Part 1 is here. This is a reprint of an article which originally appeared at Cyberguerrilla.org, reprinted by permission. This is the third contribution by old Cryptospherian AnonyOdinn; the first was Stop the Power; How to Do Business Without Banks on bank-free financial systems. We are very pleased to welcome back our old friend.
This post is a continuation of “Censorship Resistance and Decentralization Methods (I),” which provided principles for innovators, activists and businesses to use in ways that will help avoid or circumvent censorship regimes of today. Today’s post features more specific tools for that purpose and some examples of their use in ways that will address our post-national development. This begins with the assumption that you have either shed your fear of the corporation-state and are preparing for a future without it, or you have begun to recognize that your fear is their power and are working to find ways to shed yourself of it. For without the ability to discern how we will flex our minds to shed our fear of the systems that all too frequently censor and limit our progress, our fear becomes their power. But with the understanding that we have that ability and can, if we choose, use it, then the vise of fear that ties us to today’s failed systems diminishes, and we are prepared to build our own vehicles to remove ourselves from that vise and leave centralized systems behind.
An Analysis of Anonymity and Identity Is Vital to Your Development within a Rapidly Changing Post-National Future
To examine how you might present yourself in the context of regimes and systems which incrementally and increasingly censor expressions, it is vital to analyze how and in what ways you wish to exercise anonymity in tandem with the identities that you establish for yourself in various aspects of life. It is norm in any culture and society to have certain specific identities that provide context and show ways in which you identify in a similar manner to others while maintaining your individuality. But even where individuals freely and clearly identify themselves by whatever names they choose, agree upon, or keep after being given from birth, the ability to act either independently or as part of a larger group while asserting anonymity is critical to social and community development within a rapidly changing world. In this world you will encounter numerous times and places where there will be frameworks for your ideas that cannot be supported by the rules of the corporation-state in which you reside. This may occur while you are physically exposed to the operations of a corporation-state, or it may occur when you are online and thus exposed to the operations of coercive and often violent corporation-states that attempt to restrain individual and collective expression. The censorship you encounter will become more severe as we approach an inflection point in social development where corporation-states realize that their influence, or in some cases, the existence of their ability to govern, is at risk due to the rapidly arriving post-national environment, in which decentralized associations of persons and distributed digital systems minimize the power of those who still cling to Hegelian romantic nationalism. Even communities whose principles you agree with, whether in the context of activism, business, or within the process of community formation and maintenance in your locale, will resort to censorship if you innovate in ways that some members of those communities do not understand.
Thus, as part of your analysis moving forward, there are few simple options to consider, which might be helpful to examine as questions that you ask, either as questions to yourself, or with others who you share ideas and community:
1) In what circumstances do I wish to express myself anonymously? How do I envision this happening?
2) How do I relate the facets of my identity in a way that makes sense to me personally (or is functional in the community where we live) and ensures that I am heard and not minimized in the course of my striving to share my ideas with the world?
3) How can we ensure giving is a larger component of what we do, and in what circumstances can we use anonymity to ensure that our giving decisions are not censored and cut off from the rest of the world?
These are suggestions as a starting point. Consider adding your own questions on this theme for personal reflection or to examine together with a group of individuals within your community.
Use of Tools that Help Establish or Maintain Anonymity are Critical to limit Financial Censorship as well as to increase and protect Artistic, Activistic, and Innovative Freedom
There are many tools to help establish and maintain anonymity wherever you desire. In an article by the Economist, it is explained why (and part of how) the authors of that publication have long asserted and exercised anonymity. While Tor (along with the powerful Quantum Updater for Tor) and Tails are useful tools, they are not the only tools in your box that can help you exercise, establish, and maintain anonymity to the extent that you desire. Tools also exist which do not by themselves establish anonymity, but which essentially reduce possible censorship of your ideas to nearly zero, because of the decentralized nature of the tools themselves. Examples of these include Diaspora, Lantern, and AnonTwi.
If you have ideas which need to be shared anonymously because you would be subject to legal or other coercive action against you if you were to share that information, you should consider, to protect yourself, stronger tools such as our recommendations for use of both Tor and I2P from one browser. For e-mail you should consider Thunderbird ~ along with an Enigmail add-on and use of TorBirdy – for maximum security and encryption of your e-mails end to end. To the extent that you use e-mail, protect yourself.
Even when “all you are doing” is giving and sharing your information with the rest of the world, there are plenty of actors who don’t want all this giving to continue and feel threatened by it. Even if they can’t stop you from being compassionate, they’ll try to stop your information from flowing in transit, or literally censor certain types of financial transactions, as has been described previously from this blog. Thus we have recommended some methods for decentralization of the financial system that involve anonymous and unlinkable methods of transaction. We also recommend that you examine alternatives to the banks themselves, so as to ensure your information and your resources are removed from that system. Finally, we recommend that you examine the ABIS project and a decentralized charitable giving toolset with ability for stealth sends. These projects will help you decentralize giving and begin the process of building new and more compassionate communities and society.
“The first thing required is to discard any desire to turn swordsmanship into… a matter of mere accomplishment. (…) (O)ne is not to think of achieving victory over the opponent.” – Odagiri Sekiei