Anonymization

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Searanex Searanex's picture
Anonymization
*waves* Hello community. I have a question concerning privacy and anonymization. First, some background. I'm planning on playing a character who is a mercenary that does jobs for every rep. My concern is that, while he'll gain rep from the ones hiring him, I want to find a way to prevent him from losing rep with those he does the jobs against. That way, he can continue playing the field for work. My thoughts are that he uses false mesh IDs when on a mission to prevent anyone from pinning the act on him. My questions are, while, according to the core book, using false mesh IDs hinders a research check after the fact, would it also prevent others from finding his real mesh ID in real time? Or would I have to stealth my signal as well? Also, would it be possible to receive payment (Rep and credits) while using false mesh IDs or a disposable ecto? Or would I have to use an anonymization service to prevent the records of the transaction from hitting the mesh? Overall, my goal is to make it as near to impossible for anyone other than my employer to know about my activities as to prevent losing work from employers I previously did work against. Seems unlikely that someone whose company I infiltrated or whose morph I destroyed would hire my character if they knew it was him who did it. Anyway, any advice would be appreciated.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Anonymization
This is a problem for a lot of groups - they do confidential work, yet would like to gain rep from endorsements. I immediately see a business opportunity! Nom de Guerre Inc. Nom du Guerre acts as a reputation anonymizer. The company acts as a middle man between contractors and their clients, allowing contractors to be only known by the NdG "nym" - a special anonymous identity - to the clients, and (if desired) also keeping the clients anonymous to the contractor. After fulfilling the contract the clients can pay by updating the reputation of the nym without having to reveal their identity. NdG acts as a guarantor for the existence of the clients and contractors, making a profit by receiving monetary or reputation payment for its services. Needless to say, NdG takes security and privacy very seriously and would loose much if they were ever compromised. The exact infrastructure is secret, but relies on one time pads and proprietary zero knowledge proof algorithms. It has been certified by Nimbus and Xiàncài, and apparently withstood concerted efforts from the Intelligent Design Crew to sabotage it. The company is based in Extropia but active system-wide (where legal: the Jovian Republic has banned it for "promoting terrorism"). It lacks physical presence except for a tasteful "art gallery" near Helix Avenue where it displays some notable achievements of managed nyms. Online, each store is managed by instances of the AI interface Xhan, ensuring consistent and discreet service. The company is not alone in this business niche: HandleTek (Extropia) and Zhēnshí Xìngmíng (Ceres) are its two major competitors. HandleTek has a noticeably more unsavoury reputation, and is apparently favoured by Ultimate mercenaries.
Extropian
Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Anonymization
Isn't rep a sort of resource you can just hand around, though? Like Karma on Slashdot, or other similar examples, you'd think the employer could just +1 you. Judging by some of the threads, the whole rep system is either a bit handwavey, or it's akin to an electronic currency. You *could* explain why you +repped someone, or you could just do it.
CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Anonymization
Yerameyahu wrote:
Isn't rep a sort of resource you can just hand around, though? Like Karma on Slashdot, or other similar examples, you'd think the employer could just +1 you. Judging by some of the threads, the whole rep system is either a bit handwavey, or it's akin to an electronic currency. You *could* explain why you +repped someone, or you could just do it.
It's kind of a mix between the two. You do something awesome, you have proof that you did something awesome (Everything is recorded after all. Everything.), and whenever anyone looks you up they can see you did something awesome. And because in the past you have always kept your word and not many people say otherwise (And people have AIs in their heads that can quickly check such things), they assume that helping you out would be in their best interest. So there might be a Merc network, and whenever you do a good job you leave a recording and a little feedback note from your employer up on the distributed network. Anyone who looks you up with access to the Merc network can see your work first hand, and can read feedback left by others. Good work leads to a high rep. Whenever you fuck something up, someone on the same network tags proof of it with your name/alias and as long as they have a decent rep people take notice. Your rep drops appropriately. Proof is everything in the Rep economy, and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to provide it when you can literally make secure encrypted video of everything you see/hear.
