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Using Compromised Remailers to Get the Goods

At 11:21 PM 9/4/96, jim bell wrote:

>Perhaps the most ominous part of making "use of encryption to thwart an
>investigation" illegal is _not_ that remailer operators might be prosecuted,
>but that they might NOT be prosecuted in a deal where (in exchange for not
>being prosecuted) they continue to operate the remailer, "cracked" or
>sabotaged so that they share all the info with the cops.  While even that
>won't make chained remailers totally useless, eventually suspicions of such
>a crack will surface, which will help sabotage the credibility of all
>not just the ones that have been "stung."

A very valid concern.

As Jim must be tired of hearing by now, this was brought up a couple of
years ago in discussions about the pressure that could be brought to bear
on remailers.

One suggestion was a duress signal, effectively saying "I have been
compromised." (Also known as a "wave off" in criminal circles.)

The issue of whether a remailer can be trusted to wave off others, via
covert channels, is of course another issue. One can hope that additional
channels will be acquired to produce the necessary information.

(For example, full sender untraceablility means that sources within police
departments can go home, log on with the own PCs, and sell information
about pending investigations, modulo their concerns about pointing to
themselves with information provided (see "canary traps"). What an exciting
world we are entering.)

--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,
Higher Power: 2^1,257,787-1 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."