Back in college I took a course called ‘Professional Responsibilities’. We discussed ethics and codes of conduct pertaining to software engineering. For my final paper, I took on discussing to ethical implications of building software to provide security and privacy to online communities.

This evening I watched Citizenfour. It got me thinking I should put this paper up online. Though it’s 10 years old, it certainly still seems quite relevant.

Some observations after more than 10 years of technology development?

  • The worst government overreach we knew about was Carnivore. I even said, “The Carnivore system allows the FBI to be stricter about what they see so as not to accidentally violate the privacy of others.”
  • This was unfortunately really accurate: “As technology continues to spread and develop, infringing on privacy will become easier[ACLU, 1993]. The temptation to violate privacy by automated monitoring of all domestic electronic communication may at some point be too great.”
  • This sounds about right: “… with the use of anonymous digital cash [Chaum, 1992], entire underground economies could flourish.”

It’s a hefty 4k words and includes such college paper mainstays as a bibliography (but I did at least drop the double spacing).

Please enjoy, Ethics of Creating Secure Anonymous Communities.

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