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

nospam-seesignature at nospam-seesignature at
Fri Aug 8 10:21:02 PDT 1997

On Fri, 8 Aug 1997, Adam Back wrote:

> > Remailers are just middlemen in a delivery process.
> I hope you're right.
> I still think laws against spam are the wrong approach, even if the
> courts declare remailers as delivery mechanisms only.
> 	"Write code, not Laws."
> (Btw who's quote is that?  I like it and wanted to quote it in an
> article on Eternity.)
> Re spam problems and writing code and not laws, hashcash was my best
> attempt:
> However coding is not the only problem, the other is getting people to
> use stuff.  Advertising, subscribing to appropriate newsgroups, going
> to IETF meetings, deployment wins, but stuff dies due to little
> investment in advocacy.  I haven't got the energy or resources to

I think you never answered the fundamental question:

But to what advantage is it for *ME* to use hashcash?

Saying that it is neat, patriotic, pious, or any other adjective won't get
my anonymous mail through any faster unless you can create a cartel of
remailers that expidite hashcashed mail, or use some type of new remailer
that others don't have and build hashcash into the distribution. 

You still have the problem that a large organization can buy large
computers just to do hashcash - look for networkable hashcash generators
if it becomes popular.

If it doesn't solve an immediate problem, it is similar to advocating
solar energy when it is more expensive and/or cumbersome than fossil
fuels.  If/when enough remailers are clogged, hashcash is likely to be
adopted, but it is difficult to sell something when others offer the same
thing for free.

> I wrote the eternity service implementation 3 months ago, released
> source code: no interest.  (Bar a few email messages saying "cool").
> No demonstration system was the problem.
> Mike Duvos provided a demonstration system last week when I reposted
> the announce due to his discussing similar ideas, and poof: 4 eternity
> servers, wired article, another request to write an article for some
> magazine, offers to give talks at US universities.  Wew.

Having interesting content draws interest, and proposing a method is far
from doing a prototype (questions like "are newsgroups stored long
enough?" and "will the cgi script work properly?" are only answered by
a working implementation, and a few of the eternity servers I tried
returned nothing from the links, but are probably fixed).

The legal problems still need to be resolved.  As long as no copyrighted
material appears I think things will be fine, but when MSwhatever appears,
someone is going to say the eternity server is like an illegal cable
descrambler or make up something very similar to ban them since they
aren't merely forwarding the content from alt.anonymous.messages - if
encryption is an envelope, the eternity server opens it.

Otherwise, you could simply post the plaintext to an alt group.  If that
doesn't happen now (why?), then adding an encryptor and decryptor isn't
going to change it, otherwise simply post the encrypted text, and the
passphrase in the same message, or the encrypted text, the secret key,
etc.  Except that the URL interface makes access more convienient.

--- reply to tzeruch - at - ceddec - dot - com ---

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list