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Anonymity: Index

Sometimes you want to send something without having your real name attached to it. For example, you are an official spokesperson for a company, and now you want to say something "off the record". Or maybe you want to discuss something that is going on in your company, without identifying yourself as the sender of the message. Perhaps you just don't want your boss to find out you are posting to during working time.

Simply changing or clearing the "Real Name" field in your newsreader setup won't help you much in those cases. It's still trivial to trace a message back to its originating site, and of course the system administrator there can easily look up the sender's real name.

A better solution is to use an anonymous remailer. These systems either give you an anonymous address, to which other people can send you mail, which is then forwarded to your real address (this is sometimes referred to as a pseudonymous server), or they post or mail your message without any trace of the sender's name or address.


[+] Anonymity: Pseudonymous servers: is probably the most famous anonymous server on the Internet. There are over 500,000 users in the database. It assigns each user a unique ID, which is used to allow others to send you e-mail anonymously. It also offers a mail-to-news posting service, so that you can also post Usenet messages anonymously. The level of security is rather low, since it does not use encryption and keeps a plain text database.
[+] Anonymity: Pseudonymous servers:
The pseudonymous server functions similar to, but it is more secure. It supports encryption, use of remailers and reply blocks. This makes it impossible to know who is using which account, even for the admin.
[+] Anonymity: Remailers: Cypherpunk remailers
Cypherpunk remailers (sometimes referred to as "Type I") simply take your message, strip off all headers and send it to the intended recipient. This means that no one will be able to reply in e-mail to your message, but it gives you an almost intraceable way of sending messages.
[=] AS-node pseudonymous remailer
To fill the gap left by the demise of and, a new type of pseudonymous remailer has been created. is the most popular of this type. A similar service is the German AS-node pseudonymous remailer. It is strongly recommended that you use premail (for UNIX) or Private Idaho (for Windows) when setting up an account at these remailers.
[=] Nym creation for mere mortals
This document explains in great detail how to set up an account at, complete with examples and sample syntax. Mac users can use these two NYM Applescripts to automate usage.
[+] Remailing over the World Wide Web
A very convenient way to remail messages is with a WWW form. It is not as secure as composing the message yourself off-line, since the information for the remailers is sent in the clear to the server.
[+] Anonymity: Remailers: Mixmaster remailers
Mixmaster remailers, also known as "Type II" remailers, were designed to be even more secure than cypherpunk remailers. Most of the attacks that work against Type I remailers are useless against Mixmaster remailers. It requires a special client to compose messages.
[=] Anonymity in the press (By Avi Baumstein)
Due to several cases of people abusing remailers, the concept of digital anonymity often gets bad press. This site contains several articles and documents about anonymity as it is presented in the press.
[=] The Anonymous Fallacy (By Phil)
When someone posts to Usenet anonymously, a typical reaction can be "I don't listen to what you write, because you didn't use your real name". Phil explains why this is not a valid way of dismissing someone's arguments. A postscriptum to this essay, with a less scholarly approach, is available as well.
There's also an anonymous(!) essay which counters Phil's explanation.
[=] List of mail-to-news gateways
A mail-to-news gateway allows you to post to newsgroups via email. This can be very convenient if you want to use a remailer, or simply can't post to a particular group because it isn't carried on your news server.

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Last modified: 20 Jun 1998
Author: Arnoud "Galactus" Engelfriet
This document was generated with Orb v1.3 for OS/2.