The Pynchon Gate: strong pseudonymous PIR-based email. (Work in progress)
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PROJECT OVERVIEW: This is an in-progress attempt to implement the Pynchon Gate, a pseudonymous email system designed by Len Sassaman and Bram Cohen, tweaked by Nick Mathewson. If you are not interested in software that breaks a lot, or if you insist upon it actually doing something useful to you when it doesn't break, then this is probably not for you yet. For more information about the Pynchon Gate, have a look at the papers at http://freehaven.net/anonbib/#sassaman:wpes2005 and http://freehaven.net/anonbib/#cosic-2007-001 and the spec at http://freehaven.net/pynchon/doc/pynchon-spec.txt Please take that version of the spec with a grain of salt; it hasn't been updated in a while, and it probably has some crazy over- engineering and some big missing points. Nick Mathewson is writing the code; it is released under the "MIT" license. Nick might release it under a different license later; if you would not be okay with that, please talk with Nick before sending him any code or patches. A fully complete Pynchon Gate implementation will have these pieces: * Nymservers that receives incoming mail for keyholders, encrypts it to their keys, and preferentially decides what pieces of the mail to ship first, while not shipping more than any user's quota at a time. * A remailer interface to the nymserver that allows keyholders to send pseudonymous mail from their accounts, change their account settings, open new accounts, and so on. * A collator (one per nymserver) that takes all of the mail that ought to go to each user, packages it in a hash-tree-like bucket structure, and publishes it to a set of distributors. * A set of distributors that run a PIR protocol so that users can download their mail without leaking their identity to any participant. * A utility that runs on the distributors to fetch mail from the collator. * A user client that decides which buckets to fetch and fetches them, and handles communications with the nymserver on behalf of the user. * A high-latency anonymous channel (like Mixminion) for sending messages to the nymserver. Right now, the only parts that are implemented are the distributor code and the collator code. The distributor is called "Inverarity". It aims to be really fast, since the distributors are likely to be the performance bottleneck of the whole system. See src/inverarity/README for more information about its status and how to try it out. The collator is called "Maas". It's written in python and totally untested at the moment. See src/maas/README for more information about its status and how to try it out. The next parts I'd like to work on are the stub of a client, tentatively to be called "Prentice" or "Pointsman" or something; and the more crypto-heavy part of a nymserver, possibly to be named "Stencil" or "V." or "Cherdlu". I'm aiming for the server parts to be clean and fast first; portable second. I want them to run on recent versions of the free unixes; osx is okay too since it's close enough. I do not plan to port them to Windows. The client-side parts, on the other hand, should run everywhere. More help is welcome. Please don't assume I'll have time to do very much very fast--I'm spending most of my time on another privacy project. Also, please no naming stuff after characters in Thomas Pynchon that I don't want to have to explain to my nieces. This work is dedicated to the memory of Len Sassaman, who would have wanted to know what took us so long.