Popular anonymous communication systems often require sending packets through a sequence of relays on dilated paths for strong anonymity protection. As a result, increased end-to-end latency renders such systems inadequate for the majority of Internet users who seek an intermediate level of anonymity protection while using latency-sensitive applications, such as Web applications. This paper serves to bridge the gap between communication systems that provide strong anonymity protection but with intolerable latency and non-anonymous communication systems by considering a new design space for the setting. More specifically, we explore how to achieve near-optimal latency while achieving an intermediate level of anonymity with a weaker yet practical adversary model (i.e., protecting an end-hosts identity and location from servers) such that users can choose between the level of anonymity and usability. We propose Lightweight Anonymity and Privacy (LAP), an efficient network-based solution featuring lightweight path establishment and stateless communication, by concealing an end-hosts topological location to enhance anonymity against remote tracking. To show practicality, we demonstrate that LAP can work on top of the current Internet and proposed future Internet architectures.
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