Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: New Third Voice version out

Author:Eric Soroos
Posted:9/14/1999; 10:24:10 PM
Topic:New Third Voice version out
Msg #:11018 (In response to 11014)
Prev/Next:11017 / 11019

Referencing my earlier post about how I've been taking to thinking of these issues... the ultimate in interfering with communications is a proxy server, either on their end or offerring one for the user.

I'm not sure I follow you on the proxy server thing. AOL has been using them for forever and a half to conserve bandwidth on their outbound links. (Yeah they've caused a few problemsn, but noting too major). I'm using (at various locations) 2 proxy servers, one on the webserver end and one on the local end of the connection.

They (mine) do a couple of things, none of which seem inherently evil.

1) Bridge a firewall/provide caching for images that I don't want to repeatedly serve from the interior machine. This one is set up to relay all incoming connections to a (frontier) webserver behind a firewall. It could do some checking and filtering, with additional virtual domain support if I really wanted to do it. It's also caching images so that they don't have to be served off of the mainresponder. Not that that is really necessary, given the loads.

2) Reduce bandwidth over a clogged link. This is at another site, where the critical link is the outside connection. I've got a machine serving as a caching proxy there, so for instance I don't have to end up reloading stuff that other people in the office have done. In the future, this one may do content/firewall style filtering if the internet climate deteriorates any further. There is one other effect. This one rewrites the Agent headers to Nutscrape/1.0 (CPM 8 bit). But that's my own little contribution to widening the bell curve.

I can see some further uses of proxy servers for anonymization. One that sticks in my mind is AT&T's clouds project, where requests get bounced between a bunch of peering proxies that rewrite all of the personalized header information and don't keep logs. They grow by people agreeing to host nodes of the network.

So I guess I'm asking...

If I visit your website, do you see it as objectionable that I'm accessing it through a proxy? What if you can't determine my real IP #? (and I'd bet that this is the case. Give me a webpage and I'll hit it. Hint, it starts with 192.168) What if you don't know who I am? What if I'm browsing with Javascript and Java off, or they are filtered by a proxy? What if I'm browsing with images off? What if it's not just by my choice, but that of my IS department and their security policies?


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