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ZeroKnowledge to Discontinue Anonymity Service

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the carnivores-circling-overhead dept.

Privacy 347

VulgarBoatman writes: "ZeroKnowledge, providers of Freedom.net and Freedom privacy software, have abruptly decided to stop providing anonymous web browsing and private, encrypted, untraceable email for its customers. They give users 7 days before the system is shut down and all untraceable email addresses are disabled. They also say that your "secret" identity may not remain a secret for long." Well, note that that last link is a warning about using the service during the shutdown period, not a warning that they plan to compromise nyms in general. At least they're offering a refund. Update: 10/04 19:00 GMT by M : ZKS has a statement in the comments below.

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347 comments

Refunds? (0, Redundant)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388353)

Do the paying customers get their money back?

Re:Refunds? (1)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388377)

The "At least they're offering a refund." in the article body above would imply "Yes".

Re:Refunds? (1)

weslocke (240386) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388409)

Yanked from the release:

REFUND POLICY - FREEDOM PREMIUM SERVICES


Eligibility
All users who have purchased Freedom Premium Services since January 1st, 2001 are eligible for a full or partial refund under the conditions specified below.
As an alternative, all users eligible for the refund can choose to obtain free of charge Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0.
A valid Order Confirmation Number will be requested in order to obtain the refund or free copy of Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0.

Refund conditions
Your purchase date of Freedom Premium Services will determine whether you are eligible for a full or partial refund.
Effective immediately, Zero-Knowledge will be accepting refund requests until November 22nd, 2001.
Purchased Freedom Premium Services on or after July 1st, 2001
Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0
or
Refund at 100% of purchase price
Purchased Freedom Premium Services on or after April 1st, 2001
Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0
or
Refund at 75% of purchase price
Purchased Freedom Premium Services on or after January 1st, 2001
Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0
or
Refund at 25% of purchase price

Purchase price and refund information
Freedom Premium Services was priced at US$ 49.95 prior to June 14th, 2001.
Freedom Premium Services was priced at US$ 59.95 on or after June 14th, 2001.
Zero-Knowledge does not cover fluctuations in currency exchange rates that may have occurred between the date of purchase and the date of refund.

Contact information
All refund requests should be sent to store@zeroknowledge.com before November 22nd, 2001, and contain all the customer information specified below. Please allow 10 to 14 days for the credit to be applied to your credit card.

IMPORTANT:
Please use your regular email address when corresponding with Zero-Knowledge to ensure appropriate follow up from customer service. Please do not send us emails using your nyms to avoid any delays in getting help. Freedom nym mailboxes will not accept any incoming mail as of October 11th, 2001.

Please include the following information:

Specify whether you wish to obtain a refund or the new Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0 as a replacement product.
Order Confirmation Number
First and last name
Your address
Your regular email address (not your nym address)
The last 4 digits of your credit card (used for the purchase of Freedom)

Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0
Our new product includes the following features and improvements:
Improved Personal Firewall
Form Filler / Password Manager
Ad Manager
Cookie Manager
Keyword Alert
A new user interface, designed to improve your Internet experience
More flexibility to set up and configure each feature
A new Privacy & Security Guide to help you increase your understanding of the Internet

Re:Refunds? (2, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388536)

Freedom nym mailboxes will not accept any incoming mail as of October 11th, 2001.

I would say that this makes their reason pretty clear. I don't know whether there was outside pressure or not, but judging by the date, I'd guess not. That's exactly one month.

Can you read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388505)

It takes considerably less time to click on the link and read for yourself that there is a refund than it does to type the question.

NEW ATTACKS!!! (-1)

TRoLLaXoR (181585) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388354)

An Intercontinental plane was hijacked and flown into the Japanese Diet building less than 15 minutes ago!

Hostages onboard called from cellular phones moments before they died and said the men were darkly complected and had Middle Eastern accents, so it looks like an Islamic attack tied to 9/11!

