FC: NYT: Pentagon considered plan to tag Net-traffic, limit anonymity

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sat Nov 23 2002 - 15:25:24 PST

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    November 22, 2002
    Agency Weighed, but Discarded, Plan Reconfiguring the Internet
    The Pentagon research agency that is exploring how to create a vast 
    database of electronic transactions and analyze them for potential 
    terrorist activity considered but rejected another surveillance idea: 
    tagging Internet data with unique personal markers to make anonymous use of 
    some parts of the Internet impossible.
    The idea, which was explored at a two-day workshop in California in August, 
    touched off an angry private dispute among computer scientists and policy 
    experts who had been brought together to assess the implications of the 
    The plan, known as eDNA, called for developing a new version of the 
    Internet that would include enclaves where it would be impossible to be 
    anonymous while using the network. The technology would have divided the 
    Internet into secure "public network highways," where a computer user would 
    have needed to be identified, and "private network alleyways," which would 
    not have required identification.
    Several people familiar with the eDNA discussions said such secure areas 
    might have first involved government employees or law enforcement agencies, 
    then been extended to security-conscious organizations like financial 
    institutions, and after that been broadened even further.
    A description of the eDNA proposal that was sent to the 18 workshop 
    participants read in part: "We envisage that all network and client 
    resources will maintain traces of user eDNA so that the user can be 
    uniquely identified as having visited a Web site, having started a process 
    or having sent a packet. This way, the resources and those who use them 
    form a virtual `crime scene' that contains evidence about the identity of 
    the users, much the same way as a real crime scene contains DNA traces of 
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