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An introduction to e-commerce and distributed applications
An introduction to e-commerce and distributed applications

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2.5.1 Anonymous remailers

An anonymous remailer is a website which enables you to send an email anonymously to some recipient. The main reason for this is to do with something known as spam. This term describes unsolicited email which tries to sell the recipient something.


Throughout the internet you can find email addresses. They can be found embedded in web pages in the member's directories of internet service providers and in newsgroups. There are a number of companies who use programs known as spiders or address harvesters to search the internet for such addresses. These are then written to a file and sold to individuals and companies who then send bulk emails to the unlucky recipients. Often these emails are part of some crime such as selling bogus insurance policies. Spam is universally detested by internet users. Its name is derived from the Monty Python sketch which takes place in a café where a number of Vikings rampage round the café repeatedly shouting out the words spam, spam, spam. If you have not met the terms internet service provider and newsgroup before do not worry: they are introduced later in the course.

You log into the site and type any message that you want to send; it will then forward the message on to its recipient with a dummy email address for the sender.