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Re: Question for Job and others / was: Re: Tor and Thunderbird: Outgoing Email Unsafe?

On Thu, 2007-01-04 at 07:18, Nils Vogels wrote:
> On 1/3/07, GeorgeDS <georgeds@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > I'm having some trouble visualizing (maybe I lack
> > imagination) why it should be so important to hide yourself from someone
> > receiving your email. . .
> Think about cases such as whistleblowing about for instance corporate
> activities that are illegal or suspected illegal, without it having
> reprecussions in your professional career, or personal situation.


> Think possible AA-meetings over the internet, or discussing hobbies
> that are frowned upon by activist groups in society, such as rituals
> involving animals or crossdressing, just to name a few.

AA meetings are not truly anonymous. People usually give real first
names. Anyone could be followed home. In local groups, some participants
are likely to know some others outside of AA. Participants support each
other outside the group, and in the process learn real phone numbers and
home addresses. Likewise cross dressers in the real world, don't make
their interests public, but are likely to know who they associate with
while engaging in their fetish activities. If the concern is public
exposure, then one should be most concerned about ISPs and other
organizations that collect personal information (Gmail) having this
information, rather than the recipient of an email who apparently shares
similar interests. This was the reverse of the original posters
concerns, which is what prompted my question.

> > It's unlikely to be relevant in this situation (Job does not appear to
> > be a US resident), but US residents who use Tor to harass or annoy email
> > recipients anonymously are committing a federal crime. In early January
> > 2006, Bush signed the Violence Against Women Act, which provided among
> > other things "Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used
> > to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that
> > are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without
> > disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or
> > harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined
> > under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
> This reads to me that you are implying that if you are not annoying,
> abusing or threatening, you have no need to hide your identity.

I was not implying anything. I was merely mentioning a law that I
thought my be relevant in similar circumstances in the U.S. I was
providing information. If you intend to annoy someone in the U.S. via
email or send an email that may be construed as annoying, it may be
safer to do so without hiding your identity. I think the law is
improper, unnecessary, and foolish. It should not be illegal to annoy,
as something as simple as calling someone a fool or ignorant, is likely
to annoy. There are already adequate laws that cover real threats and
harassment without regard to anonymity. Your reaction is similar to
confusing someone who points out a security vulnerability with someone
who is attempting to exploit it. 

Like almost everyone else who responded to my message, you ignored the
half of my message where I gave reasons for using Tor. My curiosity was
not regarding reasons for wanting anonymity, which I understand quite
well, but lack of concern over ISPs and free email providers tracking or
profiling you when you are not using Tor.

George Shaffer
Get my GnuPG public key from http://geodsoft.com/about/ or
use gpg --keyserver subkeys.pgp.net --recv-key A1A23194

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