1997-09-30 - Re: Remailers and ecash (fwd)

Header Data

From: Jim Choate <ravage@ssz.com>
To: cypherpunks@ssz.com (Cypherpunks Distributed Remailer)
Message Hash: b68113b37dd9537985063b79e9c13de2a3f7ce5f9ab072352ecbf00fd563a921
Message ID: <199709300125.UAA14206@einstein.ssz.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-09-30 01:36:33 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 09:36:33 +0800

Raw message

From: Jim Choate <ravage@ssz.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 09:36:33 +0800
To: cypherpunks@ssz.com (Cypherpunks Distributed Remailer)
Subject: Re: Remailers and ecash (fwd)
Message-ID: <199709300125.UAA14206@einstein.ssz.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text

Forwarded message:

> Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 17:37:58 -0400
> From: ghio@temp0120.myriad.ml.org (Matthew Ghio)
> Subject: Re: Remailers and ecash

>        Anonymity is one thing which you cannot have
>        without also giving it to others.

This isn't strictly true. I can send an email from an anon account to my
friend Bob. At this point I know who I am, I know who Bob is, Bob knows who
Bob is, *but* Bob doesn't know who I am. Clearly I obtained anonymity
without anyone else gaining it. The only time that complete anonymity is
obtained is if both sender and recipient are using anon accounts.

> In order for a remailer operator to afford himself the benefits of
> anonymous communication by establishing and using a remailer, he must
> allow others to use the remailer also.  This is why it is economical
> (for some people) to operate free remailers.

Well a single user is going to make traffic analysis a bit simplistic.
Though this reducion to absurdity does serve to make a clear point about
anonymity and traffic level. Clearly large traffic flows are required to
maintane the anonymity for any usable length of time.

> It has been suggested that it would be possible to increase the number
> of remailers by providing financial incentives to the remailer operators
> in the form of a small fee per message relayed.  While that tactic might
> achieve its stated purpose, it would simeultaneously reduce the number
> of remailer users to those who were willing to pay the fee.

Only if the fee was something they would notice, milli-cent fees are not
something most people will notice. I think you are unwittingly getting near
the mark however. In short your comment about incentives to the operators,
include in there the users and you have a winning combination. The question
should be expanded thusly:

What would motivate an average consumer to use an anonymous remailer?

Clearly simple anonymity or writing nasty letters to Grandma anonymously are
not going to motivate most folks irrespective of cost - they simply have no
interest in such activities. So, the question becomes:

What besides raising hell anonymously, laundering money, and defeating
merchant purchase traffic analysis are commercial anonymous remailers good