Re:NEW ATTACKS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

atrowe (209484) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388375)

Tasteless Offtopic Joke: I just heard on NPR that a two passenger Cessna just crashed in a cemetary in northern Poland. Rescue workers have dug up 459 bodies so far and the death toll is expected to climb much higher.

Re:NEW ATTACKS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388424)

Tasteless Offtopic Joke: I just heard on NPR that a two passenger Cessna just crashed in a cemetary in northern Poland. Rescue workers have dug up 459 bodies so far and the death toll is expected to climb much higher.

Funny.

Re:NEW ATTACKS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388455)

Tasteless Offtopic Joke: I just heard on NPR that a two passenger Cessna just crashed in a cemetary in northern Poland. Rescue workers have dug up 459 bodies so far and the death toll is expected to climb much higher.

---

I love you, man!

this blows (1)

gregclimbs (156238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388355)

this was the best anonymizer that existed. I used it personally as a great tool for testing our site from inside the firewall (while appearing to the site like I was outside).

Not a good day :(

Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388356)

Did the NSA threaten them too?


Re:Uh oh... (0)

bliss (21836) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388382)

"Did the NSA threaten them too?"

I would find it interesting that the NSA would ever directly threaten someone might blow their cover. I might feel honored. Kind of like a visit from the devil.

Re:Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388422)

They're in Canada, so the NSA wouldn't directly have authority.. right?

Re:Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388474)

I'm Canadian, and take it from me - Canada isn't a real country, anyway.

Glad i didn't sign up.. (3, Interesting)

milkme123 (302350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388359)

.. but doesn't it seem a little strange that this comes in the wake of september 11th? Who's pressuring them to discontinue annonymity?

Re:Glad i didn't sign up.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388371)

GWB is putting on the finishing touches on the New World Order his father started.

Re:Glad i didn't sign up.. (0, Offtopic)

VulgarBoatman (213054) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388379)

I made this point in the submission, but Michael took it out. I have also asked ZeroKnowledge the same question, but have not received an answer yet.

Re:Glad i didn't sign up.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388439)

That's because Michael's a coward who is afraid of controversy... Remember that AC who was posting links to some rant about him taking censorship.org (or whatever the address was) offline on every slashdot story for about three months?

Not so bad though is it? (3, Insightful)

rm-r (115254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388361)

It's a shame sure, but like the article says- it's all down to people finding other ways to do it themselves rather than rely on somebody else. It would be nice if they gave advice to their existing nyms on how they might be able to maintain their privact though

Bad business model (5, Funny)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388365)

My question is, how did billing for the service work in the first place?

Umm, account #12344234 owes us $300... but we don't know who it is, or where he lives...

I think their business model didn't work... the collections department had nothing to do...

Easy, no billing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388417)

No collections department, you paid in advance for a year's service. If you wanted to ensure anonymity, you could sign up online, get an account number, and write that on an money order. You could also pay by credit card - they claimed to have an internal system to remove the linkage between the payment and the account.

Why are they stopping service? (2, Interesting)

jgerry (14280) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388367)

I'm curious as to whether the motivation is financial or some other reason... Maybe in the wake of all this terrorist bru-ha-ha about encryption and anonymity, someone (or more likely, some government entity) approached them and they, ahem, decided to stop.

I truly hope that's not the reason...

Sept. 11 (3, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388369)

My money says it's all because of the September 11 attacks. From being a "cool" thing, companies offering anonymity services seem to be less cool in the eyes of the unwashed masses.

Re:Sept. 11 (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388465)

My money says it's all because of the September 11 attacks. From being a "cool" thing, companies offering anonymity services seem to be less cool in the eyes of the unwashed masses.


Face it, it's a seething cauldron of terrorist plotting! Well, probably is. OK, could be. Make that: probably isn't but is a convenient devil whom we can slay in the name of (holy cause of the day).

Re:Sept. 11 (0, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388500)

If bullshit was gold, Slashdot would be Fort Knox

I take offense at your signature!


