anonymous remailer


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anonymous remailer

An organization that forwards email anonymously stripping out the sender's name and email address. Remailers are used by people that wish to express an opinion to newsgroups or to individuals without fear of excessive responses or retaliation. It is the same as dropping a letter in the post office without a return address. See Anonymizer.
References in periodicals archive ?
Runs an anonymous remailer and PGP key server." At the other end of the scale, in almost last place, was Tulane, which "regards logging onto the network as a student's consent to look at any file, including e-mail." The top five universities in the Wired survey were MIT, Cornell, Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon.
The only way to send e-mail with absolute anonymity, however, is to use an anonymous remailer that removes the original return address and inserts nothing in its place.
This safeguard is to a certain degree eliminated by the use of certain mail servers known as "anonymous remailers," mail servers designed to conceal the sender's identity by replacing the message's return address with an address pointing to the remailer.
Since the remailer system is premised on the sysop's implicit promise not to divulge that information, faith in the security of anonymous remailers has been shaken since the sysop of the most popular remailer, Finland-based anon.penet.fi, was compelled by Finnish authorities to disclose the identities of three user's names.(22) A user may obtain more secure anonymity by "chain-remailing," a method by which users send their e-mail message to one remailer, which in turn sends it to another remailer, and so on.
* Use an anonymous remailer if you want to send a message without revealing your identity.
Many, on the other hand, arrived in the Usenet feed beating addresses like "an 144108@anon.penet.fi," identifying them as having been transmitted through a well-known Finnish "anonymous remailer." Anonymous remailers like anon.penet.fi operate very simply: If Alice wants to send an anonymous message to Bob (or to alt.religion.scientology), she prepares the message and sends it not to the intended recipient but to the anon.penet.fi address (along with forwarding instructions); the remailer simply strips off all of the information from this message related to Alice (and the machines that Alice used to transmit the message), and it then forwards the message - now containing a "return address" indicating only the remailer from which it came - as instructed.
In a move that sent shock waves across the Net, many of whose denizens believed that anonymous remailer technology was somehow foolproof, CoS representatives in early 1995 marched in to the offices of the Finnish police and managed to obtain a warrant authorizing the police to search the anon.penet.fi mail logs for the identification information pertaining to an 144108.
The need for pseudonymous messages originated in some of the more volatile discussion groups in which contributors did not wish to be identified, such as "alt.sex.bondage."(80) The apparent need for anonymity motivated Kleinpaste to design an anonymous remailer system in six hours and to offer it to the "rec.nude" group, which declined his offer to serve their entire user membership.(81) Undaunted, Kleinpaste deployed what he called a "fire extinguisher" to quiet abusive users against whom complaints were filed and used it three times before he was so "overwhelmed" by abusers that he decided to shut down his system.(82) The server was not reestablished until April 1993, and then with a formidable list of forbidden uses.(83)
They keep records of the real identity of pseudonymous traffic so that abusers can be identified and reprimanded.(11) Recent years, however, have witnessed the development of a trend towards the establishment of "anonymous remailers" who provide a guarantee that messages cannot be traced back to their sources; diverting traffic through several of these remailers can effectively render an audit trail impossible, once again raising the specter of true anonymity.(12)
Anonymous remailers allow individuals to send electronic mail without transmitting any information that would enable others to determine the identity of the author.
Finally, the infrequent use of anonymous remailers by cyberstalkers should not pull attention from the negative effect that these tools can have on the law enforcement process.
Numerous current efforts are aimed at enabling Internet consumers to carry out anonymous activities, such efforts include CyberCash (www.cybercash.com), which enables anonymous cash usage in Internet commerce; various anonymous remailers that enable anonymous email communications; Anonymiser.com, which permits consumers to browse the Web anonymously; and intelligent Web agents such as Jango (www.marimba.com).