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Re: my aps

T. William Wells has written us a polite and nice summary of his
position, and his points are very helpful to us in understanding the
issues of anonymity.

> There are several issues I want to address in this message. One
> is communication style, another is the nature of my anonymous
> service, and finally, what I think about the whole thing.
> On communication style: some people have this delusion that they
> can write to others and expect or even demand a reply. Well, it
> isn't so. If someone writes to me, I'm under no a priori
> obligation to read, to try to understand, or to spend effort
> replying. This is irrespective of the style *or* the content of
> their message.

He is right that insulting remarks will seldom produce good debate.

> The first thing you need to understand is that my anonymous
> service is integral to a specific community of people who have
> suffered through childhood abuse and adult sexual abuse. (In
> On the newsgroup, there are usually several individuals who are
> "that close" to committing suicide. Some will be shortly, or have
> been recently, in psychiatric wards. Most have been in, or are

I can readily see why Bill would like to have some limits (imposed by
_him_...a pure marketplace decision!) on anonymity. After all, some
sickos might literally post "Jump!" messages to those on the verge of
suicide. (I am not being facetious or sarcastic here...I mean this
quite seriously.)

Other services should be free, of course, to have different policies.
Those who want anonymity in anything they may say, including "Jump!,"
are free to patronize such services.

> I provide a service to people who, at least in specific areas,
> are not rational, who are definitely irrational. I know of, for
> example, one person who went into convulsions simply because they
> received e-mail from a person who, many years ago, had abused a
> child.

An excellent example of why and how specialized cyberspace services
(like remailers) will develop various strategies. In a sense, Bill is
acting as a filter, or a paternal figure (not meant pejoratively), for
his clients.

This is completely and fully consistent with Cypherpunks goals. (To
avoid flames about me presuming to speak for Cypherpunks, I mean "in
my opinion.")
> In line with that, my service differs from the standard anonymous
> services. One is that it *is* integrated into the community. I am
> a survivor myself, I offer personal assistance (in computer
> matters) to people in the group, I forward the newsgroup via
> automatically. Shortly, people will be able to specify by id who
> they do or do not get e-mail from.

This is exciting! Specialized "agents," the wave of the future.

> As to my thoughts on the relevant principles. As I mentioned, I
> am an Objectivist. That may clue you as to where I'm coming from.
> But in case not, the primary fact is that I'm offering a
> *private* service. I run it out of my home, using my phone lines,
> and paid for with my money. While I offer it to all on the

Many of us were strongly influenced by Rand (and even those who hate
Rand, including some of my closest friends and Cypherpunks colleagues,
understand the importance of freedom in market dealings).

> No one, other than myself, has any right to specify what I do
> with this, beyond the minimum of respecting their rights. Their
> rights do not extend to arbitrary protection of their
> confidentiality or privacy. Those who use my anonymous service
> have an implicit right to protection of their anonymity *and that
...rest of good points elided to save space....

> As things are, they work well. No change is *necessary* though
> some may be *desirable*. Careful thought and respectful dialog
> may convince me of desirable changes. Logicless rhetoric and
> verbal abuse, however, will, at best, cause me to ignore both the
> speaker and his message.

Bill, I agree with all your points. And if I was running one of these
abuse-related remailers (something about "ASAR," I recall), I suspect
I'd have the same policy you have.

Anonymity should not be forbidden by law, but it can (and sometimes
should be) filtered by agents of the subscribers. If they don't like
the way the filtering is done, they can try another service.

I hope you continue to contribute your ideas to our list.

-Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | 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: 2^756839 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
Note: I put time and money into writing this posting. I hope you enjoy it.