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Net anonymity service un-backdoored

Higher court hits pause button

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The Java Anonymous Proxy (JAP) service, a collaborative effort of Dresden University of Technology, Free University Berlin and the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (ICPP), has been allowed to suspend its monitoring of users' IP traffic pending a decision on the legality of back-dooring it.

Collectively known as the AN.ON Project, the operators appealed a lower court's decision allowing the German Feds to obtain reports on users' access to a particular IP address (no doubt having to do with KP or bomb-making, etc).

The appeals court has allowed the operators to discontinue logging until their appeal has been answered. When a decision has been reached, the JAP team says they will document the whole affair, but cannot do so until the court issues its ruling.

A single record of access to the forbidden IP address has been logged but not yet disclosed to the Feds pending the higher court's decision, the JAP team says.

In a previous article The Register criticised the way the JAP team handled its initial confrontation with the Feds, ie., by waiting quietly until a user discovered the back door before acknowledging the situation.

We believe there were better ways of dealing with the court order, either by posting a prominent warning that the service might be subject to monitoring by the authorities, by leaking the information to the press outside Germany, or by disabling the affected proxies temporarily in protest.

We hope that if the JAP team should lose its appeal and be ordered to resume monitoring, particularly under a gag order, it will find a way of giving the public a proper heads up. Their previous performance hardly inspires confidence, but there is always opportunity for redemption. ®

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Net anonymity service back-doored

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