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Re: for-pay remailers and FV

Doug Barnes said:
> Sandy --
> I for one read your proposal and thought, "yep, that's how it
> should work" and considered the problem solved. Not being a
> remailer operator (yet) I didn't want to get involved until I
> was or I had a more concrete proposal (e.g., "I am now accepting
> $$ for E-stamps, of the form ...")

Same here, but from the other tack: "Remailer Guild??? Give me a
break :-)" My problem with the idea of "Guild" (or any quasi
general agreement) of remailer operators is that:

On the one side:
- The whole idea of a using a remailer chain comes from distrust of
the operators. The operators should be the ones to distrust each other
the most.

And on the other side:
- Most of the arguments I see in favor of some higher organisation
comes from difficulties for the users in using the current payment
systems without trace, and come from getting more weight in establishing
policies. Simply put, we'll get to untraceable cash (usable as stamps
on every envelope level), and we'll get to systematically encrypted
messages (policy only relevant at last stage remailers) soon enough.

A guild trying to distribute funds would need a system of accounting
that the operators themselves couldn't mess up. Good luck.

On the other hand, once you have:

- anonymous, untraceable e-money (small amounts are fine, no large bank
backing is fine, a simple anonymized Netcash would be fine. Remailers
won't be making big money from any single cheating entity anytime

- reputation systems, in the line of the current remailer pinging. They
could include price surveys too. I also see them handling more flow
control missions in particular for "everyone a remailer" remailers.

- mailing tools that juggle for you all the different types of remailers,
cash, and rep systems.

Then and only then, you get for-pay remailers. There is still a need
for political and legal support for last stage remailers but that's
pretty likely to be country specific, and that's certainly independant
from a payment system (which would be netwide).

Finally, I do not believe that introducing payment in the remailer
system would curb abuse in any significant way. Significant abuse is
that which causes significant problems for the operators: posting
secret religious technology, forging prime minister mail, harrassing a
member of any number of opposite persuasions, etc... Do you think for a
minute that a 5 cents postage is going to stop these messages now? And
how about when remailers do attain good reliability and untraceability,
for 3 cents?

Give up already: remailers are going to transport lots of material that
will be offensive to somebody, illegal somewhere, in bad taste here, or
at least that somebody (with guns) will want to trace. That's the whole
point of remailers. Remailers that want to limit the heat can, for now,
restrict to encrypted traffic, there is certainly no dishonor to that.

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