;-)

Hushmail... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388374)

...but I see that hushmail is still in operation.

check the math dude.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388380)

They give users 7 days

According to the notice it links to, service will dicontinue on Oct 22. That's 18 days, not 7.

Re:check the math dude.... (2, Informative)

Red Aardvark House (523181) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388411)

Yes, according to the article all services shut down by Oct. 22nd.

Incoming e-mail servies shut down Oct. 11th as a result of most of their servers being taken offline. So you have 7 days to notify people you're changing your e-mail address.

Re:check the math dude.... (1)

VulgarBoatman (213054) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388431)

On October 11th (seven days from now), mail addressed to an identity/nym will start bouncing, and users will no longer be able to send mail from an identity/nym. That is, all functionality will end on Oct. 11th. Users will still be able to view mail (but neither send nor receive) until the 22nd.

Re:check the math dude.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388447)

People always give a margin for these things. Sysadmins will say "system will reboot in 30 minutes, log off now!". 30 minutes later another warning: "system will reboot in 15 minutes, log off now!". 30 minutes later another warning: "system will reboot in 10 minutes, log off now!" etc. When I see the first announcement, I know I have a good 2h left, enough to complete my assignment before the reboot.

Of course... (1)

MKalus (72765) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388383)

...

whoever would think now that they stop it because of what happened in NYC or the slight possibility that someone actually might have used to plan this has nothing to do with it.

Sorry for the sarcasm, let's see how long it'll take until safweb decideds to shut down as well.

Let me get this striaght... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388387)

The worst terrorist attack in recorded history occurred less than one month ago, followed by another attack just hours ago, and you people have the gall to be discussing the fact that most slashdot trolls have an overwhelming need to anally rape Elmo??? My *god*, people, GET SOME PRIORITIES!

The bodies of the 6000+ innocent people who died in these unprecedented tragedies could give a good god damn about your Sesame Street obsession. Your childish blow-up models, your nerf toy dildos and whining about the lack of a "fuckable" workplace, your Everquest babe boob fixation, the latest Cowboy Neil gay porn rerun, or any of the other ways you are "getting on with your life" (here's a hint: watching Cowboy Neil in your jammies and masturbating into a bowl of Shreddie's is *not* "getting on with your life"). The souls of the victims are watching in horror as you people squander your finite, precious time on this earth fucking Sesame Street dolls!

You people disgust me! In a way, you're almost as bad as the terrorists themselves. At least they had the conviction to die with eachother's cocks in the mouths...

Thank you ....you are sooooo right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388473)

The majority of /. posters are "experts" at everything and are actually ignorant enough to believe the net will remain a lawless entity. Meanwhile they are over 30, jobless, and sitting at their parents house in their underwear.

hehe..guess we know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388498)

what side you're on then eh? I'm not gonna provide any counterargument to yours, as I've watched you trolling this line for weeks already, and you've heard it all already. You make me laugh though. Btw, I'm about to be deployed (some of us put our money where our loud anonymous online chicken shit mouths should be putting it...that means you coward).

History repeats itself (3, Informative)

CaptainAlbert (162776) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388393)

Remember anon.penet.fi?

This is even more depressing, because this time the company running the service has pre-empted the government pressure to shut down, and gone ahead and done it before the lawyers arrive.

Eek. DOes anyone else get the feeling that the terrorists might actually be winning?

Re:History repeats itself (0)

Flakeloaf (321975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388423)

What happened to them anyway? One minute addresses from that domain seemed to be everywhere (whether you wanted to see them or not) and the next minute poof.

Re:History repeats itself (3, Informative)

ktakki (64573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388532)

What happened to them anyway? One minute addresses from that domain seemed to be everywhere (whether you wanted to see them or not) and the next minute poof.


Collateral damage from the $cientologists' war against the Internet (circa '95 or '96).

The Co$ got Finnish authorities to subpoena anon.penet.fi's records. The operator, Julf Helsingius [sic?] closed up shop, saying he couldn't guarantee the anonymity of his users anymore.

There's probably something about it in WiReD's archives.

k.

