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Web-based Anonymizer Discontinued

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the end-of-the-road dept.

Privacy 159

RobertB-DC writes "With no fanfare, and apparently no outcry from the privacy community, Anonymizer Inc. discontinued its web-based Private Surfing service effective June 20, 2007. No reason was given, either on the Anonymizer web site or on founder Lance Cottrell's privacy blog. Private Surfing customers are now required to download a anonymizing client that handles all TCP traffic, but the program is Windows-only (with Vista support still a work-in-progress). And of course it's closed-source, which means it has few advantages over several other alternatives."

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921585)

First Post!!!
fUCK all of you!

Well.... (1, Interesting)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921587)

All they needed to do was connect to Internet2 and replace the ads on MySpace with their own and they would have been set...

May I be the first... (2, Funny)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921593)

... to say that this really sucks. I used Anonymizer all the time....

Re:May I be the first... (5, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921707)

Well, Peacefire [peacefire.org] should meet your web based anonymizing needs. If you need more, that's what Tor [eff.org] and JAP [tu-dresden.de] are for.

Re:May I be the first... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921951)

What an asshole.

Re:May I be the first... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921989)

Well, at least he's not an anonymous asshole.

Oh...

Re:May I be the first... (1)

derrida (918536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923475)

Just clicking on Post Anonymously meets perfectly my needs.

Re:May I be the first... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921761)

... to say that this really sucks. I used Anonymizer all the time....
Oops! I meant to post as AC. Ignore that previous post. It wasn't me. Really.

Re:May I be the first... (3, Informative)

fourtyfive (862341) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922003)

[blatant advertising]
sureproxy.com!
[/blatant advertising]

Re:May I be the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923573)

I know.

LOL (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921595)

Shut down, closed source and windows only. It's a trifecta!

A box of chocolates (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922995)

Closed source is like a box of chocolates - You don't know what you're gonna get...

no loss (3, Insightful)

batray (257663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921605)

I have blocked anoymizer access to my BBS for several years. It was only used by abusive posters to block their identity.

Re:no loss (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921679)

I have blocked anoymizer access to my BBS for several years. It was only used by abusive posters to block their identity.
Shut up or I'll punch you in the mouth!

Re:no loss (4, Funny)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921975)

In other words it enabled freedom of speech? *ducks*

Re:no loss (5, Insightful)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922153)

Freedom of speech only goes so far. You can say whatever you want on your own server, but I have no obligation to allow you to say it on *my* server.

Re:no loss (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923265)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the justification behind the zoning of free speech?

Re:no loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923405)

Are you on your server right now? Good...YOU'RE A JACKASS.

Re:no loss (2, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922725)

"Freedom of speech" doesn't mean you get to be anonymous. It never has.

Re:no loss (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923025)

"Freedom of speech" doesn't mean you get to be anonymous. It never has.
You need to completely eviscerate that false belief from your world view.

Held:
Section 3599.09(A)'s prohibition of the distribution of anonymous campaign literature abridges the freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment.

--Mcintyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1975) [findlaw.com]

Look up "lone pamphleteer". Then STFU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923163)

thanks.

Re:no loss - I agree (1)

Christoph (17845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922705)

I have blocked anoymizer access to my BBS for several years. It was only used by abusive posters to block their identity.

I agree, Unipeak was used to post a threatening comment on my webpage about litigation [cgstock.com] I'm involved in, apparently by the other party in the lawsuit:

date:2006-07-01
ip:207.234.209.125 Unipeak, anonymous proxy used by Andrew Vilenchik
name:Anonymous
comment:Chris, be aware I\'ve heard Andrew has relations with Russian mafia. I would be very careful.
Winning the case may not mean $$ for you.
The details of multiple comments posted by Andrew Vilenchik [cgstock.com] anonymously are on my site, in many cases he used anoymizers (which I will probably start blocking, too).

