more ideas on anonymity

Bob Stratton strat at
Sat Feb 27 12:40:04 PST 1993

>>>>> Eric Hughes <hughes at> writes:

	Eric> There has been a huge conflagration on the pem-dev list
	Eric> lately concerning naming issues, X.500, etc.  I am
	Eric> somewhat disturbed by what I see as a fundamental
	Eric> mentality of PEM: the desire to lift intact all existing
	Eric> political, economic, and social relationships into the
	Eric> electronic domain.

That doesn't surprise me in the least. There's a paradigm shift going
on in the networking community, but it's difficult to tell which way
it's going to land. The US, in have a very open, almost anarchic
protocol development process based highly in meritocracy, built
the core of the Internet while everyone else in the world was working
to start passing 128-byte X.25 packets, and trying to decide how much
to charge per packet.  

The unfortunate reality is that the same people overseas have found
the "golden goose", and are trying to figure out how to domesticate
it. The U.S. Government and the industry marketeers aren't helping,
either. I see a growing bureaucratization of the standards process
which may well not advance development much.

	Eric> ...Identities in the electronic world are expected to
	Eric> map to entities in the real world.

I think a lot of this is a combination of the "One lifetime phone
number would be great" phenomenon, and a lack of imagination regarding
pseudonymity. I think that we should start writing RFCs for any and
all applicable technologies and throwing them into the arena. At best,
we might get stellar contributions, at worst, we might slow down the
juggernaut that is the ISO.

	Eric> I agree with Tim that we have made good progress.  But
	Eric> we need more than simple remailers.  We need people to
	Eric> use remailers, and we need to make that easy to do.  We
	Eric> need key distribution mechanisms.  We need better
	Eric> meeting spaces than mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups
	Eric> and private mail.  We need markets and contracts.

I think that remailer authors should seriously consider spec'ing out
their technology and publishing RFC's as soon as possible. The
development of on-line markets seems to be one of the best-kept
secrets on the Net. I only know of a handful (if that) of companies
actively working on such things, but they're not known outside of
their own backyards.

Laissez faire,

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