1996-02-22 - Re: “and two forms of ID”

Header Data

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: weidai@eskimo.com>
Message Hash: c295ea658f66b078eb50ed19db8c9c84a0601202e303e7efaac288c43fa206bd
Message ID: <v02120d01ad520bec063a@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-02-22 13:26:06 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 21:26:06 +0800

Raw message

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 21:26:06 +0800
To: weidai@eskimo.com>
Subject: Re: "and two forms of ID"
Message-ID: <v02120d01ad520bec063a@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>You got my position completely backward on this.

I feel much better now. :-). I really didn't want to cross swords with
someone who's S/N ratio is as high as yours is around here.

>You may be thinking of what I said about the
>cost of defeating traffic analysis.

That must have been it.

>The natural state of the Net seems to be a kind of semi-anonymity.

Ah. I believe this is what I'm talking about...

>Trying to push it in either direction (complete traceability or
>anonymity) is costly.

I'm going to build a rant about this pretty soon, but I think that in a
geodesic network, audit trails of any kind cost more money, particularly in
the "fringes" of the network, where all the processor growth is going to
happen, assymetries or not. As processors handle smaller and smaller stuff
faster and faster, it becomes harder and harder to "control" and monitor
all of them. To operate efficiently, they have to be more and more

One way to provide decision rules for autonomous processors is to introduce
micro-e$ auction markets into the net's infrastructure. A good example
might be packet routing. Suppose you attach some very skinny money to a
packet  (something issued with Micromint, maybe?), and strip it off as the
packet goes through the network, sender pays.  Routers price their
throughput based on their load at any given moment. When you create this
"economy of switches", it becomes harder to establish the hierarchical
book-entry control/coodination models we all know and love, certificate
hierarchies among them.

I think that something like this might work as a way of randomizing traffic
in a network of remailers, by the way. Let the market determine the
remailer path. Specify the number of hops left, and attach enough money for
that number of hops. This is one way for people to pay for the use of
remailers, and eventually, it could map to packet-level-anonymity someday.

For the moment, I'm going to claim that anonymous auction markets are
always more efficient than identified, command economies, just like flight
is faster than surface travel.

At least that's what I think this morning. :-). More as I get some time.

However, I do agree that it's foolish to simply declare that everything
must be unauditable, just as it is to declare universal auditability. It's
better to let the market figure this out. ;-).

Bob Hettinga

Robert Hettinga (rah@shipwright.com)
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
The e$ Home Page: http://thumper.vmeng.com/pub/rah/