Re:History repeats itself (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388496)

Maybe it's good, and smart.
If they shut down now, and wipe records.. it's legal.
If they wait until lawyers and Feds arrive.... everything would be compromised.

Surely this is good news ? (-1)

DumbMarketingGuy (171031) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388394)

After all, who needs anonymity ? Only those with something to hide, such as criminals, hackers and terrorists will be affected. Surely the CIA and FBI are not interested in us 'normal' folks ?

Security Warning (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388395)

Their security warning is quite good, and explains the problem clearly. I'll give them a point for that at least. (They could have just kept mum about it, since there's only a few weeks to go.)

This is an opportunity (3, Insightful)

sting3r (519844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388398)

Certainly, the loss of one more tool in the fight for online privacy is a Bad Thing(tm). But we also need to examine the upside to this event.

First off, when ZeroKnowledge closes, all of its customers will be forced to find another provider. That will make the other providers 1) more profitable (assuming they aren't taking a loss but making it up in volume, like Amazon); and 2) more effective. As mentioned in the warning to their customers, low volume makes it easier to correlate traffic entering their system with traffic leaving their system. When such a system gets sufficiently large, it will be very difficult to correlate input streams and output streams, because of the sheer number of possible matches.

Secondly, the closing of another anonymity service will make it harder for terrorists to operate on the internet. They will have one less place to hide. And that has a positive effect on law-abiding netizens - because when communications are more traceable and less anonymous, the government will have fewer excuses to pass legislation that gives law enforcement more snooping powers. And that benefits us all.

-sting3r

Re:This is an opportunity (4, Informative)

malkavian (9512) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388405)

Secondly, the closing of another anonymity service will make it harder for terrorists to operate on the internet.

But, as just about all the security agencies with a clue keep admitting, terrorists don't use the internet because it's just too insecure.
So closing down all the privacy sites does nothing to hinder the Bad Guys(TM), it just bugs the ordinary guy.

Malk

Re:This is an opportunity (2)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388478)

So closing down all the privacy sites does nothing to hinder the Bad Guys(TM), it just bugs the ordinary guy.


So what else is new? It's all part of Anarcho-tyranny. This is the method of governance by which the State (everyone bow down now!) allows a certain amount of mayhem to go on, cracks down in general on liberty, and in the end the State (bow down!) has more power and more control, but the mayhem just keeps on. Repeat after me: "war on drugs".

Re:This is an opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388509)

What about that earthlink account that the FBI kept talking about regarding the 9/11 attacks? I don't buy your theory. Email is a quick, cheap way to communicate from across the globe and there's no reason to believe terrorists wouldn't use it. There's just too much data to sort through for the NSA to catch them in time.

Re:This is an opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388537)

But, as just about all the security agencies with a clue keep admitting, terrorists don't use the internet because it's just too insecure.

Don't be too sure about that. These terrorist bozos -- aside from being astoundingly arrogant -- had some staggering lapses of judgment.

They seemed to have walked a very thin tightrope -- some aspects of their so-called "plan" were devised with great care but other aspects were apparently rushed and cobbled together without any real sense or direction.

Don't give these guys more credit than they deserve. They talk is that they're "savvy" or that they're "smart" -- well, maybe. Sometimes. But not all the time. And the proof of that is how quickly the international dragnet is closing in on various sources and secondary sources.

This isn't like gun control where the argument goes: take the guns off the streets, sure, but the criminals will still have the guns. (I agree with that.)

But it's different here. These guys are nuts. Most of these guys are dim bulbs. They're monomaniacs. And, yeah, this monomania will be their undoing. I wouldn't be surprised if the internet -- the mainstream, boring, unencrypted internet -- will play a key role in their undoing -- if it hasn't already.

Looks like more of a business model switch (3, Informative)

Lawmeister (201552) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388404)

"Zero-Knowledge is introducing Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0, the next generation of its online security software for consumers. This new software includes a personal firewall, form filler/password manager, ad manager, cookie manager and keyword alert. As a result, we have decided to focus our main development efforts on this product as well as other software solutions providing online security.

