Ted (merovingian) wrote,

Lemon Juice

When sylvan came over, I handed him a plastic Zip-loc baggie full of lemon juice.

"Why are you giving me this?" he asked.

"Well," I said, ""Instant Messaging is a non-secure channel. Anyone who sets up a sniffer in a backbone machine can overhear IM conversations. And, of course, the Russia Mafia is doing exactly that."

"Really?" he asked.

"Of course. They're creating a searchable database of every private IM conversation ever conducted. They intend to use it for blackmail and credit fraud, but what they don't know is that three months from now, a Brazilian team of teenage prankster hackers will break their security, and publish the entire database online. Chaos will ensue. The Brazilian government, under pressure from worldwide agencies at risk of massive scandal, will shut down the pirated site, but far too late. A dozen mirrors will sprout up, and each of those mirrors will launch a dozen more."

"What makes you say that?" he asked, politely.

"The database won't contain every secret, but it will contain about 25% of important personal secrets among people in industrial nations. Quite well enough to cause a lot of pain and embarassment. More than that, though, revealing those secrets will unravel more secrets. We'll have seven years of scandals, divorces, lawsuits, insider trading, identity theft and strife. Lives will be ruined and lost. After those painful seven years, every single secret in the industrial world will be exhausted. It will all be known -- easily found in that searchable database. Each and every one of us will be revealed completely, and that will begin an age of terrible, glorious honesty. No one will have privacy or secrets, and people will see quite clearly and without shame. It will be like mass-action exhaustive deep psychoanalysis of our whole society."

"And the lemon juice in the baggie is...?"

"Oh, that," I said, "Well, the thing is, I have no idea why I just gave you a baggie full of lemon juice, but in the coming age of secretlessness, I'm sure we'll both be able find out pretty easily."
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