Rich Freeman via plug on 18 Mar 2021 05:39:57 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Schneier: Illegal Content and the Blockchain

On Thu, Mar 18, 2021 at 12:27 AM JP Vossen via plug
<> wrote:
> Really interesting:
> My question is why is arbitrary data in the Bitcoin blockchain in the first place?  Despite Eric's talk I know (or remember) next to nothing about it, but it seems like data in a ledger would be ledger-like data, and not arbitrary.

The issue is somewhat controversial, but it is currently allowed.  It
is also impossible to really eliminate since data can be encoded in
arbitrary ways.  After all, data in your RAM is one-and-zero-like
data, and not "arbitrary," and yet here we are using it to send emails
and post cat pictures online.

I'm sure this has gotten WAY more thought than this, but offhand a
simple solution would be:
1. Have a master account number that is seeded into your botnet to
receive commands from.
2. To issue a command send a small outgoing transaction from that
account into another account - think of this like a pointer for a
function call.
3. After that incoming transaction in the other account, have a series
of transactions in that account with very small value amounts, where
the amounts encode instructions with a terminator.

The Schneier article rightly points out that blacklisting these is
almost impossible due to the nature of blockchain unless such a
mechanism is added and some central authority entrusted to wield it
(you could implement some kind of CRL-like mechanism if everybody
wanted to).  The article talks a fair bit about forking, and it is
mostly true, but keep in mind that "forks" aren't some kind of
automatic death of blockchain.  As I understand it there have been a
number of these in the past, with almost all miners following the
intended path.  Usually changes to the algorithm get heavy discussion
to reach consensus before they're implemented, so there is little
value in not taking the official fork.  In a sense it isn't unlike
IETF changing a specification - you could decide that you don't like
how they defined IPv6 and go send your own IPv6 packets that work
completely differently, but there isn't a lot of value in having your
three nodes on the internet that can only talk to each other over
dedicated lines.

Ultimately though this is part of the problem with having a concept of
"illegal information."  IMO concepts like copyright, classified info,
limitations on false/harmful/etc speech, and privacy are basically
incompatible with the existence of advanced technology.  However, it
is pretty natural for people to try to put the genie back in the
bottle so I expect attempts to be made on all of those fronts until
everybody just gets tired of it and adapts.  Of all of the above
classified info is probably the easiest to protect simply because
those creating it usually take great care to try to keep it under
wraps.  The others involve trying to suppress info that is largely
broadcast to the public.

I found this but haven't read much past the intro:
DOI: 10.5915/LEDGER.2018.101
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