1993-10-06 - Re: Standard Headers for Anonymous Remailers

Header Data

From: Stanton McCandlish <mech@eff.org>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 6e3bd42c5cdf47926b56ea9f2ac7d74ac72b21a416560c1d9cdcd46e24a35297
Message ID: <199310061719.AA07224@eff.org>
Reply To: <199310052035.AA27555@eff.org>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-06 17:20:15 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 6 Oct 93 10:20:15 PDT

Raw message

From: Stanton McCandlish <mech@eff.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 93 10:20:15 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Standard Headers for Anonymous Remailers
In-Reply-To: <199310052035.AA27555@eff.org>
Message-ID: <199310061719.AA07224@eff.org>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>         It seems to me that his suggestion would work to make it easier for 
> readers to do that. There are people who don't want to read anonymous posts. It 
> seems only fair to give them a reasonable opportunity to kill them as a group 
> _from their own newsreaders_. This job is very difficult in the present, and it 
> requires that the person know the email addresses of every anonymous remailer 
> in the world, so he/she can killfile all of them. On the other hand, a single 
> word added to a special header would enable them to identify anonymous posts as 
> a group, saving everyone a lot of hassle.

Which will result in newgroups banning anon mail wholesale.  There are
other filtration methods besides using the full address of the remailer.
Simply filtering out all mail from userIDs "anonymous" and "nobody" will
kill most anon mail as it is.

>         This isn't necessarily related to the banning of anonymous posts from a 
> whole newsgroup. This is about an individual choice by individual readers.

But of course it is related to banning anon postings in whole groups. 

>         What it suggests is a matter of opinion, and I'm sure that you will 
> give yours (as will I) to anyone who tries to ban anoymous posting in "normal" 
> groups. On the other hand, the academic and hard-science conferences you 
> addressed would be served by this feature.

They can already filter out this stuff without that much of a hassle as
can anyone.  Really, the idea of standardizing the anon remailers is not
that big a deal, I just see it as a step in the wrong direction, at least
until anon mail is more  accepted.  It will just make it slightly more
easy to filter out anon mail, and at a time when lots of admins and
moderators are frowning up anon mail, is this such a good idea?

>         It is a bad idea to try to stop a technical development just because 
> some people might misuse it. Yes, the anon-marker heeader may be misused. PGP 
> has been and will continue to be misused, as will the remailers. That doesn't 
> mean we should get rid of them. It only means that we should behave 
> intelligently and make our own choices about who to believe and what to 
> support.

Hahahah, I'm not trying to stop a [useful] technological development, just
slowdown a potentially worse-than-useless one until anon mail is more
accepted, at which point standardizing would be a good idea.  Your last
sentence above...when do I ever advocate otherwise? :)

>         Usenet is hardly an autocratic medium. If a normal Usenet group 
> suddenly banned anon traffic entirely, there would be ample opportunities for 
> you and I and all the other cypherpunks (both in membership and in spirit) to 
> raise objections. And it's not only cypherpunks who would object. The traffic 
> in the normally conservative news.admin.policy showed the disapproval of 
> oppressive top-down regulations during the ARMM/UDP incidents.
>         I just think that the creation of a special anon header is not a real 
> problem, since it would do no real damage, and might improve the image of 
> remailers considerably.

This argument I really don't follow.  I don't see how standardizing this
mailing software to produce a specific header line will change anyone's
opinion or remailers or anonymity on the net.  Well over a year ago, some
Fido-tech software authors came up with a similar idea for marking
encrypted mail (specifically they created the ^enc PID kluge line, which
is pretty much analogous to a type of mail header).  The result was that
no one's opinion of crypto in FidoNet appears to have changed, and the
debate rages on just as before.

> >Fido: <tba>           IndraNet: 369:111/1
>         Oh, a Fido member? What's your opinion on the recent squabble over 
> encryption/mail censorship there?

Well I'm temp. out of Fido, for a week or so, due to the move, but if you
mean the CP argument, I'm still sorting through it (again, due to moving,
I have a major backlog, like 600+ emails). If you mean the general idea of
le crypto en Phydeaux, well that's been raging for a year or 2 or 4. 
Quite a few of us decided 'heck with it', and started a secondary hub
backbone system called the SecureMail system, which WILL carry encrypted
mail.  Just search the nodelist for the UNSMH and URSMH flags (that's Net
SecureMail Hub, and Region SM Hub.)  The EFF-BBS that's coming soon will
likely been one such hub.

DISCLAIMER: This message represents only my OWN opinion, not that of EFF.
Stanton McCandlish    Electronic Frontier Foundation Online Activist
mech@eff.org          NitV-DataCenter BBS SysOp
Fido: <tba>           IndraNet: 369:111/1