Concerns About Using Private and Secure Software for Bad Things

I already answered that above, some things are more concrete then other things, for example, saying that “initiating violence is not good” is a pretty universal statement. In this way, the software could present a few fundamental and basic rules for its terms of use.

As for who decides, just like in a democracy the majority decides, in an ideal world, it would be the entire world that decides.

I can not answer these points as they are real life constraints. However, I can propose rough solutions.

In both cases, the use of the software could be enforced via the removal of competing software, this may sound like a bad thing, but in this scenario, instead of different people working on multiple projects with overlapping goals, all of these people could work on a centralised project. The software would be shaped by democracy, where everyone would input their opinions, which would be used in its development, yes this is very hard to do. Nonetheless, this is a theoretical solution.

Alternatively if we look at what is more reflective of the real world, where multiple software projects with overlapping goals exist across different nations, the hope is that most software developers are inherently ethical, and pliable to idea, which is probable, due to their likely educated background and external pressure.

Talking about external pressure, in this alternative, regulation could be effective, since software is based on computers which are connected to the internet, it is much harder to hide from governments. Yes, some countries may have different rules and regulations, but my main argument withstands, some inconveniences to the journey that people take to a path of evil, may just slow them down or even stop them entirely, which is better than no inconveniences. That is my argument, which still has not been addressed.

As with your last points, although your wording implies those things are trivial, governments wield immense technological power to censor communications, which can completely disrupt communication lines. Moving to another country is not a minor inconvenience, especially for an entire company.

But, yeah I think we agree with the general sentiment, regardless of how it is interpreted, there is a lot of crap to be done.

Honestly, in an ideal world I don’t think nations and borders would exist, and everyone’s opinion would matter. Religion and nationalism just leads to so much sh*t-f**kery (an Aussie term).

Had a great conversation with you all. :+1::clap:Let me know if there are any illogical statements in my argument.

To spell it out further, tackling “people doing bad things” or “crime” needs a holistic approach, it can’t possibly be stopped purely through regulation or some technological solution.

Fundamentally, I think, your frame of reference is heavily informed by the society you’re in and your ideal world is just “perfecting” it, rather than reaching beyond it in any way to think about what would really be an ideal world

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I said that particular thing is quite nuanced, so who would even be the judge? That’s why it’s not workable.

The closest thing we have to this is collaboration between law enforcement on very specific issues. There is no guarantee the law enforcement in the other country will even listen or care. To some extent we have process like Letters rogatory, but these again are requests which can be ignored or thrown out. MLAT treaties once again are agreements between nations and not universal laws and may be denied on individual basis.

How do you propose to remove something? A codeforge (eg like Gitlab, Gitea etc) would simply be set up in a jurisdiction that does not care. In fact it would create commercial invitation for it, so then your government has to then block an entire website from operating.

All this leads to a bifurcation of the internet - something that is already a risk, with domestic sites allowed and international sources being cut off entirely. That is a world which is far more susceptible to propaganda and dangerous than any problem that you’re attempting to solve.

Considering you can sideload APKs on Android and changes in regard to Apple is bringing sideloading and alternate app stores this again is not workable.

The problem is they’re never going to all agree on the same things, and the more broad something is the harder it is to get people to agree. Also any law tends to have unintended consequences, such as the “bad people” censoring things they don’t want people to know about because it might cause them to lose money or defame them in some way.

Considering data can always be packaged, manipulated and obfuscated in ways that it is not immediately obvious to the “regulatory body” they would just have to resort to banning everything that isn’t within their borders.

Filtering specific communications is difficult and nobody has achieved this with 100% accuracy. China tries to disrupt data which is seemingly random, but it is able to be circumvented through various means that trick the system into believing the data isn’t random or encrypted.

Again the only real way to prevent access to information is to cut off the internet entirely perhaps as North Korea does.


“water is drunk by nearly 100% of all murderers. we should get rid of water!”

sorry but that is literally the vibes i get from this post. preventing abuse is necessary. breaking private platforms/tools is NOT necessary. never necessary.

sadly there have been cases such as Mullvad VPN forced to remove port forwarding due to abuse.

of course preventing abuse is difficult while respecting privacy. what you can do is use it for legitimate uses and report cases of illegal activity you see.


Things are rarely, if ever, purely good or bad. Do secure privacy protecting tools more good than harm? I’d argue that is so blatantly obvious that it would be absurd to even seriously consider that question. Without them, the important and fundamental right to privacy would be dead in this day and age. Without them, dissidents, journalists, frontline aid workers, activists, and many more people who do important work would not be able to do their work. Undemocratic governments would have an even easier time controlling their population, corporations would invade people’s privacy even more. There is a wealth of arguments you can make for privacy tools being a force for good.

The fact that they can be used by bad actors doesn’t change that. This is a price we have to pay for the countless advantages privacy software brings to individuals and societies. Privacy tools and rights should be strengthened, not undermined.

