Anonymity Snake Oil in JXTA

Ben Laurie ben at
Thu Jun 28 13:42:31 EDT 2001

JXTA ( claims to have a payment project which will
"implement anonymous and secure financial transactions". See:

They have chosen (by what process?) a thing called EPocketCash
([1]) to do this. Here's the marketing
droidlish: "The goal is to implement the Epocketcash payment protocol
for financial transactions for JXTA. EPocketCash is the first payment
system designed exclusively for the Internet. It allows anybody to be a
merchant and/or a customer at the same time with the same account. This
anonymous payment system will work on any gizmos connected to the
internet. Currently we support the WEB, WAP and I-Mode phones."

Sounds great, no? There's just one teeny problem. It isn't anonymous.
Not even a little bit. It is merely secret. That is, it is tied to bank
accounts, and they promise (no, really) that they won't tell anyone who
you are. Oh, except a judge. Oh, and probably either side of the
transaction (so they can take you to court, see? Isn't that a marvellous
benefit? [well, they told me it was, and they should know, right?]). Oh,
and anyone who breaks into their system.

But it is anonymous really. They said so.



[1] I can't actually read this, it renders horribly on Netscape, but my
information comes from Philippe Coupe, President and CEO of IPassport
Corp (who own EPocketCash?).


In Boston 'til 1st July.

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