1993-02-23 - Re: dispatches from the front lines of anonymity

Header Data

From: nowhere@bsu-cs.bsu.edu (Chael Hall)
To: ld231782@longs.lance.colostate.edu (L. Detweiler)
Message Hash: 80fe346bb6ffe247f6e172d9bdf727f0e78460863fff14eb145e21eff4d6c9f8
Message ID: <9302232045.AA28686@bsu-cs.bsu.edu>
Reply To: <9302232001.AA01786@longs.lance.colostate.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-02-23 20:48:41 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 23 Feb 93 12:48:41 PST

Raw message

From: nowhere@bsu-cs.bsu.edu (Chael Hall)
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 93 12:48:41 PST
To: ld231782@longs.lance.colostate.edu (L. Detweiler)
Subject: Re: dispatches from the front lines of anonymity
In-Reply-To: <9302232001.AA01786@longs.lance.colostate.edu>
Message-ID: <9302232045.AA28686@bsu-cs.bsu.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>Also, note the simple scheme of serially allocating anonymous ID's
>could be a problem. If the infiltrator knows the rough date that
>someone was allocated a new ID, he could narrow down the range of IDs.
>For this reason randomly allocated IDs is a better idea.  The
>infiltrator could even go around to new accounts all the time (or forge
>them) to get an idea where the server is in the allocation cycle. It
>seems to me that there are probably a lot of ID's that are not being
>used on these servers and the issue of when to get rid of old ID's is a big 

     Here's an idea....  What if I added anonymous ID's to my remailer such
that the following would occur:

Messages with "Command: Create ID" header field will result in a random ID
being allocated to that user's account (if one does not already exist) and
mailed to the account.

Messages with "X-Allow-Reply: yes" header field (for example) will result
in the user's anonymous ID being sent to the recipient in a header field
(not From: because I do not have alias capabilities on this system).

Messages with "X-Anon-To: <an anon ID>" will get forwarded to the anon ID's
actual address.

     This is a sort of on-demand reply mechanism.  I could make flags on the
anon ID's so that I can disable a user's ID, set send/reply privileges, etc.
If a user wants to change his ID, he could send "Command: Change ID" or
"Command: Delete ID" to the remailer.  Then, I could either setup a waiting
period, make it require manual attention, or make it automatically do as
requested.  Since the program is written in C, about half of this is
trivial.  Making it secure is the most difficult part.  By default, of
course, messages would have no reply ability.  Any user who replies will
send mail to me.  They would have to specifically place the X-Anon-To header
line with the person's anon ID into the message.

     On the other hand, I could institute a serial number scheme where each
message receives a serial number.  Replies to that message for the period
of a week or a month or whatever I choose will be forwarded to the sender.
Each one has a different serial number no matter who it came from.  Of
course, this would require both a self-maintaining cross-reference list
and an extra header field and/or work on the part of the person who replies.

     I was wondering, what is the opinion on this list (just reply to me,
so we won't clog up cypherpunks any more than we (my remailer) already have)
as to whether or not I should append a footer to remailed messages saying
"Remailed by: nowhere@bsu-cs.bsu.edu" or some such nonesense that will let
the recipient know that I did not write the message.  My software already
supports footer files, but I haven't been using them.

>One thing I'd like to see that no one has done is an `unlink' feature
>for servers that carry address alias tables, so the user can erase all
>trace of any previous transactions through the server (other than the
>mail).  But maybe this is too close to the hit-and-run abuse out there.
>Maybe there is a compromise somewhere, like a waiting period before
>unlinking, during which complaints can be registered and possibly
>prohibit future use.

     I tried to incorporate this unlink idea of yours into my above
proposal.  The above is the way I understand your idea.  Is this correct?

Chael Hall

Chael Hall
nowhere@bsu-cs.bsu.edu, 00CCHALL@BSUVC.BSU.EDU, CHALL@CLSV.Charon.BSU.Edu
(317) 285-3648 after 5 pm EST