Privacy and anonymity in e-mail

Friday, 13 June 2003, 4:04 PM EST

As convenient as email is, it leaves much to be desired in terms of protecting the privacy of messages. There are two aspects to the limitation. On the one hand, email messages are very susceptible to interception and tampering by a variety of parties (ISPs, hackers, government, spammers, and others).

On the other hand, email does not directly provide for anonymous communication (an important bastion of freedom of expression). Technical means can largely bridge both these gaps. This article provides a rundown of techniques for encryption, remailing, identity masking, and authentication of messages. Both existing tools and general programming techniques are addressed.

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