1993-03-02 - Re: Future of anonymity (short-term vs. long-term)

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From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 9fe53dd495c32c1852b8cf64948bec5e87ebd25e63619dc090254e4dcb8b34e3
Message ID: <9303020137.AA19657@netcom.netcom.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-02 01:39:11 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 17:39:11 PST

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 93 17:39:11 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Future of anonymity (short-term vs. long-term)
Message-ID: <9303020137.AA19657@netcom.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Ted Ts'o comments ruefully:

>There doesn't seem to be a lot of realism in these discussions, which is
>really bothering me.  Oh, well....
>                                                - Ted

There are certainly differing agendas and differing time horizons, as
others have also noted (especially Marc Ringuette's analysis of time
scales). Some are writing code to be put into their programs _tonight_,
while others take a longer view. 

Some on this list operate real remailers, even world-famous remailers. The
day to day discussion of mail protocols, PERL scripts, headers, REGEX
stuff, and actual code submitted to the list is certainly pretty strong
evidence that folks are deeply immersed in realism.

Your own concerns about anonmity have also been well-received, I think,
even if many of us disagree with you in some areas. Speaking for myself, I
agree that some limits on anonymous posting may develop--this doesn't mean
_we_ should put the limits in! (Granted, some of those operating remailers
need to think about these issues. Johan Helsingius, for example, has done a
very impressive job of balancing needs and threats and is considering how
to deal with various kinds of abuses. Many on this list are contributing
ideas. You can't get much more real than this.)

Bugs, flaws, problems, cruftiness, and other defects exist. So what? That's
the main point of trying to actually deploy these systems--to expose
weaknesses, to try new approaches, to come out with "Mark II" versions of
systems, and to have concrete examples to point to.

As far a realism goes, the folks in this group have built real anonymous
mailing systems, have been deeply involved in the PGP development (not me,
certainly, but look at the PGP docs and you'll see some names from this
list), and are working on many aspects of the evolution of digital privacy.
As one who has been interested in this area since 1987, I think the
progress in the last year or so has been nothing short of amazing.

-Tim May

Timothy C. May               | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com        | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409               | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA       | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: MailSafe and PGP available.