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Second USENIX Workshop on Electronic Commerce

On Shopping Incognito

Ralf Hauser, McKinsey Consulting
Gene Tsudik, University of Southern California


The increasing popularity and importance of electronic commerce makes very apparent the issue of privacy and anonymity for electronic consumers. Technologies are already in existence that offer some degree of electronic privacy, e.g., electronic/digital cash. However, the mere fact that electronic commerce is conducted over existing network infrastructure (such as the global Internet) runs counter to the privacy of the consumer. This is due mainly to the end-to-end nature of application protocols that are used as vehicles for electronic commerce -- World-Wide Web (WWW), Electronic Mail, File Transfer Protocols and others.

In this paper we discuss the issue of consumer anonymity and propose some solutions for the activities that typically "surround" electronic payment: pre-purchase browsing and merchandise delivery.

View the full text of this paper in ASCII (35,145 Bytes) and POSTSCRIPT (173,737 Bytes) form.

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Last changed: 15 April 2002 aw
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