Due to increasing levels of monitoring by governments and ISPs I want to set up my own private mix on a server in another country. Hosting companies offer various levels of capability (and price). What are some reasonable minimums (RAM and CPU speed) for running the mix software? How much HD space should I have?
Regarding anonymity, you do not gain anything if you run your own Mix: your traffic goes in, your traffic goes out, which means every traffic going through is yours and easy to spy on... I would suggest you to get together with other Operators to offer a public service.
The hardware requirements are low: 500 GB RAM, 1 GHz CPU, enough HD space for installing Linux (5 GB). Speed requirements are high: for a public server, you should at least have 10 MBit/s dedicated (!) bandwidth, better 100 Mbit/s.
"you do not gain anything if you run your own Mix: your traffic goes in, your traffic goes out, which means every traffic going through is yours and easy to spy on"
True, but the point is that the traffic will be coming out in another country. One whose government does not have close relations with mine. I believe this will provide me with a significant amount of privacy from my government. It also does still offer me privacy from having my location identified by internet sites I visit. OTOH, I could probably sell accounts on this server pretty easily once it's running.
"The hardware requirements are low: 500 GB RAM, 1 GHz CPU, enough HD space for installing Linux (5 GB)."
Wow, I'll need 512 MB and 1GHz just to run this? That's more than I expected. I can install linux in way less than 5GB, I was wondering how much space the mix software itself takes up. I guess I can just install it on a local system to find out. Obviously I won't be keeping log files.
This is a misunderstanding:
Your traffic is routed via several internet servers, a lot of them are in your country. If you use your "Mix", and visit pages in your country (or even in other countries, if you have bad luck), your local providers can make an easy 1:1 correlation of IN and OUT traffic of your "Mix" with you. Therefore this method might only help you in cases where you visit foreign websites, and you are lucky not to get routed back through your country.
You might also sell account for it, however: if you publish your identity so that people might give some trust in you, you might loose your own anonymity completely (if you surf there on your own). And if you don't publish it, why should people use this service? It is very probable a honey pot... As single Operator, you are in the strong position to log all IN and OUT traffic any time you want. These are basic problems of weak anonymisation systems with only one server.
== Wow, I'll need 512 MB and 1GHz just to run this? ==
If you run it for just one person (which is pretty useless), you might need much less.
I suppose I really hadn't thought this through. I see what you're saying, a real-time examination by someone capable of monitoring network flows would let them figure out who I am pretty reliably.
Also, if I really am going to use it for just myself, it seems like running a mix and JAP is kind of overkill. I could accomplish the same thing with less overhead by using the SOCKS proxying features in ssh (assuming the client I want to use is capable of taking advantage of a proxy).
But I am really thinking now I'd like to invite others. Probably instead of "publishing" who I am I'd circulate it by word of mouth, as a way of dealing with the trust-vs-anonymity issue. Some people who know (and trust) me already (or know people who know me) would know that I'm running a mix, but it wouldn't need to be google-able.
Does this all sound logical?
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