1993-03-25 - Re: Many Important Items in the News

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From: david@staff.udc.upenn.edu (R. David Murray)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 903655c44d7a30e69888159fe87827c01c44b8295f745d3e3b9f4bde5d29589d
Message ID: <9303251547.AA23456@staff.udc.upenn.edu>
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UTC Datetime: 1993-03-25 15:50:58 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 25 Mar 93 07:50:58 PST

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From: david@staff.udc.upenn.edu (R. David Murray)
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 93 07:50:58 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re:  Many Important Items in the News
Message-ID: <9303251547.AA23456@staff.udc.upenn.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Phil Karn suggests that the ability for potential recipients to block
anonymous mail is important.  I agree.

If you don't mind a few comments from someone who has been lurking until
now . . . 

If, as Tim May says, the cyphperpunks anonymous remailers have been
mentioned more widely, it may be time for the cypherpunks to 'go public'. 
I suspect, from the traffic on news.admin.policy (which I just read a bunch
of) that things would have been less acrimonious if Julf had chosen to
respond to admin complaints and been seen to be clearly working toward a
mutually acceptible solution.  I understand (I think) why he chose not
to, but if news.admin.policy starts talking about cypherpunk remailers,
then, based on what we learned from Julf's experience (thanks
Julf, and sorry it turned out the way it did, and happy it wasn't worse)
I don't think we can afford to remain silent.  I suspect that even if Julf
had been participating in that discussion he still would have been shut
down, but it might have taken longer, and people might (/might/)
understand his/our position better.

I suggest we be proactive about 'anonymous call blocking', and prepare
information sheets and code to make it easy for people who choose to do
so to block anonymous mail/postings, and at the appropriate time publish
these widely.

Perhaps a member with an effective writing style (Tim?) could prepare a
'position paper' explaining our position.  Of course, talk of Anarchy
would be a little much, so the problem would be what to include . . . 

An argument that might appeal to the control freaks is that anonymous
remailers are inevitable, and it would be better to codify it and
provide mechanisms for 'anonymous message blocking' than to have to deal
with it anew each time someone new starts up an anonymous service.

The biggest problem I see is that a number of Julf's supporters pointed
to the fact that penet anonymous users could be sent email, just like a
regular net id, and had a sysadmin who could block them for bad
behaviour, just like a regular net id.  Cypherpunk remailers do away
with that, and that could be a hard sell.  The danger of asking
news.admin.policy in on a standardization discussion is that they could
decide this level of 'accountability' was required and get really nasty
about anything else.

I hope others have some better ideas about how to prepare for what comes
next.  The one clear thing is that we have a lot to learn from Julf's
experience.  Anyone interested in the future of anonymity on the net who
has not read through some of the postings on news.admin.policy should do

david			david@staff.udc.upenn.edu