Privacy software is like the encryption it so often relies on - if you weaken it for one, you break it for all. If the backdoor exists, they will be used by bad actors. You’d just be helping bad people do bad things. That’s why projects like the EU chat control are such nightmares that luckily keep getting defeated by reasonable people.

Even if backdoors that can’t be abused existed, which they do not, that would not be a good thing. This might sound philosophical, but it is not right to be constantly monitored by others, it is morally wrong to invade people’s privacy without good cause, and we are not wired to live like that. You’d be constantly censoring yourself, even if you talk to your partner, your doctor, or your psychiatrist. That’s no healthy way to live. There are many people who have to live large parts of their lives like this, societies that don’t have this level of surveillance shouldn’t work to introduce it. That what makes them more free. Can you really reasonably want to turn the world you live in into a dystopian nightmare because otherwise a handful of bad actors might send an encrypted email?

Yes, you can clearly define bad actors and bad acts, people might come up with different definitions, but human history shows that it is possible to agree on things like murder is bad. Unfortunately, privacy software works in a way that means if you end privacy for potential murderers, you end privacy for everybody. That’s a much, much higher price than having privacy for all, including bad actors, who would by and large commit bad acts with or without privacy software (seeing as bad acts have been around a lot longer than privacy software).


To me this comes off as a bit vague, could you clarify?

I am not endorsing anything I have said in this discussion, I was merely providing theoretical examples of potential solutions, because some people said these issues were impossible to solve.

As for a holistic view, I believe the entire universe is connected, thus, I strongly believe you can not understand any single thing, without understanding everything. Because anything is the product of everything. In other words, you could not be talking to more of a fellow “holist”, I dunno if that is the correct term.

Especially, in Biology my field of study, no one wants to address the root cause, they want to destroy weeds for example, which is a hopeless idea, that could not be further from the root cause. So, I agree.

In this situation, the technology itself is getting closer to the root cause, but it is not quite there, lack of education, religious beliefs, and probably the biggest factor of all violent upbringings are even closer to the root cause, the root cause is probably existence itself. Unfortunately, in this case the root cause is at the very least a massive issue to tackle.

I completely disagree, I think the overwhelming mahority of people would agree that violence is bad. Your other points are very valid, and interesting real life constraints, thanks for pointing them out! The first step to solving an issue is to identify the obstacles.

Super confused, in my opinion this is an egregious misrepresentation of what is being said. I have already concisely summarised my points in italics numerous times and they do not resemble the above quote at all.

I feel as if this hasn’t really addressed what I have already clarified, I’ll leave it as that. People seem to be discussing all the real life constraints which is okay, my intent was never to say that they didn’t exist or are easy to solve, but to highlight the ethics of the situation, the tradeoff between anonymity and allowing bad actors to achieve their goals, and blocking communications whether manually or automatically. This would also give other bad actors with different intentions the possibility to surveil and maybe allow them to incite violence and suppression, but in the theoretical situation I proposed where the technology could have defense measures against this, this would be better than today’s current situation.

Honestly, the best argument against myself is that what I am saying is unrealistic, it requires to many criteria to be met, that are unlikely to be met in the real world. However, technology whether encrypted or not, will always rely on trust, since in order for people to use technology they need to understand how it works on some level, so people will always be able to manipulate it whether for good or evil, making it never 100% secure, especially the people contributing to its development.

I still believe in the ideal I proposed where communications between awful people are broken, in a way that is unbiased and objective, which could be achieved with software that is not own by anyone, and regulated by democracy, this would vastly out weigh today’s solutions. This may or may not be realistic in today’s climate, albeit I suppose it is entirely possible.

If you are going to respond, please quote what you are responding to, otherwise I will assume you are responding to an imaginary argument, i.e., a straw man. Disclaimer: I am not accusing anyone of doing so intentionally.

@Sprout3425 please don’t respond to a thread with a heap of separate posts.

You’re only repeating yourself now.

But you haven’t, the situation is who would be the central decision maker with this power, that’s the fundamental problem with “backdoors”.

This just sounds like marketing dribble ngl.

As a biologist you should also know that by definition a weed is simply an unwanted plant. The problem is would you ban that plant from existing anywhere on the planet? Who gets to make that decision. What are the unintended consequences to the ecosystem if you did have a tool to do that?

And not everyone agrees on the root cause of anything at all times, so that will never work.

At what point is violence actually self defense?

The point is you can’t have a magical tool only able to be used by “the good guy” whoever is even supposed to be the good guy anyway? Those are two separate issues with no answers.

Once you go down that rabbit hole you have to just ban everything, that’s why it’s not worthwhile. As soon as you ban something 10 other smart people will figure a way around it until nothing is left.

And as you’ve been told, bad people always existed and always will continue to exist, and you can’t stop them using encryption or anonymous technology anyway.

Now you’re getting to it.

With no way to implement it either ethically or technically it’s never going to happen. It is just another call for controls wont ever exist.

Anyway I don’t think there is really anything more to be discussed here, this conversation is going round and round in circles.


