|Remailer Etiquette: How to Use Remailers Responsibly|
|Using remailers, you can send emails with a high degree of anonymity. But should everybody (think terrorists) be able to send anonymous emails for every purpose (think harassment)?|
Remailers operate on the premise that anonymity is good. Or some anonymity, at least. Anonymous death threats or the use of a remailer by terrorists don't look so good after all. As much as we'd like it to, it seems the form (anonymity) cannot be separated from the contents. The ethical evaluation must always consider both.
For those who run and administer remailers, this means that they cannot declare: "anonymity is good" and be done with it but must face a difficult problem: what anonymity is good, for whom, and when?
Fortunately, most of us are not remailer admins, but sometimes users of remailers. Unfortunately, exactly the same (universal) question applies to us, too. This looks frightening and overwhelming, but in its universality lies already part of the answer: universality.
The Golden Rule
Universality is also what stands behind the good old golden rule (which itself is not universal, of course): treat others as you want to be treated. Applied to remailers this universality would mean: use remailers only in a way that you can want to be a universal rule, a rule that applies to all remailer users at any time.
Can you want everybody to use remailers for sending death threats? Can you want everybody to use remailers to harass others? Can you want everybody to use a remailer to criticize a suppressive regime? Can you want everybody to express their believes in a society that violently disagrees with them? Can you want everybody to use remailers for fun?
Don't use a remailer unless you want everybody to use remailers for the same reason and with the same intentions.