As such, I regret to inform you that Freedom Premium Services - Anonymous Web Browsing and Private Encrypted Email - will be discontinued as of October 22nd, 2001. Please refer to the detailed Freedom Network shutdown timetable below"


So basically they are winding down their subscription based business model, leasing nyms (4 minimum as far as I recall) on an annual basis and going with a shrink wrap product.

I'm holding my breath to see what the reviewers have to say about this Tool kit v3.0 - it may provide what most users are looking for.

Re:Looks like more of a business model switch (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388414)

No more anonymous IPs or email addresses. It sounds like just another personal firewall - I'm happy with ZoneAlarm [zonelabs.com] and probably won't switch. Too bad.

Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388407)

I hope they plan to open source the anonymity product and that folks start to run free servers of their own accord...

Getting rid of anonymity is not the answer (1)

sledd_1 (464094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388415)

There are always ways to be anonymous on the internet. I can go to the public library, open a hotmail account, and e-mail and browse anonymously.

It's too bad that this business is closing down shop in what appears to be a misguided reaction to the september 11th attacks.

Yes it is. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388436)

Anonymity sucks. Nobody should ever do anything anonymously. Ever.

Re:Yes it is. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388448)

Anonymity is great. Especially since your mom doens't know it was me fucking her ass last night while i held the pillow over her eyes.

+1 Ironic on the MQR standard (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388481)

An AC writes: Anonymity sucks. Nobody should ever do anything anonymously. Ever.

Cute. I strongly agree with what I presume was your point; that anonymity is in fact ubiquitous.

--MarkusQ

Re:Getting rid of anonymity is not the answer (2)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388471)

except for the surveillance cams and firewall logs at the library. probably not too big a deal for library to spit images out regularly to biometric systems at FBI offices. next step CIA and NSA "acquire" cybercafes.

and don't forget that thing that looks like an eye on the front of your TiVO... =)

Re:Getting rid of anonymity is not the answer (2)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388472)

"I can go to the public library, open a hotmail account, and e-mail and browse anonymously. "

Yup and that is what spammers do. How many people really tell the truth when they open up hotmail, yahoo, or any other free email account? Not all I can tell you that.

There is also ways of knowing what someone is doing on a web site and doing lots of tracking. When I worked for a web portol, we knew where a user came to our site from, weather it was a search engine, or a link on another site. We knew what pages they viewed. We knew how they navigated through the site, and often how they left the site. I can totally see why the need for anomymous browsing. You are being watched on the net.

In light of sept 11, I think they think that they may have been providing this service to bin laden or some of his people, and this could be true, but it is no reason to stop.

I also wonder if they will get suid by someone if they make the 'secret names' public. I wonder what their user agreement said. Sounds like this could launch a civil action suit against a company that says 'we'll protect your privacy', and then doesn't.

Personally I have nothing to hide. So I just use mozilla and reject the cookies. If you know that I am on a porn site we'll duh, I'm over 18 and it's legal (for now) in this country.

buy the shirt rm -rf /bin/laden [linuxlookup.com]
from http://linuxlookup.com/

whew! when I read that, I thought... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388416)

holy smokes, when i read that a zero knowledge system was discontinuing anonymity, I thought
that it meant that slashdot was going to stop
posting by AC's!

Good. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388425)

ZeroKnowledge is a terrorist hangout and the people running it were certainly aiding them. I hope that all employees and owners of ZeroKnowledge are sent to prison for life or executed. You heard Bush... either you're with the US or your with the terrorists. So I say send 'em to prison for life and I don't think many people who matter will disagree.

Re:Good. (3, Insightful)

mathieukhor (460475) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388518)

I am an ex-ZKS employee, and you - are a troll.

Do you really think you can stop people from developping or using encryption or anonymity? There a rumours Ben Laden uses steganography - should we ban all .GIF's and JPEG's on the web?

