Big Brother REALLY is out there (fwd)

Bill Stoddard bill at
Thu Aug 21 15:51:42 PDT 2003

Okay, so this begs the questiion, what is the website and what is it about?


Tom wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Net anonymity service back-doored
> By Thomas C Greene in Washington
> Posted: 21/08/2003 at 11:53 GMT
> The popular Java Anonymous Proxy (JAP), used to anonymise one's comings and
> goings across the Internet, has been back-doored by court order. The service
> is currently logging access attempts to a particular, and unnamed, Web site
> and reporting the IP addys of those who attempt to contact it to the German
> police.
> We know this because the JAP operators immediately warned users that their
> IP traffic might be going straight to Big Brother, right? Wrong. After
> taking the service down for a few days with the explanation that the
> interruption was "due to a hardware failure", the operators then required
> users to install an "upgraded version" (ie. a back-doored version) of the
> app to continue using the service.
> "As soon as our service works again, an obligatory update (version
> 00.02.001) [will be] needed by all users," the public was told. Not a word
> about Feds or back doors.
> Fortunately, a nosey troublemaker had a look at the 'upgrade' and noticed
> some unusual business in it, such as:
> "CAMsg::printMsg(LOG_INFO,"Loading Crime Detection Data....\n");"
> "CAMsg::printMsg(LOG_CRIT,"Crime detected - ID: %u - Content:
> \n%s\n",id,crimeBuff,payLen);"
> and posted it to alt.2600.
> Soon the JAP team replied to the thread, admitting that there is now a
> "crime detection function" in the system mandated by the courts. But they
> defended their decision:
> "What was the alternative? Shutting down the service? The security
> apparatchiks would have appreciated that - anonymity in the Internet and
> especially AN.ON are a thorn in their side anyway."
> Sorry, the Feds undoubtedly appreciated the JAP team's willingness to
> back-door the app while saying nothing about it a lot more than they would
> have appreciated seeing the service shut down with a warning that JAP can no
> longer fulfill its stated obligation to protect anonymity due to police
> interference.
> Admittedly, the JAP team makes some good points in its apology. For one,
> they say they're fighting the court order but that they must comply with it
> until a decision is reached on their appeal.
> Jap is a collaborative effort of Dresden University of Technology, Free
> University Berlin and the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection
> Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (ICPP). A press release from ICPP assures users
> that JAP is safe to use because access to only one Web site is currently
> being disclosed, and only under court-ordered monitoring.
> But that's not the point. Disclosure is the point. The JAP Web site still
> claims that anonymity is sacrosanct: "No one, not anyone from outside, not
> any of the other users, not even the provider of the intermediary service
> can determine which connection belongs to which user."
> This is obviously no longer true, if it ever was. And that's a serious
> problem, that element of doubt. Anonymity services can flourish only if
> users trust providers to be straight with them at all times. This in turn
> means that providers must be absolutely punctilious and obsessive about
> disclosing every exception to their assurances of anonymity. One doesn't
> build confidence by letting the Feds plug in to the network, legally or
> otherwise, and saying nothing about it.
> Justifying it after the fact, as the JAP team did, simply isn't good enough.
> Telling us that they only did it to help catch criminals isn't good enough
> either. Sure, no normal person is against catching criminals - the more the
> merrier, I say. But what's criminal is highly relative, always subject to
> popular perception and state doctrine. If we accept Germany's definition of
> criminal activity that trumps the natural right to anonymity and privacy,
> then we must accept North Korea's, China's and Saudi Arabia's. They have
> laws too, after all. The entire purpose of anonymity services is to sidestep
> state regulation of what's said and what's read on the basis of natural law.
> The JAP Web site has a motto: "Anonymity is not a crime." It's a fine one,
> even a profound one. But it's also a palpably political one. The JAP project
> inserted itself, uncalled, into the turbulent confluence between natural law
> and state regulation, and signaled its allegiance to the former. It's tragic
> to see it bowing to the latter.
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