[messaging] fyi: metadata-eliminating tor-based chat program: Ricochet

Sean Comeau sean at ftlnetworks.ca
Mon Sep 22 07:20:59 PDT 2014

There is spam on regular SMS, for sure. There would be a lot more of it if sending was free. I'm not sure if WhatsApp is spam free either, I don't use it. Maybe spammers haven't gotten around to it yet. Skype is centralized, and spammers certainly got to that.

I agree it's easier to control spam in a centralized context, and also agree Pond has some compelling features over TextSecure in a centralized context, but I don't think any serious messaging standard or successor to email can or should be centralized. I don't want to make my communications captive to any single entity, no matter how benign it may seem to be.

From: mh.in.england at gmail.com <mh.in.england at gmail.com> on behalf of Mike Hearn <mike at plan99.net>
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 7:05 AM
To: Sean Comeau
Cc: Trevor Perrin; messaging
Subject: Re: [messaging] fyi: metadata-eliminating tor-based chat program: Ricochet

That's true, the TextSecure server always knows who the sender and recipient are, regardless. Adding Tor to the sender side would only deny the server knowledge of the sender's IP address.

Right, but with the group signature scheme Pond uses, the server can also be denied knowledge of which of a users contacts is sending the message. This seems like a powerful privacy upgrade.

The only thing preventing this from being more than a theoretical problem is the lack of mainstream adoption, and thus profit motive.

WhatsApp has the same design and no spam, as does regular SMS. It's pretty simple to just ban users who spam, in the centralised context.
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