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Re: Don't Kill the Messenger--A New Slant on Remailers
At 6:45 PM 10/20/95, Rev. Mark Grant wrote:
>On Thu, 19 Oct 1995, Timothy C. May wrote:
>> "You have a piece of mail awaiting at our mail delivery service. The
>> originator is unknown. The title of the message is "Tentacles of Medusa
>> Must Die!" You may retrieve this message by replying to this notification
>> with the word "Yes" anywhere in the Subject field. This message will be
>> kept for 60 days and then deleted."
>I suspect that I could easily hack this into Mixmaster in a day or two,
>but wouldn't it open you to attacks where Anonymous Fed, say, sends
>terrorist kiddy-porn through your remailer and busts your ISP during those
>60 days for possession ? I'm not sure if it would be better or worse than
>current setups from that point of view.
In the U.S. at least, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) says
that e-mail should not be looked at by third parties to a communication.
Yes, there are all sorts of wrinkles, such as whether an employer may look
at employee e-mail, blah blah. But I suspect the ECPA adequately protects a
mail deliverer against charges such as Mark describes.
("But under the ECPA I am not allowed to look at this e-mail, so how can I
held be liable for it?" Not even under Stratton-Oakmont is the deliverer or
holder of e-mail held liable for content or effects--the Prodigy case
involved the fact that Prodigy was moderating/censoring speech in public
forums, so, the judge averred, Prodigy could not claim it had no duty to
moderate or censor the speech of defamers. Roughly, as IANAL.)
>I might do it anyway, and set it up to only forward PGP-encrypted
>messages, but I certainly wouldn't be able to keep messages for 60 days
>with only a MB or so to spare.
Drives are cheap. I just saw a 1.2 GB for $195 (internal, PC). I suspect
that anyone sweating over having only a MB to spare shouldn't be running a
(Not a slam against Mark, just a statement that there are certain minimal
capabilities I'd expect to see, and not having free disk space is a serious
In any case, by the time "General Delivery Remailers" would be spreading,
disk space will be even cheaper. And a coupon- or stamp-based remailer
could of course then buy disk space as needed.
(If a 1000 MB drive costs $300 and is written off over 3 years, then the
storage cost is $0.10 per megabyte-year. For the average text message of
about 20 KB, the cost to store it a year is $0.002. The cost to store it
for 60 days is 6 times less. Even if disk drives cost more than I've
quoted, the cost is tiny, tiny, tiny. Connection costs are likely to
dominate. Large files may be a different matter--the math is easy to
do--but these are seldom the targets of remailers to unsuspecting parties.
In any case, easy to "expire" unretrieved larger files faster.)
Views here are not the views of my Internet Service Provider or Government.
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."