Anonymous Remailer - Traceable Remailers

Traceable Remailers

Some remailers establish an internal list of actual senders and invented names such that a recipient can send mail to invented name AT some-remailer.example. When receiving traffic addressed to this user, the server software consults that list, and forwards the mail to the original sender, thus permitting anonymous—though traceable with access to the list—two way communication. The famous "" remailer in Finland did just that for several years. Because of the existence of such lists in this type of remailing server, it is possible to break the anonymity by gaining access to the list(s), by breaking into the computer, asking a court (or merely the police in some places) to order that the anonymity be broken, and/or bribing an attendant. This happened to as a result of some traffic passed through it about Scientology. The Church claimed copyright infringement and sued's operator. A court ordered the list be made available. Penet's operator shut it down after destroying its records (including the list) to retain identity confidentiality for its users; though not before being forced to supply the court with the real e-mail addresses of two of its users.

More recent remailer designs use cryptography in an attempt to provide more or less the same service, but without so much risk of loss of user confidentiality. These are generally termed nym servers or pseudonymous remailers. The degree to which they remain vulnerable to forced disclosure (by courts or police) is and will remain unclear, since new statutes/regulations and new cryptanalytic developments proceed apace. Multiple anonymous forwarding among cooperating remailers in different jurisdictions may retain, but cannot guarantee, anonymity against a determined attempt by one or more governments, or civil litigators.

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