more ideas on anonymity

Eric Hughes hughes at
Sun Feb 28 12:11:20 PST 1993

>With certain exceptions, like the mailbox example, most situations of
>"rent foo" require the lessor to take a risk, and he wants *some*
>assurance that he'll get his rented thing back.  I'm not going to rent
>a car to someone without ID, for cash, because I have no guarantee
>that he isn't going to drive away with it and never come back.

Privacy costs.  It is possible to create a company which offers
insurance against damage and loss, paid for by the user, assigned to
the owner.  Such a policy could be presented to a car rental agency in
lieu of your name.  Your transaction with the rental agency would then
be anonymous, even if your transaction with the insurer were not.

Such an arrangement might even be preferable to a rental agency, since
it means they don't have to go after individuals with shallow pockets
in the event of damage or loss.

I can even imagine such a company which offers standard policies for
any number of different objects, written and digitally signed over the
phone.  Want to rent and apartment?  Get your damage and last month's
rent insured.  

There is already such a thing as "completion insurance" for
construction and the like, purchased by the builder as a condition of
contract.  If the transaction costs of this and similar types of
insurance were lowered, anonymity in the real world would increase.


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