a  
transcript -- anonymized, if necessary -- of the verbatim  
conversations in which these confessions were made...? Perhaps someone  
else was also witness to these exchanges, someone who could  
corroborate the substance of your account/transcript without revealing  
the identity of your confidential informant(s)?

> I wouldn't claims that if it wasn't pertinent and true - and those  
> folks wouldn't say it to me if they didn't want that info to get out  
> somehow.

<off-topic> Given the degree to which much of the machinery of state  
was captured and run over the last decade by individuals who were  
philosophically inclined to treat opportunities to disgrace, disable,  
and/or starve "the beast" as an added feature or perk of their  
(invariably brief, transient) public sector experience, this is not  
entirely implausible. But even granting that such statements were made  
to you, in strict confidence, why should anyone else grant them any  
more credence that they might give, e.g., to the handful of critics of  
banking oversight employed by the Fed and the SEC -- people who until  
quite recently spent much of their time claiming that the financial  
sector would just automagically guide itself if only the heavy hand of  
government regulation would be lifted? </off-topic>

(note: I'm not going to debate this point further on list; would  
suggest that anyone wanting to take me to task on this point do so  

> Quite apart from that assertion, I will say that there are even  
> discernable differences on this issue within the U.S. Justice Dept.;  
> e.g., between the FTC and the FBI; the former's position in favor of  
> distinguishing between treatment of natural persons and legal  
> persons is a matter of public record.

Now this last point almost sounds like the promise of something (at  
least potentially) informative...
Would you care to share with us exactly how the FTC and FBI differ in  
their interpretation of the privacy rights of individuals/natural  
persons vs. corporations and other "juridical persons" -- and how that  
distinction informs your own views and/or the distinction as you fell  
it should be applied in this particular context?

I do hope that this is not something resting on Fourth or Fifth  
Amendment rights, which are definitionally orthogonal to IP addresses...

Looking forward to your responses,


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