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The Free Speech Implications of Remailers

I've seen a bunch of messages in this group, and on Usenet, about what can
be done to track down and punish (or otherwise stop) the posters of racist,
fascist, inflammatory posts. This in light of several recent widespread
postings of racist screeds. People are doing traceroute analyses, asking
what can be done, proposing to sue those who send them unwanted spewage,

Well, guess what? The very technologies we have been so central in
deploying are the technologies that make _conventional_ means of
controlling distasteful material so hard.

Think about it. Remailers mean the people whose speech we abhor will be
untraceable. (I of course mean Chaum-style mixes, and ecologies of mixes,
not the "almost mixes" we have now, where a motivated operator can screen
posts, stop spams, etc.)

All is not lost, in the long run, as "digital postage" schemes may develop.
This will reduce Net-wide spamming, though not have an effect on a lot of
"distasteful" speech. In that regard, reputation filters will help. A
person could insist that he will only read messages from persons or nyms he

(Sure, it doesn't stop the problem of the _mail volume_ itself, but first
things first. The current delivery paradigm is unlike the paid-transport
system of the various mail delivery systems.)

Crypto anarchy means the racists, sexists, speciesists, and other "ists"
cannot be muzzled. I call this a good thing. It's why I'm here.

--Tim May

Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."