Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online
How do anonymous remailers work? Instead of sending your message directly to its destination, you send it to the remailer. The server will strip off your message's headers and signature, tack on a unique (but anonymous) identification code, and mail it to your intended recipient. Although the recipient will see the message is from an anonymous remailer, he can't know the sender's true identity. If the recipient replies, his message will go to the anonymous mail server, which will redirect the message to you while protecting the sender's identity.
There is an server at anon.penet.fi that can help you anonymously send e-mail and post to the Usenet. Other anonymous mail servers exist, and they all tend to come and go frequently. I have a list of others here, but many of these services are experimental, unstable, or won't exist any longer by the time this book hits your hot hands. However, the anon.penet.fi server has been operational and stable for several months.
Anon.penet.fi's anonymous Usenet posting service works in a similar way; sending mail to email@example.com will post your message to the Usenet group alt.sex sans your name and e-mail address. It will include your own anonymous alias, however, which people can use to reply to you.
For complete information on using the anonymous mail and Usenet posting service, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a document via electronic mail explaining the details. (Incidentally, you can also send mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you want your help in German or Italian.) Be prepared to wait as long as 24 hours to receive a reply. One of penet's failings, because it's one of the few stable anonymous remailers, is that it's heavily overloaded.
Matthew Ghio maintains a FAQ on the anonymous remailers, which lists over a dozen alternative anonymous services. He says that many of them are much faster than anon.penet.fi because they do not have such a heavy load. You can get the information by sending mail (any subject line/any message body) to
To: email@example.comTake care when posting anonymously. Your anonymity and privacy can never be guaranteed. Anonymous services have their pros and cons, but like them or not, they're here to stay.
Also, read the "Anonymity on the Internet" FAQ. This is a lengthy FAQ list--nearly 100 printed pages--rife with information, lore, and opinions about anonymous mailing services. The first thing covered in this FAQ is a current list of operational anonymous mail services. The document is available via anonymous FTP,
rtfm.mit.edu:/pub/usenet/news.answers/net-anonymity/*and on the Usenet newsgroups alt.privacy and news.answers.
Table of Contents | Previous Section | Next Section