The Coming Police State
Timothy C. May
tcmay at netcom.com
Thu Mar 10 01:40:48 PST 1994
Grand Epopt Feotus writes:
> Mr. May's rant was very inspiring I must say. Got me thinking on
> a few ideas here. Myself bieng a rather unorganized person, I'll just
> present these ideas in a spontaneous order.
Thanks. As longtime readers of Cypherpunks will know, I used to write
more such articles. It's hard to keep saying the same things, though,
so many of the early members don't write as much as they used to. The
upcoming special meeting was enough of a motivation to inspire a
longer essay than usual these days.
> The idea of cheap, anarchist, free, toasternets, which are under
> the control of those supporting anonimity, encryptian services etc. is
> something that interests me a great bit. A system that can provide truly
> secure anon-remailers, because even the sysop deletes records and doesnt
> read them, is promising. I myself am trying to start such a system with
> some of my freinds throughout the net. Here are some ideas we are
> kicking around.
Anyone contemplating a "Mom and Pop remailer" should also think about
implementing the basic features of an "ideal mix," the remailer mix
scheme described by David Chaum in his 1981 "Communications of the
ACM" paper. It's been discussed here many times, particularly by Hal
Finney and myself, and others, in exchanges about the properties
remailers (mixes) should have. I recently wrote a long article on
"Remailers: The Next Generation," which you may want to reread.
Of course, truly good remailers open up the operators for interesting
liability issues, lacking the ability to log users and isolate
problem users or recipients. Just so you're ready for this.
> My personal opinion is to operate such a crypto-net with a
> double-blind, so that we running it cannot know the true addres of the
> users, only enuff to bill them if so desired. This way no records could
Not as secure as a real mix needs to be. If you can bill them, you can
trace them. Unless a form of digital postage is used, so that no
billing is needed (and hence no logging, tracing).
> protect both the usrs, and suppliers. If billing is needed, then someone
> would need to help set up a accounting system that relies simply on
> anon-numbers, and such.
Well, there's the rub, isn't it?
> Also, perhaps providing very secure, well-encrypted, and veryvery
> private space on a system would be helpful. maybe charging for a ten meg
> box that is fully encrypted with the users key, that only he can acces.
The obvious question: why would Joe User want storage space on someone
else's system when he could encrypt on his own system? Unless you plan
to locate the storage space outside the U.S. legal jurisdiction, which
is where things get interesting of course. (I know some folks who've
been talking about doing this for years now.)
> Not even the system operators could read the contents. Once agin this
> protects both parties. And if somehow the telephony bill goes thru, lets
> pray it doesnt, than tap-proof storage would be a hot commodity for many
> people, but it would raise some serious legal questions for the suppliers.
Which is the rationale for multi-jurisdictional sites, to preclude
legal actions from succeeding. Then it's between the user and the
authorities alone as to what he's doing making a connection and
sending encrypted stuff (or not encrypted, if code books and/or zero
knowledge approaches are used).
> Now after a few of these nets are established, we could provide
> various other services. I think perhaps encrypted telnets between them,
> or automated chaining of remailers, etc.. Perhaps a large group of such
Yes, this is the whole idea, the whole motivation for the existing web
or Cyperpunks remailers. Strenght in numbers, really _big_ numbers.
> My personal philosophy that guides my actions is that as a
> service provider I do not need to know the name etc.. of the user, as
> long as I can bill him if needed. There is no need for me to know wht he
> is doing, o where he is telnetting to etc. With this in mind, I hope to
> be able to set-up a crypto-net, or as us romantic Sci-Fi fans call them,
> Data-haven 8)
I wish you well. Some fortunes will someday be made by people who
actually do provide such services. Many have talked about it, some are
playing around with remailers (no insult intended--play is good), but
no "commercial services" have yet appeared.
Data havens, a la Sterling, or even a la BlackNet, are indeed one such
market. Probably not the first, though.
Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay at netcom.com | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409 | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."
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