The desirability of totally anonymity ?

3 comments
Source Title:
The cost of online anonymity
Story Text:

The BBC Click-online section is running a story on the pros and cons of anonymity on the web. Currently Anonymizer has two million active users. But here is some censorship. Anonymizer does not support anonymous uploading to the web, and it blocks access to material that would be illegal under US law. Now Freenet allows anonymous uploading of any material, encrypts all files and farms them out around the web to hide their source.

But the price you pay is that it can be used by people like paedophiles to cover their tracks, and pages can take 10 minutes or more to download, even on a 2Mbbps broadband connection.

"We believe that the benefits of Freenet, for example for dissidents in countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran far outweigh the dangers of paedophilia or terrorist information being distributed over the system," he says.

Commercial programs for the web help you maintain a high degree of anonymity while surfing or mailing, but the realm of publishing anonymously, without fear of any comeback, challenges each society to ask just how free we want ourselves and others to be.

I doubt that they can put the genie back in the bottle, and that whatever harm can be done, will no doubt be done.

Comments

If the service becomes an issue for the law...

If the service becomes an issue for the law, the law enforcement community will find a way to contain it. There is no real anonymity on the Internet. Someone can always be held accountable.

a matter of cost

But enough people using enough tools can make it a difficult and cost prohibitive exercise. Just like petitions used to be done on loops of paper to discourage picking a specific person as being the *first* to sign a petition.

If they want to contain it, at least make it the equivalent of containing greased pigs.

Here's a thought:

communicating "how are you" to homebase:

say example.com maintains its own dns servers,

then the communicator queries:

how.example.com
are.example.com
you.example.com

message done.

now, if "how are you" is a pre arranged signal for the key of the day,

then resolving cname responses or ip responses can be used to generate the key of the day for further communications to an everchanging endpoint

discussion is good

but I think this BBC discussion is really just popular press. There is no "anonymizing tool" (singular), because your Internet is a complex system of interconnected parts. Sure you can anonymize some parts, but unless you can do it all you are statistically trackable.

The BBC's questions are really about encryption and not anonymity (like the analogy to an arms manufacturer not caring what the guns are used for). Anonymity is quite a different argument - someone did something, and they can't tell WHO.

A tor network used through a multi-level proxy system is as good as it gets, but it can still be backtracked through the ISP data in many cases.

If your attacker can watch the traffic coming out of your computer, and also the traffic arriving at your chosen destination, he can use statistical analysis to discover that they are part of the same circuit.

It is widely believed that certain governments watch certain interesting websites (the "destinations") while enjoying access to ISP data ("your computer") so they can bust even the best attempts to randomize.

An routing system is also only as trustworthy as its central authority (the cooperating routing servers can rat you out).

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