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Tim's message brings up a point I've been wanting to mention.
The prototype remailer software keeps log files of all messages
passed through it. There are different reasons why people running
the software might wish to have these logs. One purpose is for
debugging; the remailers don't produce much in the way of error
messages and the log files can be useful for tracking down errors.
A few weeks ago, for example, one user was having difficulty sending
messages through my remailer, and he posted here about it. I was
able to confirm that his messages had come in and been sent out.
However, another possible reason is for the case of abusive messages.
I had one message go through that appeared to be directed towards
the sender's boss, and was rather unfriendly in tone. The remailers
give the outgoing messages the superficial appearance of having
come from me. This message wasn't that bad, but there's nothing
to stop someone from sending a really vicious, racially or sexually
harrassing message, and I am very concerned that I could get in
trouble for that.
What I've generally done is to delete the log files every few
days, usually after a quick perusal to see if there are any
messages which the recipient might object to. Sometimes if I see
a message which is of an illegal format so that it didn't get sent,
(like forgetting the ":" in "Request-Remailing-To:") I'll send a
message to the sender telling him what he did wrong.
I feel that people who run remailers should set their own policies
as far as the confidentiality of the messages they forward. Running
a remailer can be somewhat risky in the current climate and the
operators can legitimately seek whatever level of protection they
are comfortable with. However, I think it would be good if the users
of the remailers could get some information about what the privacy
policies are. Maybe some remailers will simply not keep logs; maybe
others will keep logs but not look at them unless a specific circumstance
arises, and so on. Eric Hollander has been creating a list of remailers;
perhaps he could solicit this kind of information from the operators
and publish it along with the remailer addresses and keys.
CYPHERPUNKS >INTERNET:[email protected]