Dark Overlords are coming to a blockchain near you... What to do?

in #eos5 years ago

No, that's not a clickbait title. Here's the full story of a hacker group called Dark Overlords posting secret keys to a massive dump of hacked 9/11-related material: ‘More truth’? Second cache of 9/11 docs released by Dark Overlord hackers.


Here's the interesting bit for us at the end:

While the encryption key for the first batch of documents has been scrubbed from Reddit, Pastebin and Twitter, it remained available for several days on Steemit. Dark Overlord’s account was banned from the platform on Wednesday, however, but the documents can be accessed on Busy.org, a website that runs on the same blockchain as Steemit.

Now, assuming that is true (which it might not be) there are interesting and valid questions for blockchain people. Firstly, why did Steemit.com delete the account (from their website access, not from the blockchain) ?

Maybe you fall on the side to the left and say "of course, we'd always do that." Maybe you fall on the right and say "that's unacceptable censorship! Outrageous!"

There are two points to consider here: one is that this is a valid question to ask - should we delete that account, or should we preserve the account against attackers?

The second is this: how do we make this decision ???

This second is the key question. Should it be done transparently, with a defined process? Or should the decision be made by one person in power, or one group of block producers, or ... What? Or should it be put to community vote?

These are some of the options. There might be others. My purpose isn't to say what I think should be done - but to ask you. Not what is your choice, but how do we choose?



These are some of the options. There might be others. My purpose isn't to say what I think should be done - but to ask you. Not what is your choice, but how do we choose?

I have some ideas but those will remain under wraps until the technology emerges where they can be appropriately implemented. Personally I do not prefer direct censorship. However I will say the gist of my idea below:

  • We the people should always have the right to align the flow of our resources with our moral values so that both go in the same direction.
  • We should put an emphasis on moral allocation of attention, computation, storage, data, AI, and any other resource under our responsible control.
  • We should always have the right to network with or match up with those who share our values so that we may pool our resources in the way we think is morally efficient.

If you think a certain kind of content or activity on a network is morally wrong then you should not be required or forced to lend your resources to those activities. We do not have to build amoral decentralized applications or amoral platforms.

Firstly, why did Steemit.com delete the account (from their website access, not from the blockchain) ?

Steemit.com does not own the Steem blockchain. Steemit.com is owned by Steemit Inc which is owned and run by a US citizen (it's a US company). Steemit Inc as expected will be required to comply with US law. In my opinion Steemit Inc did the correct and appropriate actions according to the law.

Morally speaking I also think Steemit Inc did the correct and appropriate thing. Just because some outlaws release some information it does not mean those outlaws are doing it with good intentions or that those outlaws care about the US citizen, or any citizens in the world, or the people. Just because some outlaws release some information it does not mean the information they release is saving lives, or improving lives, or helping people in some way.

Blackmail, extortion, terrorism, are against the law. Also it must be noted that these are not victimless crimes. There are victims. The information being released was not just about 911 either. The hackers releasing it did it for profit, for money, and not for any moral ideal or higher ideal.

Of course that is just my opinion. Some will say my opinion is correct while others will say the hackers are defending free speech. I think free speech or political speech is what people like Jordan Peterson are doing (not saying I agree with his speech but he has a right). I think if you make threats, demand payment (or else), and release information which destroys lives? It becomes no longer a matter of political speech as now there are victims of that speech.

Morally I don't see these as being the same category.

I fully agree with everything you've written in these comments.

You aren't asking a moral question. You are asking a legal question. If Al Qaeda or ISIS were to post on Steem making threats then what should any US company do which runs a front end to the blockchain?

Either the US company cooperates with law enforcement or the US company cooperates with the terrorists. When the FBI, Secret Service, DHS and others knock on your door are you going to go to prison or risk lawsuits in order to protect a group which likely would just as easily hurt you as it would hurt the US government?

Legally we should assume and expect any US company run by a US citizen to comply with US law. If we want decentralization then non US companies can offer front ends to the blockchain but those companies we should expect to comply with their local laws.

A strong democracy should be able to stand information which even the majority is considering as false.
Why can´t the Steem chain be that place where also obvious nonsense is allowed to be dumped?
I would cut the line if e.g. child porn is dispayed. Maybe not consistent, but in this case I would favor deletion.

Btw. the Steemit blocking of that account is pathetic. If you just replace the "it" with "peak", you come to the steempeak frontend where the censorship obviously didn´t happen

The hacker group members are common criminals, nothing else. They have said things to that effect. They're in it for the money and do not care about the consequences of their actions. A private US company running a website is fully within its rights - and its obligations - to censor criminal content. No content has been removed from the blockchain. No need for anyone to get worked up.

Sorry, I was not aware about the actual content. In how far was the content criminal? Because it was criminal the way they obtained it?

The content was criminal because it was stolen.

This is exactly the problem space: behaviour X is ok by you, and behaviour Y "cuts the line."

Others have varied opinions.

How do we as a community decide what to do, when opinions differ?

Agree, it is very difficult.

I think we can all agree that Steemit Inc., or any specific Steem app has a right to filter as they please. At the end of the day, the information is on the Steem Blockchain for any app to use as they see fit. Steemit.com may choose to censor but Steem is censorship resistant. This is the nature of a blockchain and it works as intended. Each app has the right to use the blockchain as they see fit.

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