1993-03-01 - anonymity + untraceable digital money = potential problems

Header Data

From: ALAN DORN HETZEL JR <dorn@indigo.mese.com>
To: cypherpunks@indigo.mese.com
Message Hash: 20e7e90d1aa1cc9b57dc6a42771bb94dcfd73c6f15cd5f6bdaa796bda82c4ccc
Message ID: <00968D43.DD87FB00.21534@INDIGO.MESE.COM>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-01 06:45:09 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 22:45:09 PST

Raw message

From: ALAN DORN HETZEL JR <dorn@indigo.mese.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 22:45:09 PST
To: cypherpunks@indigo.mese.com
Subject: anonymity + untraceable digital money = potential problems
Message-ID: <00968D43.DD87FB00.21534@INDIGO.MESE.COM>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Dear Group,

I believe that I see a potential serious problem with they onset of
truly unbreakable anonymous communication combined with untraceable
digital cash.

The problem is that crimes such as blackmail and extortion would become
absolutely impossible to defend against.  Kidnapping for ransome would
get a LOT easier.

One of the serious deterrents to crimes such as kidnapping is the 
probability that one will get caught attempting to communicate ones
demands or collect the payment.  If one can make TRULY anonymous demands
and receive payment which is TRULY untraceable, one can strike without
warning and then proceed virtually without risk.

I could send you an anonymous note threating to poison your dog, kill
your wife, burn down your house, whatever..., ... unless you pay me
$$$ in untraceable digital cash.  What can you do?  You pay and I go
my merry way with your money, or you assume I am bluffing and don't pay.

MANY PEOPLE WILL NOT CALL THIS BLUFF, and there is the serious problem...

I foresee a great way for jerks to "earn extra income in their spare time"
threatening hundreds of people in mass anonymous mailings.  Some of these
folks will be scared enough to pay off.  Where is the risk to the person
who commits these acts?  He's COMPLETELY anonymous!

Food for thought.