1995-01-19 - Re: The Remailer Crisis

Header Data

From: jalicqui@prairienet.org (Jeff Licquia)
To: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Message Hash: e398d8dfa87c80d78209b81ca1abf12e6177ae652091a92ffc320f0fa75c6a3f
Message ID: <9501192150.AA14796@firefly.prairienet.org>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1995-01-19 21:52:28 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 19 Jan 95 13:52:28 PST

Raw message

From: jalicqui@prairienet.org (Jeff Licquia)
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 95 13:52:28 PST
To: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Subject: Re: The Remailer Crisis
Message-ID: <9501192150.AA14796@firefly.prairienet.org>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>> Jeff's response is exactly what I was hoping for! The "Cypherpunks
>> distribution" version of Linux would be a great way to spread cheap
>> remailer technology on cheap Linux boxes. Hell, I might even augment
>> my Macs with one of these things!
>One thing I should've noted is that a Linux-based cheap remailer is
>mostly useless without a "live connection" to the Net. That's why I
>mentioned hanging these directly off The Little Garden's net (i.e.,
>putting the box in the same building as the physical net, to avoid
>expensive connections).

Not necessarily.  Imagine, for example, a FidoNet or UUCP remailer.  It
might be nice for Internet users to have some kind of mail aliasing in the
DNS for you, but it wouldn't be required by any means.  I think it would be
better to have lots of remailers with ugly addresses (like
"jeff%jtj-l.uucp@cei.com", which is my address on my Linux box at home) than
only a few with nice ones.  (FidoNet has its own problems, such as paranoid
BBSes that disallow encrypted traffic, but that's another matter.)  These
remailers wouldn't even need to be up 24 hours; you could run it at night,
calling up on bootup and every hour thereafter or something.  It's not
perfect, to be sure, but what else is perfect?

I don't know how hard it is to get in on the local FidoNet, but UUCP isn't
too hard, and is a lot cheaper.  When I was in college, my college gave me a
feed for free.  I'm not so familiar what providers charge.  Of course,
university accounts have their good and bad points; however, if you could
persuade someone offsite with control over a domain name (for example,
"remailer.net" :-) to give you a mail alias on their domain, this would take
a bit more effort to track than your typical "remailer.uiuc.edu" type
domain.  This would make it less likely that the university would hear
complaints, also, since most complainers would be more likely to complain to
"postmaster@remailer.net" than "postmaster@uiuc.edu" if your machine was
called "anon@anarchy.remailer.net" instead of "anon%anarchy.uucp@uiuc.edu"
or "anon@anarchy.uiuc.edu".

And this doesn't even get into the neato-cool new services you West Coasters
get, like RadioMail...

>What are the cheapest "live connections" (24-hour a day connections)
>available? Where I am, about $100 a month, plus whatever the local
>phone company charges for a dedicated line. ISDN is an option, but it
>looks to cost $400-800 to get started, plus a monthly charge (which I
>don't recall, except that I "gulped" when I heard it).

Around here, it isn't even available unless you access through the
CompuServe numbers or call long distance (read: $$$).  That may be changing

>So, even an el cheapo 486-based Linux box, for perhaps $800 or so,
>would need to solve the problem of a cheap, continuous connection to
>the Net. (My supposition is that one approach is to share these
>connections, hence my notion of hanging machines on other people's

No need for even a 486.  If it takes an hour to process a remailer script,
so much the better for the mix.  You could call it a "required latency
feature". :-)

>Are there options for several machines to share a connection? (I'm
>sure there are....). Someone who already has a connection may be
>willing to host additional machines, which could share some of the

Set up correctly, these "Remailer-In-A-Box" type machines could do several
things to share a connection.  They could, for example, all be connected
with serial cables and use UUCP to get mail where it needs to go.  I
believe, in addition, that you can chain up to three deep with PLIP.  This
of course assumes that Ethernet isn't an option.