1993-03-27 - ANON: Mark anon. posts a

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From: Hal <74076.1041@CompuServe.COM>
Message Hash: ce67cee324203a64e4ae7eeba31068a54da8c96e9ddb0a9711212902b3638b6a
Message ID: <93032723221974076.1041_FHD20-2@CompuServe.COM>
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UTC Datetime: 1993-03-27 23:28:55 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 27 Mar 93 15:28:55 PST

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From: Hal <74076.1041@CompuServe.COM>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 93 15:28:55 PST
Subject: ANON: Mark anon. posts a
Message-ID: <930327232219_74076.1041_FHD20-2@CompuServe.COM>
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I sent mail to Cypherpunks on this a couple of days ago, but it never

There is a problem with the notion that all "anonymous" remailers and
news-posting services should label their messages as anonymous so that
users can decide whether to read them or not.  This approach abandons one
of the strongest arguments in favor of anonymous remailers, which is
that the net is inherently an anonymous environment.

Especially as more public access Unix systems, BBS systems, and so on
become part of the net, we are going to see less and less of the strict
controls on identity which were possible when the net was restricted to
a few government labs and large universities.  The level of anarchy will
inevitably increase as larger numbers of people acquire net access.
Unless massive and universal authentication efforts are undertaken, it
is going to be more and more the case that you will know little about
the true identity of a poster.

Because of this, those who object to having to read the words of an
"anonymous" poster are taking an untenable position.  They are already
reading words of people about whom they know no more than they would
about an anonymous poster.  And the argument that "non-anonymous" posters
are subject to a form of discipline not available to anonymous posters -
messages to the system operator - is clearly falsified by the existance
of many sysops who care nothing about complaints.  As more and more people
run their own machines with net access, these cases will only increase.

In short, we anonymous remailer operators have every right to be part of
the net.  We introduce no more problems than are already happening and
will continue to occur as the net grows and becomes more universal.  The
resistance we've seen is from old-time sysops who are unable to adjust
to a changing network environment.

Rather than placating obsolete beliefs about network identity by agreeing
to mark our messages with the scarlett letter A for anonymity, by accepting
that we deserve to be in a ghetto set aside for inferior posts, I feel that
we should challenge the net with messages that blur the distinction between
anonymous and authenticated posts.  The sooner people realize that there is
no line that divides the clean from the unclean, the sooner anonymity will
be widely accepted on the net.

Hal Finney

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