Communication between parties or stations over a network
Communication between two parties or stations over a packet data network such as the Internet may be enabled without revealing private information such as an address. An interface that allows input of a transaction specification from at least one of the first and second parties or stations may be provided. A reference code associated with the transaction may be generated, there being a defined relationship between the reference code and the address of the second station or party for communication. The reference code may be supplied to the first station or party. The first station or party may use the reference code to make a request for communication with the second station or party. A channel for communication may be opened between the first and the second stations over the packet data network without providing the address of the second station or party to the first station or party.
1. A method of facilitating anonymous communication between a first station and a second station, the second station having an address for communication, the address relating to the second station or the party at the second station and being stored in memory and accessible by a controller, and each station being enabled to transmit and receive packet data and being connected directly to a packet data network, the method comprising:
providing a transaction specification from at least one of the first and second stations, generating a reference code by the controller in response to the transaction specification, there being a defined relationship between the reference code and said address,
supplying the reference code from the controller to at least the first station,
receiving a communication request by the controller from the first station for communication with at least the second station,
receiving the reference code by the controller from the first station, the reference code having been previously supplied from the controller to the first station,
using the reference code by the controller to recover said address from memory, and
opening a channel for communication between said first and second stations, whereby anonymous communication can be established between the first and second stations without providing said address to the first station without requiring said address to be provided to the first station, the channel for communication including at least the packet data network that is connected directly to the first station.