I killed Jonathan Meyer (ed. note: the link won’t work if you don’t run Freenet) of #115 1142 Mesa Alta Ave, Dallas Texas. His driver’s license says that he’s 5’8″, 164 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes with a restriction for corrective lenses. He has a AAA card, 3 credit cards, a Blockbuster membership, and I’d relay his SSN but I respect his privacy, even post mortum. The report in the Dallas Observer said that the victum was stabbed 15 times. He was actually stabbed 17 times: 4 times in the stomach, 2 times in the neck, 5 times in the back below the rib cage, 2 times in the back in the rib cage, 1 time in the left leg, and 3 times in the pelvic region.
So begins a brand new webpage just recently added to Freenet. Before you become too terribly alarmed, if you open up the HTML for the page and look at it you’ll notice that the comments explain that it is not true but that it is there to make a point.
The point in this case is not that people will likely go absolutely nuts anytime something like this happens (esp. if it involves the murder of a child) but that the we really have no way of knowing whether or not any system in our lives is really anonymous anymore. Can I go somewhere and say things that are actually illegal in some places (speech in my country is generally free but there are definite limits even here) without feeling like I have to look over my shoulder. While this page, which is just there to make a point, won’t find that out a page which threatens the president would. After all, the Secret Service is required to investigate any threats to the president and they have often done so even when the threats were clearly made in jest. Explicit threats of harm would have to be taken seriously and investigated. If no one was arrested I guess you’d know you finally had real anonymity somewhere and for some reason, the thought that I really could say anything I liked somewhere, even if I never intended to use the ability, is comforting.
So I guess the question is, does anybody feel brave enough to risk imprisonment to find out how much anonymity we can really have?
Click through to the extended entry to read the full text that was hidden in the HTML by the page’s author.
A lot of people think that the biggest reason the government might want to compromize an anonymity network is to thwart conspiracy. Most conspiracy is just people talking shit so I don’t think that’s the case. What -I- think would be the biggest reason would be someone who’s committed a serious crime making their presence known. People aren’t as afraid of what could happen as they are what already happened. The above is completely contrived, but imagine if it wasn’t. Imagine if such a crime really did happen and this really was a verifiable confession of the crime. The family, relatives, and friends of the victim would be hot to have everyone’s anonymity compromised.
/That/ would be the ultimate test of both the technology, legality, and philosophy of freenet and IIP. I don’t think the authors of the respective pieces of software would allow content to be tracked so development would halt. There would probably be a cease and desist against the machines that distribute seed nodes or in the case of IIP, the server that runs chat. These could be set up on metropipe so such wouldn’t be possible but that’s expensive and ISP’s could most likely be order to block metropipe’s IP range. That’s easily overcome by alternative channels of distributing node refs… IRC bots, IM, web. In the case of IIP, it would have to be decentralized, then it can use the same channels for node ref distribution.
Sooner or later some sort of event is going to happen to really through anonymous networks into the lime light for some reason other than file trading. What that’ll be is anyone’s guess. That’s the kind of shit that needs serious discussion on the dev list. Not how well freenet will perform with nio, but how freenet will resists attempts to shut it down by serious powers. *shrug*