Friday, March 07, 2014

One of Those Rare Occasions ...


... I actually agree with something I read at Salon. Quoth Andrew Leonard therein:

Exposing [Bitcoin creator Satoshi] Nakamoto's identity is the very definition of "news."

Now, I'm not assuming that Leah McGrath Goodman, of Newsweek, got the right Nakamoto (the person she identifies says he isn't that guy).

Nor do I know what all Goodman did to obtain the information she thinks she obtained. If she broke into Nakamoto's house, stole and rifled through his briefcase, that kind of thing, then she violated his rights ... not by knowing that he is who she says he is, but by doing those specific things.

But if she got her facts right, and if she did so without violating any of Nakamoto's real rights in the process ... well, there's no such thing as a "right to demand that people not know who you are or what you did."

The claim of a right to privacy -- a right to demand that people not know something (or share what they know) -- is an "intellectual property" claim. And like all "intellectual property" claims, it's Grade A Horseapples.

Now, just to be clear: I don't agree with Leonard on anything else in the article. I don't believe for a minute that the outing of Satoshi Nakamoto, even if it turns out to be true and accurate, kills Bitcoin. And it sure as hell doesn't kill cryptocurrency as such. Someone's living in a fantasy world. But that someone is Andrew Leonard, not libertarians.
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