Most employeess at ZKS believe in protecting our rights, and in preserving privacy versus what is perceived by many as intrusions of a police state future into what was otherwise a "free" internet. As Phil Zimmerman said:, "if you ban strong crypto only the terrorists and criminals will have access to it."

Fallout from Sept 11 (3, Redundant)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388426)

I suspect that various governments are bringing pressure to bear. Hotmail et al are probably next. See this article at [washingtonpost.com]

This is the rubish I expected after Sept 11th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388429)

it's a pity that they are doing this. As for a business model what is the business model now ?

A crappy firewall for wind0ze and a form filler that mozilla does by default ???

Looks like bin laden continues to affect our lives....

ZKS cans its Freedom network. (1)

mathieukhor (460475) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388435)

Given the current context, that's probably the best thing they could have done. The full anonymity multiple tunnels provided by the freedom servers had a huge cost of upkeep for ZKS, one which the revenues of the freedom product never could reach. Most users of Freedom were hardcore privacy advocates, but ZKS needed to tap into a larger market to make the Freedom net profitable. But in wake Sep11, the case for strong crypto anonymity is even harder to sell to the masses. So no user base = can the network.
I haven't read-up on Freedom 3.0 - yet, but I hope ZKS can still provide a simple http/https anonymous proxy gateway, it wouldn't be nearly as secure as onion-routing but would still provide minimal anonymity versus mundane threats like mass-marketers, identity theft, etc...

Cheers,

Mathieu Khor

Join us now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388440)

and share _your_ software...

Surprise to the staff as well? (5, Interesting)

Pituritus Ani (247728) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388442)

Yesterday, I received the following message in response to questions about upcoming changes in services and offshore servers (emphasis mine):

Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 09:56:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: InfoReplies@zeroknowledge.com
To: @freedom.net
Subject: Ref: "New anonymous browsing service"

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in Freedom. Currently, we are unable to release specific details about our upcoming privacy services; I wish I could provide you with more information. :(

As for the servers, the upgrades should be completed shortly, and more servers should appear on the network. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Regards,

Freedom Support Team

Have a question? Looking for answers? Visit our Knowledge Center for up-to-date solutions to common problems.
http://www.freedom.net/support/knowledge.html

oh yeah (2)

WinDoze (52234) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388445)

That should stop those pesky terrorists! They'll never think of getting a hotmail account from some public library system!

The really scary thing (1)

RedCard (302122) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388446)

The really scary thing, for me anyways, is that ZeroKnowledge is located in Canada.

Which means - if the US has really pressured them to shut it down - that Canada's economic and social policies are even more influenced by the US than I ever believed them to be...

Right now, free speech is getting it's ass kicked around in the states, and it's starting to leach over into my little country!

I don't like this one bit.

On the other hand, ZeroKnowledge has been struggling financially for some time now, so maybe the events of Sept 11 just provided a good excuse for them to shut down their money-losing anonymizing service without raising too much of a furor.

--R

Time for these to disapear (1)

zarathustra93 (164244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388449)

I don't think these services will be around for much longer. With the legislation going through congress at the moment as a startingpoint, I don't see how anonymizers in general are going to be able to survive. Anon.penet.fi crumbled under much less pressure than the current political climate provides.

I may just be paranoid, but I have a feeling that NSA spooks are knocking on a lot of anonymizer doors.

Sometimes anonymous is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388450)

HowGoodInBed.com [howgoodinbed.com] is anonymous and serves a purpose and has NO business model.

Well, at least there are *options* (2, Informative)

Majik (31912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388452)

For those of you left out in the cold by this, Hushmail [hushmail.com] provides secure e-mail at a reasonable fee (I forget what I paid) or free accounts. Although if today's message is anything, supporting privacy services with money should be considered if you're going to use the service often!

Please Bail Me Out (0)

Haxx (314221) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388454)



If I send one of you a signed blank check can you bail me out when they come for me?

