[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: The Earliest CP Remailer *DID* Emphasize Anonymity

At 12:27 AM 9/3/96, Bill Stewart wrote:
>At 11:05 AM 9/2/96 -0700, Tim wrote:
>>No, the focus was at _least_ as much on providing anonymity as on
>>protection from eavesdroppers or traffic analysts. More so, actually.
>>How do I know this? Well, I was the one who did the presentation on
>>Chaumian mixes at the first meeting, describing them as remailers and using
>>paper envelopes-within-envelopes to illustrate the concept.
>>Later that day, in the "Crypto Anarchy Game" we played to educate the
>Thanks for the history correction; I got involved with Cypherpunks about
>a year after the initial meeting/game, so I'm going on other people's
>comments about the intent of mixes and remailers.  Out of curiousity,
>did either spam or blackmail show up during the first run of the game?

A full range of interesting behaviors showed up. Usually this was
publicized via the "out-of-band" channel of someone yelling "Hey, I was
just told to deposit $100 credits to the account of "AnonymousBanker" or
else my digital pseudonym will be published."

A murder-for-hire business was started, several weapons-trading schemes
developed, etc. Information selling was a big market success.

(Not very surprising, given that Eric and I devised the playing cards,
roles to be played (banker, assassin, money launderer, freedom fighter,
whistleblower, etc.), and doled out crypto-currency (Monopoly money). The
idea was not to discover real-world lessons, of course, but to graphically
demonstrate some of the technology, some of the ways crypto-anonymity would
change interactions, etc.)

>>And all of the early uses were explicitly to anonymize the sender, not to
>>deter eavesdropping (which conventional crypto works well for, anyway).
>Keeping the sender's identity hidden from the recipient is a different
>problem than keeping either of them hidden from Untrusted Third Parties.
>Conventional crypto is fine for keeping message content secure from
>eavedroppers, but isn't enough to prevent traffic analysis;
>that requires either mixes or at least message pools or broadcasts.

Yes, but my point was more that we were more concerned about building a
solid foundation which would solve a larger class of problems than just
straight encryption would. Remailers do this.

Anonymity of sender was a dominant mode in the game, for various reasons.
But anonymity of receiver was also possible (we faked message pools by
pinning messages to a board and then letting them be taken down, but not
letting others spend time seeing which were taken down...obviously a
determined person could have seen which were removed, and by whom...).

Regarding traffic analysis, at least one person (George ?) set himself up
as an NSA traffic analyst and tried to deduce pseudonym/true name mappings.
(We gave some people roles as "NSA," "narc," and whatnot.)

I no longer recall all the details of how the game evolved, interesting
behaviors seen, etc. I think someone posted a summary of his reactions to
the game a few weeks afterward, circa September/October 1992. It should be
in any archives that cover this period.

--Tim May

We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Licensed Ontologist         | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."