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Current Trends

Anonymity, like privacy, is being defined as a right of the consumer. In the case of Rural/Metro v. Does, the company Rural/Metro Corporation issued a third-party subpoena to the online service provider Yahoo!. The subpoena required Yahoo! to reveal the identities of the defendants and portions of their online correspondence. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is defending the defendants to promote the cause of Internet anonymity. Yahoo! was sued in 2000 for obeying such a subpoena without the Yahoo! user's consent. The EFF is one of many organizations that has been promoting the cause of anonymity. First Amendment rights of being able to speak anonymously on issues that otherwise would not become public are the heart of the case. These types of subpoena requests have been steadily growing and could potentially seriously affect user anonymity if companies are forced to turn over log files.

A new movement in anonymity is Controlled Nymity IP, or NymIP for short. The NymIP effort is designed to use open, public processes to implement anonymity, and its goal is to create a set of standardized protocols for pseudonymity and anonymity at the IP layer by first conducting research into Internet anonymity. The founding organization is Zero Knowledge. This is a very small effort in attempting to increase Internet anonymity.


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