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Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Anonymization
Sure, you *could* do that. Or, I think, you could just hand around +reps, which are partially based on your own credibility, and partially based on some kind of economic system… the reputation economy. I assume that both happen. Rep can come from nothing more substantial than 'I like him', right?
CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Anonymization
Depends on the network. The reputation economy boils down to one simple thing. Trust. You aren't trading in currency, you are trading in social credit (little c, as in how much one can borrow). Take my Merc network example. Unless you are an extremely high reputation individual yourself, why should I give a shit if you happen to like a potential employee? Great, he isn't a dick. I don't care about that, I care (and most people using the network care) that he can do clean work, that he is loyal, and that he won't screw up. So unless you can provide proof about something that would directly influence the likelihood of me hiring that employee, your opinion on that person to the network as a whole means nothing. Their rep score doesn't change. Of course the rules change if you yourself are a high reputation individual within the Merc network. If you yourself have proven yourself trustworthy and you officially endorse someone, then sure, you can give them a rep boost. But then you have put yourself in the position that your own professional reputation is in danger if that person fucks up. If I hire a guy because you said I could trust him, and then he pops me and steals my stack, I am not going to be particularly happy with you.
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Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Anonymization
I think you're interpreting 'like' a little too literally; it *means* "he can do clean work, that he is loyal, and that he won't screw up". Isn't that exactly what 'reputation network' means, that you *don't* have to prove everything with little youtube clips?
The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Anonymization
Might it be that recordings are to rep as gold is to bank notes? You wouldn't need to see the stack of bullion to which a hundred dollar bill stands as promissory, but it's assumed to exist. Likewise rep points must hold a certain consensus legitimacy that needn't necessarily be challenged at every turn, e.g. scouring the mesh for biographical footage of every ego you transact with.
degausser degausser's picture
Re: Anonymization
I don't know how prevalent this is in EP, but there are social buying trends. You, as a person (and by extention, your character) have certain trends that they do. You tend to favor one kind of Soda, like to buy certain video-games, and frequent the same webforums. In certain Futuristic RPGs, (again, don't know how much a degree EP does this) all this info is monitored and collated to tailor advertising to you. So if you have two or three fake mesh IDs active all the time, and have the same buying trends, then people may get on to you. Might be worthwhile to sink some skills points into impersonation.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Anonymization
The Green Slime wrote:
Might it be that recordings are to rep as gold is to bank notes? You wouldn't need to see the stack of bullion to which a hundred dollar bill stands as promissory, but it's assumed to exist. Likewise rep points must hold a certain consensus legitimacy that needn't necessarily be challenged at every turn, e.g. scouring the mesh for biographical footage of every ego you transact with.
I think this is right, except for the part that the dollar is based on gold - it has been a fiat currency since 1971. Proof is what stabilizes reputations. The more you can prove what you are saying about other people, the more stable things get. But not all reputation needs this, just enough. But since reputations are likely more volatile than money currencies there is a greater need for stabilizers - hence things like Nom du Guerre and the countless reputation audit firms. However, proof is problematic when doing illegal things. That clip showing a successful kidnapping is evidence, and one agent documenting approval of an illegal act done by another suggests it might have an interest in it. Hence you need reliable anonymizers - and they better be hard to subpoena.
Extropian
The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Anonymization
Arenamontanus wrote:
The Green Slime wrote:
Might it be that recordings are to rep as gold is to bank notes? You wouldn't need to see the stack of bullion to which a hundred dollar bill stands as promissory, but it's assumed to exist. Likewise rep points must hold a certain consensus legitimacy that needn't necessarily be challenged at every turn, e.g. scouring the mesh for biographical footage of every ego you transact with.
I think this is right, except for the part that the dollar is based on gold - it has been a fiat currency since 1971.
