Nym

"If we but separate the idea under consideration from the sign that stands for it, our knowledge goes equally on in the discovery of real truth and certainty." --John Locke


The Nym mailing list:

The purpose: This mailing list is devoted to discussing anonymity and pseudonymity: the history, the politics, the stories of people who use these technologies. And, of course, proposals to regulate anonymous speech and commerce. The primary, but not exclusive, focus is on anonymity and pseudonymity online. This includes the technologies of untraceability: digital cash, anonymous remailers, and public key encryption.

The rules: Only list subscribers can post. (If you want another address added to the posting list, let me know.) The list membership is not published. The list is unmoderated. Off-topic discussions are discouraged. If absolutely necessary, repeat and uncivil offenders will be given the boot; use common sense. This mailing list will be kept someone private -- that is, not advertised -- in hopes of keeping the quality of conversations high.

You Own Your Own Posts: You own your own words. This means that you are responsible for the words that you post to Nym and that reproduction of those words without your permission in any medium outside of the Nym mailing list may be challenged by you, the author. What this means: If you really want to forward posts, please (a) get the permission of the author and (b) delete the nym@vorlon.mit.edu address from the headers. This will satisfy YOYOW and help keep Nym somewhat private, which should improve the quality of discussions.

Declan McCullagh runs this list as a hobby. It is not affiliated with Time Inc. and his views are not necessarily those of Time Inc. Thanks to the American Association for the Advancement of Science for sponsoring a fascinating conference on anonymity in November 1997 that led to the creation of this list. Also thanks to Jered Floyd for hosting nym on vorlon.mit.edu. Finally, thanks to the cypherpunks for exploring and popularizing these concepts.


Subscribing to the list:

Nym is a closed list.


Articles on Anonymity:

  • Report on AAAS anonymity conference and principles discussed, by Declan McCullagh (11/97)
  • Interpol head talks about crypto, anonymous email, from The American Reporter (11/97)
  • Judge strikes down Georgia anonymity ban, by Declan McCullagh (6/97)
  • Roundup of anonymous communication technologies, by Noah Robischon and Greg Lindsay (6/97)
  • Teens prosecuted under Florida's "anonymous libel" law, by Declan McCullagh (5/97)
  • Canadian law bans anonymous political speech online, by Declan McCullagh (5/97)
  • German cop wants to outlaw online anonymity,from Reuters (5/97)
  • Secret list of CyberSitter blocked sites posted anonymously, from Wired News (4/97)
  • Cypherpunk arrested after describing anonymous assassinations , by Declan McCullagh (4/97)
  • German minister says criminals hide "in anonymity of the networks", from Reuters and Lutz Donnerhacke (4/97)
  • Georgia bans anonymous communications, by Declan McCullagh (1/97)
  • anon.penet.fi shut down; threats by Singapore government, by Declan McCullagh (9/96)
  • Anonymous whistleblowing online on Wall Street, from The Netly News (11/95)
  • Flamewars over Church of Scientology and remailers, by Declan McCullagh (10/95)
  • Josh Quittner interviews Julf Helsingius, from Wired (1993)
  • The basics of anonymous remailers, by Steven Levy, in Wired (1993)

  • Article Archive:

  • Time Magazine interviews Anonymous (later revealed to be Joe Klein) (2/96)
  • People Magazine reports on the unmasking of Joe Klein as Anonymous (7/96)
  • Time Magazine on anonymous sources, sexual harassment charges, and political campaigns (3/92)
  • Time Magazine reports on bestselling book in China by anonymous writer Bao Mi (Keep Secret) (3/92)
  • Time Magazine: When is it right for a journalist to reveal an anonymous source? (8/87)
  • An anonymous whistle-blower tells Money Magazine how banks abuse investors (7/94)

  • Government Documents:

  • European Comm ministerial conference mentions anonymous communications
  • Canadian police call anonymous remailers "Internet threat"
  • Federalist papers, published anonymously
  • Soros/OSI principles endorse right of anonymity
  • Clinton administration white paper mentions the "problem" of anonymity
  • German federal law saying that Internet providers should offer "anonymous use and payment" for accounts "to the extent technically feasible and reasonable."
  • European Commission white paper calling for a "code of conduct" for remailers. Notes that some restrictions ("precedents exist") may be placed on anonymity.
  • European Commission December 1997 directive encourages "development of telecommunications service options such as alternative payment facilities which allow anonymous or strictly private access" and says some businesses "have an interest in guaranteeing the anonymity of their callers." Allows countries to override "to safeguard national security, defence, public security."

  • Other:

  • Mailing list on general Net-regulation
  • Banning spam without restricting anonymous speech?
  • MIT student paper on anonymity online
  • Oracle contractors anonymous database
  • AAAS project on anonymity online
  • Yahoo listing of anonymous remailers
  • Georgia Tech University WWW poll finds online users strongly support anonymous net use and oppose commercial sale of personal information.
  • George Washington University's anonymous political remailer


  • U.S. Court decisions:

  • McIntyre Supreme Court case on anonymity
  • Talley v. California. 1960 Supreme Court decision upholding the right to anonymous speech.
  • ACLU archive on Georgia anonymity case, including decision
  • Lawsuit against Georgia anti-anonymity law

  • Publications: