death of Usenet

Bill Stewart stewarts at
Fri Aug 22 00:20:03 PDT 1997

>> If I understand the implemented Eternity service correctly, it
>> fundamentally relies on Usenet as the propagation method. What happens
>> if Usenet dies? How will I continue to refresh my Eternity document?

Was it Yogi Berra who said "Nobody goes there any more; it's too crowded."?
While Usenet is becoming a vaster wasteland by the month,
for the purposes of an Eternity service, or alt.anonymous.messages,
that's fine, because there's more noise to hide your signal in,
and it doesn't really matter if it's 98% spam as long as your
potential user base can get the service without attracting much attention.

The more interesting problem with Usenet is that it no longer
operates in the old flood-routing fashion, where everybody had
all the news they could handle on their machines and could
quietly grub the articles they wanted out of /usr/spool/news,
and a 300...1200...9600 baud modem could receive it all.
Instead, news tends to be exchanged between servers that can
handle the flood of 1+ GB/day, and news clients download the 
articles they want from the servers, which makes it much easier to
monitor who's actually reading what, though you could still get
a feed of alt.anonymous.messages or
without the Traffic Analysts knowing which messages were for you.

Some counters to this may be to use services like DejaNews to read
the news through web anonymizers (if you trust them), or to
build news retrieval features into remailers (if you trust them,
and preferably with a pay-per-retrieval system so the remailer
doesn't just get resource-abused or entrapped as a porn retriever)
or to use SSH to log in to your shell accounts on your cash-paid ISP.

#			Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, +1-415-442-2215 stewarts at
# You can get PGP outside the US at
#   (If this is a mailing list or news, please Cc: me on replies.  Thanks.)

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