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revoked transactions/guerrilla fee remailers



Paul J. Ste. Marie writes:
> MC/Visa require the reversibility of transactions as a condition of their 
> merchant agreements.  It's not something peculiar to FV.  In fact, under 
> certain conditions it is mandated by federal law.  Escort services have a 
> similar problem as far as non-returnability goes, but I don't know how they 
> finesse their way around it.

Two plausible tactics for escort services:

[0] Price inflation: treat a revoked transaction rather like shoplifting, by
    passing the costs on to the customers; escort services are not cheap

[1] Embarrassment: tip off family and employers of people who accept escorts,
    then decide not to pay for them; the perceived threat of publicity should
    keep plenty of folks in line

There's not much that can be done to someone who uses an escort service once,
revokes the transaction, and doesn't care who knows about it.

How might this apply to remailing services ? Right now, with a fairly small
customer base, I imagine price inflation would be impractical, but 
embarrassment might prove fairly effective. In the developed market we
envision, presumably operators could get away with price inflation, but
embarrassment would lose much of its potential sting. (I assume that once a
critical mass of populace uses remailers, an announcement that Josie Worsham
has used a remailer would elicit only yawns.)

Do others see the resulting applicability of additional regulations to
remailers as an issue in having them charge for service ?  Within the category
of fee-charging remailers, the distinction between non-profit and for-profit
operations may be worth considering. I suppose that the IRS and analogous
agencies would be inclined to ask questions about it, for starters. My threat
model for the remailer bramble includes, at a minimum, a host of typical
government agencies obligated to wrap everything in red tape. Look for anti-
trust investigations to be launched against a price-fixing cartel of remailers.

- - From what I've seen so far, accepting payment would seem to make anonymous
_operation_ of a remailer well nigh impossible. Anonymous operation with 
revenue would require a corresponding level of anonymity in the transfer of
money. Until such time as conversion of funds from a net-liquid form to a
conventional form becomes unnecessary (or just commonplace ?), financial
traffic analysis can't adequately be thwarted.
All this bodes ill, IMHO, for the prospect of guerrilla or quasi-guerrilla
remailers charging for service any time soon. There's just too much 
infrastructure to which they'd need to be tied at the moment.

 -L. Futplex McCarthy; PGP key by finger or server   "The objective is for us 
  to get those conversations whether they're by an alligator clip or ones and 
  zeroes. Wherever they are, whatever they are, I need them." -FBI Dir. Freeh

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