-Im standing next to a mountain, Chop it down with the edge of my hand -Jimi

Anonymous Dog Shits On Muhamed Atta's grave (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388457)

Good Girl :) [64.131.172.233]

Some absurd lameness to get past the lame lameass filter

Lets have a US government anonymizing service (4, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388461)

I will probably get flamed for this one, and I must admit my views on privacy and security are in flux right now.

It seems to me the government should offer a free anonymizer service, with the proviso that detection of verifiable illegal activities transacted through same would lead to the immediate disclosure of the sender's identity (or at least location) to the appropriate legal agency. Private anonymizer services should not be allowed (at least within US borders).

This would then be a way for whistle blowers and others not engaged in illegal activities to easily, and with better legal shielding, submit their disclosures or air their personal political views. Mailing death threats, circulating child pornography, arranging for killings, or setting up drug drops shouldn't have any kind of guarantee of hiding the sender's identity.

I can already hear the big sucking sound from civil libertarians -- "HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY TRUST THE GOVERNMENT WITH THIS?"

It would seem trusting private individuals with this isn't much better (and the government gets what they want eventually anyway). Perhaps using a private anonymizing service shouldn't imply that someone has something to hide, but in the minds of many, it does.

Being intractable on this issue will hurt the IT community more in the long run, because it closely associates it with the ability to conduct illicit and untraceable activities. I am more worried about being being prevented from using cryptography, or being forced to register the keys with a government agencies. Here is where the battle should be fought, because it will lead to the real government oversight of the flow of sensitive information.

Yes this probably comes as result of 9-11-2001. Stop burying your heads in the sand and telling yourselves the world isn't any different now.

Re:Lets have a US government anonymizing service (5, Interesting)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388491)

"Stop burying your heads in the sand and telling yourselves the world isn't any different now."

I take offense to this remark. The world isn't really any different now than it was a month ago, and my saying that isn't an indication of me "burying my head in the sand." The only real difference is that some of you (mostly in the US) have pulled your heads _out_ of the sand and started to realise what's going on in the world.

As for your idea of a government run anonymizer service, there's just one problem: It won't work! It's exactly like banning secure encryption in the US now--the genie is already out of the bottle, and you can't put it back in. Criminals will always find ways around security, surveillance, and general watchfulness. By forcing bcakdoors on systems, you're only affecting (persecuting, in fact) the law-abiding citizens who will use them.

Re:Lets have a US government anonymizing service (2)

tshak (173364) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388502)

Boy do I have to be reundant these days:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Even every point of technical communication was plain text and traceable, the "security" you recieve is more of a myth. Your philosphy is a slap in the face to the thousands that died for our freedom.

Re:Lets have a US government anonymizing service (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388522)

Yes, it is a different world. The threat of terrorism is exactly the same as it was, of course, and so is the need to protect civil liberties (the latter being one of the few eternal constants in society, I'd say -- not civil liberties themselves, regrettably, but the need to protect them.) But two important things have changed:

1) The forces in government which would like to take away our rights in the name of national security now feel they have the perfect excuse, and

2) Otherwise intelligent people are so convinced that "the world is different now" that they'll let these would-be tyrants get away with it.

Can you spell "Reichstag?" I knew you could ...

NBC knows how to do it: (1)

pacc (163090) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388479)

Make sure that the users cannot change their registred e-mail adress, then sell their aliases to spammers.

Xoom pages still held hostage...

you can take our... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388495)

homes and our lives... but you'll never take our FREEDOM (networks).

dont forget about Sneakemail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388512)


Sneakemail is an email anonymizing and anti spam service that is determined to outlive the competition.

So far so good.

Sneakemail.com [sneakemail.com]

Really Anonymous??? (1)

jsonic (458317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388514)

Anyone else have the idea that anonymizers are just fronts for whatever agency is interested in your surfing habits?

Think about it, what better way is there to keep track of people than to have everybody surf through one specific bottleneck where their activities can be easily monitored.

The traffic might be anonymous to the website you are going to, but it sure ain't anonymous to the anonymizer itself.

Just a thought.

