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    "Study on Anonymous Communication with Agent Technology"

    Due to the recent progress of computer and network technology, together with the exponential growth of the Internet, we are now able to share computer resources on a world-wide scale. As a result concern for privacy, such as leakage of one's private information, has recently been serious. Therefore, we need a system that provides an appropriate service while maintaining anonymity of users. Therefore various studies for providing anonymity have been conducted so far.

    In this paper we discuss anonymous communication thoroughly in terms of agent technology, which is considered to be a promising infrastructure in the next generation. First we propose a new flexible and lower-costs anonymous communication protocol by introducing an idea of cyclic routes: cyclic routes have a feature that there exist neither starting points nor end points. This property would be useful to realize anonymous communication where identities of senders (starting points) and receivers (end points) must be secret. In addition we show our protocol provides a higher degree of anonymity for the initiator of communication and lower latency of response time than Crowds scheme which is one of the well-known anonymous communication protocols.

    In this paper we also introduce an anonymous communication model in order to compare and evaluate previous protocols formally. Our model is based on the observation that most of the practical anonymous communication protocols need intermediate relay nodes between the initiator and the responder. Our model has advantages as follows: First, our model has appropriate formalism and sufficient expressive power to compare and evaluate anonymous communication protocols. Consequently relations among previous protocols can be made clear. Secondly, the model gives us criteria and means to evaluate and classify anonymous communication protocols. In order to demonstrate the usefulness of our model discussed so far, we integrate Inoue-Matsumoto scheme and Crowds scheme, which share a lot of commonality, into a more flexible anonymous communication scheme.

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