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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Anonymity working group starting; Dungeons & Dragons
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- Subject: [FYI] (Fwd) FC: Anonymity working group starting; Dungeons & Dragons
- From: "Axel H Horns" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2000 18:00:37 +0100
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Date sent: Sat, 09 Dec 2000 10:46:08 -0500
From: Declan McCullagh <email@example.com>
Subject: FC: Anonymity working group starting; Dungeons & Dragons movie
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Devising Invisible Ink
by Declan McCullagh (email@example.com)
2:00 a.m. Dec. 9, 2000 PST
WASHINGTON -- An ambitious effort to protect online anonymity will
kick off this weekend.
A working group of about a dozen technologists, called NymIP, is
gathering before the Internet Engineering Task Force's meeting to
take the very first steps toward devising a standard that will
foster untraceable communications and Web browsing for Internet
Currently, commercial products such as Anonymizer.com and Zero
Knowledge's Freedom client permit anonymous or pseudonymous
Net-surfing. The NymIP effort aims to create standard protocols
that would be more widely adopted and not tied to one company's
product or service.
Zero Knowledge, a Montreal firm, began the project last month, but
the working group is now headed by Harvard University's Scott
Bradner, an IETF veteran. Quips Zero Knowledge engineer John
Bashinski: "I've been heard enough as it is, and am trying to
moderate my natural big-mouthed tendencies and let others speak
for a while."
One probable topic of discussion: The tradeoffs between bandwidth
and security. Absolute security requires scads of cover traffic to
mask the communications that a user wants to conceal, but it also
eats up bandwidth.
"Scalability isn't too bad if you're looking at scaling the number
of users," writes Bashinski in a post to the NymIP mailing list.
"Where scaling seems to bite you is with the size of the anonymity
group, defined as the set of users that, given the information the
recipient or an eavesdropper has, could have sent a given message.
In high-security systems, more or less those with meaningful
resistance to traffic analysis, scaling in the anonymity group
size seems to be superlinear, maybe even N^2."
Translation: That's enough to clog a lot of T-3 lines.
New Film 'Dungeons' Drags On
by Declan McCullagh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
7:00 p.m. Dec. 8, 2000 PST
Too many films based on a tale with origins far from Hollywood
suffer from that irksome flaw of not being true to the original,
leaving fans to gnash their teeth and moan like an orc with
Not so Dungeons & Dragons, which is afflicted with the related but
equally vexing ailment of hewing too closely to the awesomely
popular role-playing game that gave it life.
To wit: The 100-minute flick from New Line Cinema is less a story
of love and adventure than a convenient vehicle for some
occasionally-phenomenal light shows in dungeons and hordes of
swooping dragons flapping around the Empire of Izmer looking like
nothing so much as oversized pterodactyls equipped with +5
fireballs and terribly bad attitudes.
But successful real-life D&D games require far more -- well-drawn
heroes and convincing antagonists are not at all optional. And in
devising this wide screen adaptation that opened Friday,
director-grand-poobah Courtney Solomon has failed repeated saving
throws against the chaotic-evil forces of blandness and blah.
By itself, the story shows promise.
A vaguely medieval society is sharply divided between the Mages --
an elite and somewhat stuffy breed of magic users who skulk around
their towering stone fortress -- and everyone else.
Izmer's teen empress (an unremarkable Thora Birch) wants everyone
to be "equal," a vague but unobjectionable idea, while the evil
Mage Profion (Jeremy Irons) has successfully convinced the
legislature otherwise. A power struggle ensues that makes the
Florida election look like an endearing display of bonhomie, and
the winner is the side that can find the fabled Rod of Savrille
and thus command the mighty red dragons.
Enter two thieves, Ridley (Justin Whalin) and Snails (Marlon
Wayans), who join a cute young female mage, a grumpy dwarf, and an
aloof elf -- your classic D&D traveling companions -- to trounce
the bad guy, help the good one, and perhaps encounter a love
interest or two along the way.
It's a good start, but not much more. The director, Solomon, can't
seem to decide whether to take the film seriously or allow it to
spoof itself -- and neither can the actors.
The performance by Academy Award-winning Irons is remarkable only
in how lackluster it is, and Wayans' inner-city slang is as out of
place as he would be in any believable Thieves' Guild.
Note to Solomon: Thieves should be lithe and sneaky, not bumbling
trolls. (At least -- spoiler alert -- this Jar Jar Binks stand-in
is slaughtered halfway through the movie.)
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