anti-spam law implies laws against remailers? (was Re: bulk postage fine)

Adam Back aba at
Wed Aug 6 11:33:34 PDT 1997

Kent Crispin <kent at> writes:
> On Sun, Aug 03, 1997 at 12:29:37PM +0100, Adam Back wrote:
> > Here's the sequence of events as I see it:
> > 
> >  1. spammer spams you with adverisement for phone sex line
> >  2. you try to sue phone sex line company
> >  3. phone sex company denies all knowledge
> >  4. government says all email must be authenticated 
> >  5. government issues internet drivers license
> >  6. anonymous remailers work around authentication requirement
> >  7. government outlaws remailers
> > 
> > See any flaws in that logical and undesirable sequence of events?
> The flaws become apparent if you try to attach a *realistic*
> probability to each step.

Difficult to do.

However, consider:

1) Government anti-spam laws won't work (too many loop holes, #1 of
   which is there are other countries in the world other than US, #2 is
   remailers will be used which will leave remailer operator rather than
   spammer to face the music).

2) When the government or whoever wants to sue someone for spam they
   will have to prove who the spammer is.  (Right?)  So now they'll
   look at the From address at it will say remailer at  So
   they'll go have a chat to Fred Q Cypherpunk who operates foo, and he
   won't be able to cooperate because he doesn't keep logs.  They won't
   be happy with Fred, and will pass this information along to him by
   stealing his equipment, prosecuting him for assisting in a felony
   crime (they'll make it a felony right?), lock him and throw away
   the key.  But what about Freds constitutional protection of the
   speech forwarded by his remailer?  (Judge + congress-critter:
   Constitution wassat?)

3) Repeat step 2 x 100 and "something will have to be done" about the
   remailers (if there are any left!)  It really isn't that far
   fetched to have laws against remailers in the US.  Not so long ago
   the guy from the two-man band Georgia EFF were telling us about how
   they fought some law which had already tried to do this in that

4) New laws nearly always reduce your freedoms - in phrasing the law,
   and compromising their way around whatever "issues" they try to
   construct, they'll try to hide something else in there which we don't
   want.  (eg no encrypted email, or no import of crypto, or something
   stupidly unrelated -- happens all the time).

5) It's the net man, what do you want government officials crawling all
   over it, and lawyers arguing about it's content for?  It sets a bad

ps Kent, did you convert your rsa.midi to a .au file?  I haven't got
my /dev/midi configured properly under linux, but can play .au files,
and am dying to hear it :-)

Have *you* exported RSA today? -->

print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack"H*",<>

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