1993-03-03 - more ideas on anonymity

Header Data

From: tribble@xanadu.com (E. Dean Tribble)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: a1badbeb2427195d06fe8cc6b2fb5c46ee5ba5fd5ee2e858f6849acee14aa0c9
Message ID: <9303021951.AA26424@memexis.xanadu.com>
Reply To: <9303011958.AA24443@soda.berkeley.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-03 09:31:20 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 01:31:20 PST

Raw message

From: tribble@xanadu.com (E. Dean Tribble)
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 01:31:20 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: more ideas on anonymity
In-Reply-To: <9303011958.AA24443@soda.berkeley.edu>
Message-ID: <9303021951.AA26424@memexis.xanadu.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

	 "How much reputation has an anonymous source?"

	 I think this might be key to solving the "anonymous libel" problem.
	 Simply declare "anonymous libel" an oxymoron!  We might argue that
	 otherwise libelous statements, when made anonymously, carry a
	 presumption of falsity, for otherwise the speaker would be willing to
	 speak truthfully in his or her own person.

	 Or, in other words, "Coward! He must be lying!"

The perspective you propose is an easy way of orienting people towards
positive reputations.  If people consider an unestablished anonymous
source as similar to a drunk on the street staggerring up to them,
then sources start out with little positive reputation.

For some things, anonymity is sufficiently valuable that its use
doesn't discredit the source: crime tip-offs, inside corruption
revealing, etc.  In many of those cases, however, the source would
need to establish their validity, which ties them back into the
positive reputation game: an insider could reveal information that
proves their inside knowledge, an informer could establish a long-term
anonymous reputation, etc.  In the case of the informer, police might
still respond to random tips, but not with the same alacrity (yeah
right) with which they respond to tips from established informers.