Anonymous remailer

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From Wikipedia

"An anonymous remailer is a server computer which receives messages with embedded instructions on where to send them next, and which forwards them without revealing where they originally came from. There are Cypherpunk anonymous remailers, Mixmaster anonymous remailers, and nym servers, among others which differ in how they work, in the policies they adopt, and in the type of attack on anonymity of email they can (are intended to) resist.."

Remailers can be used for varying degrees of anonymity in sending emails. Also through use of anonymous remailers you can achieve Anonymous Usenet Posting with some degree of security, including limited posting of binaries.

Anonymous remailing has a long history in the fight for internet privacy and anonymity. The anon.penet.fi server was widely used and is fondly remembered by many, although it was forced to reveal information about a user who posted copyrighted documents from the Church of Scientology to a newsgroup in 1995. Consequently the remailing service drew more attention from the media and the local government, which lead to its operator shutting down the server due to legal concerns and privacy issues.

"I will close the remailer for the time being because the legal issues concerning the Internet in Finland are yet undefined. The legal protection of the users needs to be clarified. At the moment the privacy of Internet messages is judicially unclear... I have also personally been a target because of the remailer. Unjustified accusations affect both my job and my private life.."

The closing of the popular server caused the EFF, who had been reporting on the various issues regarding anon.penet.fi, to take up donations for a legal defense fund in case of any possible legal action against the site. The internet freedom community widely supported the mission of anon.penet.fi and this was an early case in the struggle for individuals to maintain their anonymity online.

Johan Helsingius, the operator of anon.penet.fi won the EFF Pioneer Award in 1997 for his efforts. - "his anonymous remailer, anon.penet.fi, allowed people who might otherwise be intimidated or even endangered to speak out and to express their views. From battered women to political refugees, Helsingius' system provided all users the ability to communicate freely and safely in cyberspace."

Also anonymous remailers that use layers of encryption at various points are seen as somewhat of a precursor to onion routing and programs like Tor.

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