1993-03-03 - You Aren’t [I’m Not]

Header Data

From: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: e0fd34b78cd7f9859a95a4cc4d1282390b74344043b91eb9525c0f1e0d424ebf
Message ID: <9303031939.AA26579@soda.berkeley.edu>
Reply To: <9303031741.AA19535@SOS>
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-03 19:42:43 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 11:42:43 PST

Raw message

From: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 93 11:42:43 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: You Aren't [I'm Not]
In-Reply-To: <9303031741.AA19535@SOS>
Message-ID: <9303031939.AA26579@soda.berkeley.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Ted writes:
>[...] but I do believe in personal responsibility.  

I do not think this is an entirely forthright self-assessment.

>It is certainly true that it is possible to construct a remailer
>service, using cryptography, such that it would be impossible to
>trace it back to the original sender.

Let me call that strong anonymity.  Let me also call the possibility
for revealment weak anonymity.

>So in this model, how can you provide personal responsibility?  Well, I
>would argue that the buck should stop at the remailer site.  They are
>the closest link to the chain of liability, and they have intentionally
>performed measures which make it impossible find the next link in the
>chain of liability.  So, let the liability rest with the remailer site!

I interpret you to mean that it is not personal responsibility for
speech that you want, but the existence of someone to sue.

The placement of liability on the remailer does not directly affect
what the anonymous sender is going to say.  The assignment of
liability has, foremostly, legal consequences.  The way I see that it
will increase personal responsibility for speech is to make the legal
climate (in the U.S., at least) impossible for strong anonymity.  By
eliminating strong anonymity, you can ensure that their anonymity is
only conditionally revealed.

Now, you haven't directly stated that you think that strong anonymity
shouldn't exist.  If this is what you think, plase say so directly.
You can then make whatever argument you wish to support this position,
but I, for one, would like to argue against clearly stated positions.

>Now, I'm not a lawyer, and as far as I know, this legal theory hasn't
>been tested in a court.  So only time will tell what happens when these
>remailers hit the real world.

No, not only time will tell.  This seems like an important enough
point to legislate into existence before a court test.  And for those
with objections to making legislation, remember that the issue will be
resolved publicly by law, but by lawyers in the courts.  How about
something like the following:

	"Speech made anonymously will carry a presumption of falsity
	in all consideration of tort resulting from said speech."

>Perhaps these are not the right sets of tools to be used to provide some
>sort of controls over remailers so that the negative effects of these
>remailers can be controlled.  

One can eliminate the negative effects by eliminating the positive
ones as well.  I do believe strong anonymity to be one of these