Today’s essay may not be easy to read. You may get into the first couple of paragraphs, be disgusted, and then turn away. You may loathe the very idea of this discussion.
If it’s too much, we understand. Come back tomorrow. We’ll have something a little ‘lighter’ and less challenging.
Otherwise read on…
Ban anything that’s a challenge to power
There’s a spate of horrible news doing the rounds about bitcoin. It’s got nothing to do with the value, price, or even the technological progress of bitcoin.
It’s the media and those in power using bitcoin as a scapegoat. They’ve found respite, a diversion from the spotlight that’s been sharply focused on them recently. It’s another example of status quo resistance to change. Another excuse from centralised power about the ‘danger’ of progress.
A quick Google News search of bitcoin is all it takes to see what fuss is about.
The headlines read,
‘Child abuse imagery found within bitcoin’s blockchain’
‘Child porn links could make Bitcoin blockchain illegal’
‘Bitcoin price shrugs off child pornography report to top $9,000’
The news is researchers found 59 files in the bitcoin blockchain. Nothing disturbing about that. However this data included links to unlawful images of child exploitation, politically sensitive content, or privacy violations.
That is disturbing. It’s vile. But the rationale applied here is nothing short of astonishing. Rather than focus on those who distribute and disseminate such evil, the aim is squarely focused on bitcoin itself.
The researchers said,
‘Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK or the US suggest that illegal content such as this can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users.
‘As of now, this can affect at least 112 countries in which possessing content such as child pornography is illegal.’
This is the focus of the mainstream media right now. Not about who or where these images came from. Not about how to potentially use the blockchain to track down these sickos. No, the focus is how bitcoin is dangerous.
Their arguments about bitcoin supporting terrorism and money laundering were weak. Now they’ve found new ammunition, child porn.
This will add to the list of reasons from government cronies in their ivory towers to tell of the ‘dangers’ of bitcoin. Another attempt to quash the threat to their power base.
We know that data can be embedded in blockchains. That’s part of how they function. As such there is an issue for any blockchain allowing data to be added. That includes other major blockchains such as litecoin and ethereum.
But that alone should not be a reason or excuse to question the legality of bitcoin. Or any blockchain based crypto, for that matter.
Let’s remember that the internet is where these links lead. It’s unlikely you’d ever find these horrible things on the ‘surface web’. But in the far larger, less understood ‘deep web’ this kind of horror exists with relative impunity.
But because we know these things exist on the internet, are there calls to ban the internet?
Again, the issue here isn’t bitcoin or the blockchain. The issue is these horrendous acts. The issue is that they continue to occur.
If those with that power begin to cast stones about bitcoin and its links to illegal data, perhaps they should look in the mirror?
If there’s a ban on bitcoin because of this isolated evil, then surely we must also ban government?
Hypocrisy at its finest
On 15 October 2016, Karen Middleton wrote a powerful piece on sexual harassment in Australian Parliament. She wrote about personal examples of sexual harassment, many bordering on assault. Here’s one example,
‘I was about  and working in the press gallery in Old Parliament House when an MP with an octopus reputation popped his head around the door of our tiny office and noted the new recruit. I’d pushed back my chair and had my feet against the desktop, with legs outstretched. It was the only way to make enough room to properly read a broadsheet newspaper.
Remarking that he had not met the newest member of the bureau, the MP quickly stepped into the minuscule room and started running his hand up my stockings, with a sleazy “And who have we here?”
More recently the National Party of Australia confirmed an official complaint of sexual harassment against Former Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce. Joyce has since resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and moved to the back bench amidst the scandal.
It gets worse.
In November 2006 Member of Parliament (MP) Milton Orkopoulous was sacked. He was accused, charged and then convicted of child sex offences. These acts were committed while serving as an MP. He got 13 years jail.
Cyril Smith was a former MP for Rochdale in the UK. He died in 2010. There were inquiries into Smith and child sex offences in the 70s and 90s. But no action was taken. Not until after his death, at least…
The BBC reported in 2012,
‘Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said: “We are now in a position to say that on three separate occasions, files were passed to first the DPP and then the CPS containing details of abuse committed by Smith, but on each occasion no prosecution was pursued.
“We believe that if the same evidence was presented to the CPS today there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial.”’
These are just a few examples. Sexual offences occur all over world. But a common thread emerges. Predators in positions of concentrated power abuse that power.
This is what happens with the concentration of power. It’s why the potential to distribute that power away to the masses is such a powerful idea. It’s why crypto technology is so important. It can help to solve social and cultural problems. Decentralising power can solve some of society’s big issues.
Of course not all politicians are evil paedophiles or sexual predators. But a few are. We know the government won’t shut down because of a small pool of evil. Which is why even the idea of shutting down bitcoin because of 59 data points is insane.
You will hear the mainstream media use this as ammunition to condemn bitcoin. But take a moment to ask where we should really apply the blowtorch here.
Editor, Secret Crypto Network