privacy Zero Knowledge
By Michael Seaforth
Many people still use the web under the impression that as they
meander, no trace of their travels remains. Unfortunately, unless
special precautions are taken, it is quite possible that their every
move is being tracked. As a message moves from one computer to another
on the web, its origin, destination and contents can be read with
tools widely available online. Who you are, the sites you visit,
the pages you read and the ads you view are considered by some to
be a veritable gold mine of information to be mined and sold for
intent on maintaining control over their personal information while
online have a useful tool in the Freedom
privacy software from Zero Knowledge Systems of Montreal. By sending
all data through a separate network and using encryption and pseudonyms,
the information is stripped of anything that could be used to identify
messages are re-routed through three "Freedom" Servers
distributed around the globe. Each server knows the address of the
previous and next server in the network but not the origin, destination
nor contents of the message. The user has the option of selecting
which three servers will be used.
can create up to five separate identities, pseudonyms or "nyms"
for short. So, someone could use one identity for shopping, another
for your contributions to newsgroups, a third when researching sensitive
topics, a fourth for chatting with friends and a fifth for some
other purpose. To anyone on the web, that user has now become five
separate unidentifiable individuals.
software is available in a free and subscription version. The free
version provides a personal firewall, form filler, cookie manager,
ad manager and a personal alert feature. The latter could be used
to prevent certain types of information from leaving your computer
accidentally, for example, your name or address. It also allows
you to create separate but unencrypted identities that are suitable
for low-risk use.
the premium version, you can also create five separate and highly
secure identities, send encrypted email using your existing email
program and browse, chat and participate anonymously in news groups.
any piece of software, unless it is setup and used as instructed,
it may not provide the desired level of protection. Specific browser
settings are required to guard against compromising one’s privacy.
signatures and Netscape’s "What’s Related" should not
be used when Freedom is running. Here,
you can view some of the information you leave behind when visiting
anyone intent on safeguarding their privacy on the net, it appears
that for now, Freedom is at the head of the pack. Freedom version
2 is currently available for the Windows 95/98, Me, 2000 and Linux
platforms. The premium version of Freedom costs US$49.95 per year
for the use of five pseudonyms.
For more information, visit:
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