Zero Knowledge (1)

depth_13 (454306) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388526)

These guys had a pretty cool product running there for a little while, but since they dropped Linux support I didn't really feel like sticking with them any more anyway. Of course now Metallica will be able to ban me from concerts or something when I download their damn MP3s.

Well... (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388531)

That certainly sucks ass, but I can't say I didn't see this coming.

They've been showing signs of titsup.com-ness for months now...discontinuning free services, raising prices, etc.
Wonder if FuckedCompany has gotten word of this yet...

C-X C-S

Now What? (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388535)

I have been a customer for over two years, starting when it was beta and real slow. I happen to actually like the ability to be able to send anonymous e-mail once in a while and enjoyed the warm and fuzzy feeling I got while visiting questionable sites. In fact it was one of the few reasons I still keep a Windows box around, since Freedom dropped support for Linux 6-8 months ago.

Now what have they got? A $50 Ad blocker and personal firewall? For Windows only?! I do not envision this company staying in business for much longer.

My REAL question is now: " What are the good alternatives for both Linux, OSX, and Windows?" Cost? How secure is it?" I know I can go to a web re-mailer and shoot out e-mail but that does not keep the website from logging my address. Tacking me etc...

Anyone?

As the saying goes... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2388539)

If you outlaw anonymity, only outlaws will be anonymous...

Web surveillance and the new anti-terror law (4, Insightful)

Everyman (197621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2388550)

The liberals in Congress think they're sounding like civil
libertarians with their new, modified stand on Internet
surveillance. They say that the authorities should be allowed
warrantless taps to find out where you surfed, but not what you did
once you got there. The FBI has a right to know that you went to
Amazon, for example, but without a warrant they don't have a right
to know what books you bought. The legal distinction here is from
the old days: a "pen register" would record the number you dialed,
but not the conversation itself, and therefore qualified for a
looser legal standard.

But pundits don't realize that 99 percent of your Web activity can
be reconstructed from the Web's equivalent of "pen register"
information. The search terms you enter into search engines are
attached to the address itself. Do you believe that the FBI will
want this portion of the URL excluded simply because they don't
have probable cause? If and when the NSA is authorized to monitor
the backbone, do you expect that they will chop off the URL at the
question mark, so that this information is kept out of their
keyword-analysis supercomputers? Not likely.

My reading of the provisions of the new Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001
suggests that a single, one-time certification by a federal
law-enforcement official that such information is needed in a
criminal investigation, without any showing of probable cause, is
enough to require a court to issue an order allowing a pen-register
tap on any Internet service provider presented with the order,
throughout the entire U.S. The definition of this "pen-register or
trap and trace device" information has been expanded for the
Internet. It now includes "other dialing, routing, addressing, and
signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source of a
wire or electronic communication (but not including the contents of
such communication)."

For example, some federal official could conceivably serve Google,
or any other search engine, with a court order demanding log
information for all those who searched for particular persons or
particular combinations of search terms. The "query strings"
consisting of the users' search terms are, in all standard HTTP
server logs, included along with the user's domain or IP number.

One hopes that search engines would be inclined to challenge such
an order. But we may never know, because if they decide to
cooperate with the new law, their public relations office won't be
announcing this. The bottom line is that the phrase, "but not
including the contents of such communication," might be useful for
excluding the body of e-mail messages, but is mostly irrelevant for
Web surfing. This poor wording in the new law may mean that search
engines can no longer claim privacy at any level.

If someone wanted to redesign the entire Web for the express
purpose of surveillance, they couldn't do a better job than what we
already have. The profile that could be compiled if one had a list
of all the Web sites you visited, or all the search terms you've
used on Google, would be very revealing. The latter scenario is
more worrisome, because the former scenario, short of a
comprehensive backbone tap, would imply an order served locally at
your own ISP. You'd almost have to be pre-targeted by the
authorities. But a tap on a general search engine would amount to a
global sweep for information. Google currently gets about 110
million searches every day, most of which are from outside the U.S.
It would be tempting for the feds to monitor this traffic.
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