Doh. Really should've remembered that. That whole 'quantitative easing' thing didn't require the creation of an Everest-sized pile of gold, after all. Reputation audit is a very interesting concept. It must be fairly big business in new economies, and I can see it being a major bogeyman for old economy holdouts who look upon the Outer System with horror. Even though privacy is a forlorn memory basically everywhere, the notion of your bank manager surveilling your entire life (and employing investigators to delve into the murky bits) and deriving your worth from the footage could be quite ideologically abhorrent, success of such a system notwithstanding.
nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Anonymization
Aremantonarus's idea is a good one, and probably the most graceful. Your mercs can also limit their activities to certain areas, so perhaps they let corps hire them, but only work against anarchists. So their anarchist rep is in the toilet, but their c-rep is very high. As long as they're not stuck on an anarchist hab, it's not a huge issue. Another option is to keep separate accounts.You deal with your Johnson using your high rep account. He makes the deal and knows it's you who did the work. Then you do the job using your disposable account. The disposable account takes all the hits for 'kidnapping and general mayhem'. Your high rep account gets a boot from the Johnson for 'does reliable, discreet work'. The GM can handwave the background work of keeping those account separate, or can create infrastructure like NdG.
Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Anonymization
See, that's what I'm saying: your Johnson isn't necessarily posting videos to go along with his endorsement (unless they're fakes, heh). I'm not saying Arena's idea couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't work… in addition.
Searanex Searanex's picture
Re: Anonymization
While I appreciate all the feedback, my question still remains. While on a mission, would using false mesh IDs be enough to prevent someone from identifying my character in real time, or would he have to stealth his signal as well? Could he give his client the mesh ID of a disposable ecto to send the payment, then transfer it to himself? I realize a lot of this would probably be determined by the storyteller, but our entire group, including the storytellers, are new to Eclipse Phase and I'd like to take advantage of the insight of more experienced players.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Anonymization
Searanex wrote:
While I appreciate all the feedback, my question still remains. While on a mission, would using false mesh IDs be enough to prevent someone from identifying my character in real time, or would he have to stealth his signal as well? Could he give his client the mesh ID of a disposable ecto to send the payment, then transfer it to himself? I realize a lot of this would probably be determined by the storyteller, but our entire group, including the storytellers, are new to Eclipse Phase and I'd like to take advantage of the insight of more experienced players.
Think of it like you would today. Changing morphs is major cosmetic surgery. False IDs are false IDs. What could identify your char in real time if using false mesh IDs? Well, someone could recognize his sleeve as being used by someone else - either that someone else is actually the same ego just using different IDs, or the morph changed owners. Or someone could be tracking down the sleeve from previously. Or if someone is looking for one of your old IDs, or does a background check on the fake one you're using, maybe there's a financial or data trail between them (like transferring funds between them), or the same people are called. In a new sleeve, with new gear and software, a new fake ID, and you don't call any of your old friends, you're as invisible as the suppliers of your morph and gear and the resleeving itself. Anything else leaves trails that opponents may or may not pick up on, but if you're careful they'd have to be very determined, skilled and/or lucky. Getting rep spread out over several false identities absolutely suck. You can't transfer rep, and it doesn't do much good spread out among several IDs. You're never going to get "rich" in the reputation economies like that.
Searanex Searanex's picture
Re: Anonymization
When I was referring to false mesh IDs, I meant the tactic on page 252.It's not simply a singular fake ID, it's using multiple false IDs to throw others off your trail. I'd imagine it'd be similar to bouncing your IP address around the world to confound others trying to find your true location. Except, in this case, it would be my character's identity rather than just location. My concern is that, according to the book, that affects others tracing his activities after the fact. He needs to hide his ID in real time as well. Would using the false IDs cover that, or would he have to stealth his signal as well? I'd like to know this because they require two different tests to accomplish, Infosec for the false mesh IDs and Interface for stealthing.
nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Anonymization
Searanex wrote:
While I appreciate all the feedback, my question still remains. While on a mission, would using false mesh IDs be enough to prevent someone from identifying my character in real time, or would he have to stealth his signal as well? Could he give his client the mesh ID of a disposable ecto to send the payment, then transfer it to himself?
I assume it's similar to spending money on lawyers at court. The attacker is working at a disadvantage, but ultimately they should be able to win if they throw enough resources at it. If you have a false ID, they run image verifications on your morph. New morph? They hack your accessories and download your personal data. New, anonymized equipment? They'll track your egocasting traffic.