There wouldn’t be a central decision maker, that is what a democracy is. Either I am misunderstanding what you are saying, or you clearly haven’t read what I have said previously (“But you haven’t”). I am repeating myself because so are the responses, to prevent further repetition.

I have no idea what ads you have been watching to be honest, no disrespect. Maybe you heard the word holistic and tuned out?

Agreed, kind of, definitely not a bad take for a non-bio person.

Very vague statement not sure how I can address it, “that will never work”, as someone studying science (this applies to everyone, I don’t want to sound like I am apart of an elite club, everyone is a scientist) we never use absolutist terms like never, never say never, and never say for certain.

There is not one democracy is there, though. That’s the thing the world is made up of a bunch of democracies (and countries which aren’t) or are to a lesser degree. It’s a spectrum. The internet is internationally connected so if someone does like the rules of their country they will just get a product intended for another, there is really nothing that can be done to prevent that.

No government is going to agree to let other governments dictate what their citizens can view. Code is automated processes or thoughts, essentially, so basically not possible to dictate what people think.

No I did read the whole paragraph.

If we look at any government policy anywhere I think we can be pretty certain in saying that governments won’t all agree on the same things.

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If the person or people you are engaging in the violence harmed you first. However, interestingly you have inspired me to see the complexity. For example, whether your response is too harsh or not, say for example someone merely pushed you, and you try to harm them disproportionately, is another story. Can you quantify violence exactly, no. However, intuitively we humans can tell right from wrong, overreactions from responsible reactions.

Always reacting in a way that prevents yourself from harm is the way to go, of course everyone is subjective, but ensuring to remove yourself from danger at the maximum and doing no unjust harm is ideal.

There is no good guy, again democracy, plus someone that advocates for violence is clearly not a good guy, someone who imposes their ideas, beliefs, religion … on others is not the good guy. There is tons of psychological, scientific, ethical and philosophical research on this subject, and the good stuff and bad stuff has been discussed a lot, furthermore, intuitively the majority of people can agree with this stuff.

Who determines that though? At what point is something preventative? That is what courts of law are for. They can only make a ruling after something has happened. We don’t have a magical pre-crime machine.

There is no way to make an algorithm able to determine this, realistically in 2024.

Exactly, maybe it was an accident.

It’s very difficult to quantify a lot of things. The closest we have got is CSAM detection, even with that there is false positives. This technology however cannot be used with true E2EE communications. People don’t want spyware on their devices scanning what they send client side either.

It also isn’t possible on hardware which can have the operating system replaced anyway. So there will always be non-compliance criminals can use.

Yes but, developing a control in the shape of a tool has to be automated because of the sheer amount of data. That is a difficult problem when the classification is ambiguous anyway.

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To end this conversation, yeah I agree it is going around in circles, but we are making our points clearer, so I see no harm in it. Also, I have separated some of my responses on purpose, because reading through long walls of text can be tiring, and people’s concentration will falter.

Remember I wasn’t talking about violence in this case in the context of moderating text chats, I was discussing it in response to your valid point that things aren’t black and white, and easy to decide between, hence, I brought up democracy, which is the way to go, in society and in tech.

Anyway, in summary I definitely agree their are technical hurdles, but I do not agree that providing people with complete anonymity will ever be the most ideal solution in a reality where many things are possible, again in our current day and age, it may be an improvement over what our alternatives are, being mistreated by governments, but that does not make it the most ideal solution. Complete anonymity can clearly be abused. I think, that is something people can unanimously agree on. If you compare something bad to something more bad, of course it will look a bit better, but this doesn’t make it the ideal solution.

Edits to address your responses, because the discussion was closed:

You are saying this as a matter of fact statement, you or I do not know whether people will or will not continue to have these options in the future, or whether this is or isn’t a good or bad thing. Humans will eventually be extinct, so people won’t have it “regardless” of time, as one example, unless you want to clarify by what you meant by regardless.

Absolutely, I am not sure whether you think I disagree with this, but to clarify, I never argued anything remotely against this.

Yes, again in this exact day and age this is true, however, if you read what I am saying, I am talking about how things may will change with time.

Likewise. In fact, I am doing so due to the feedback loop people are initiating by not addressing my arguments, by ignoring them and then repeating the same talking points to me again, after I have already addressed them. I dunno maybe I am wrong.

Not a very tentative conclusion (I know, rich coming from me as I said that humans will be extinct eventually with such certainty). But, I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.

I verily agree, reminds me of Shufflecake

That’s not a choice for you to make. You can agree or disagree people will have it regardless. That’s why this discussion isn’t a matter of opinion.

A lot of things can be abused and regularly are. It doesn’t mean good people can’t use those things either. Anonymity allows people to be honest about their opinions without repercussions. Without it people would live in a very self-censoring world which really wouldn’t be a representation of what people really think about various issues.

By the way you’re just repeating yourself, so I think I’m going to lock this thread as nothing more of value will come from it.