Child Pornography and Terrorism (-1, Troll)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921607)

I'm sure pedophiles and "Freedom Fighters" use anonymous internet applications like this one. So I guess there is some good news here.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921695)

Pedophiles use the internet. You'd better get off the net, quick. You don't want to be associated with pedos, do you?

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (-1, Troll)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921713)

Pedophiles use the internet. You'd better get off the net, quick. You don't want to be associated with pedos, do you?
No. Do you? I'm not saying the web shouldn't be anonymous. I'm just saying this news isn't all bad because it makes it harder for sickos to do what sickos do.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (2, Insightful)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921749)

it makes it harder for sickos to do what sickos do.
Doubtful. There are so many ways to surf and do whatever anonymously. I guess this just means they need to learn a little bit more about the internet before engaging in illegal acts.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922285)

why is this modded troll?

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (4, Interesting)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921745)

And your OS should have no firewall and share the root directory to the world by default.

After all, it's not like you're hiding kiddie porn on your hard drive, eh?

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (0, Troll)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921901)

And your OS should have no firewall and share the root directory to the world by default. After all, it's not like you're hiding kiddie porn on your hard drive, eh?


The law needs to be able to keep track of people that use the internet to harm others. The law (like religion and social taboos to a lesser extent) is necessary to protect regular people from the people that lack empathy. IMHO.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (2)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922029)

I know this may be difficult to understand... but the internet CAN'T HARM ANYONE it's a bunch of interconnected computers... People on the other hand, can harm other people. People can use an item, be it the internet, a gun, a knife, a baseball bat, a stick, a heavy rock, a little rock, a bomb, a pen, a towel, a piece of rope, or a rotten egg to harm people... but the inanimate object can't harm someone.

Nephilium

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922245)

You've never heard of skynet

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922905)

Dude, I know this is Slashdot, and that we can't expect anyone to RTFA, but at least read the comment you're replying to.

The relevant portion is: "keep track of people that use the internet to harm others".

Call me crazy, but I don't think pointing out that the internet can't hurt anyone is a valid response... cause, you know, he never said it could.

I don't even necessarily agree with the GP, but that was just lame.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (2, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921783)

The Internet is a tool. Just like cars are tools, guns are tools, and Zyklon-B is a chemical tool. Tools have no moral status; They do neither right nor wrong. What people do with tools is what is right or wrong.

The solution to terrorists and pedophiles abusing the 'Net is to hunt down and kill the terrorists and pedophiles, not harm the 'Net.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921883)

The solution to terrorists and pedophiles abusing the 'Net is to hunt down and kill the terrorists and pedophiles, not harm the 'Net.


If they're anonymous, hunt them down how?

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (5, Insightful)

Great_Geek (237841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922123)

You are exactly right! All those privacy nuts just don't understand that only terrorists and pedophiles hide behind anonymous comunications. In the name of "War on horror-de-jour", we must immediately ban all forms of anonyumous communication:
  • before you can mail a letter, your identity must be authenticated by biometrics and the complete content of the letter entered into "The System" for later analysis
  • all telephone calls will also require biometric authentication
  • all walkie-talkies will have individual serial numbers, and the serial number must be transmitted every second. Since this is serious security, the serial number and the transmission hardware must be tamper-prove - expensive, but no amount of money is too much where security is concerned
  • Since terrorists can use strings to connect tin cans to make communication devices, possession of any can means life imprisionment at Gitmo.
  • Historically, many annonymous notes have been written on paper. We must institute a new system where paper is only available to authorised government agents; illegial possession of paper is also grounds for shippment to Gitmo.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (1)

Thaddeaus (777809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922639)

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923029)

Newsletter? Time for Gitmo for you!

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (2, Interesting)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922339)

Some "tools" are inherently immoral. Chemical weapons such as nerve agents strke me as a unambigious example since there is no legitimate use of these kind of weapons. A weapons grade ebola virus would be another example. If you can't do anything "right" with a so-called "tool" then the creation, use and even the existance of said "tool" are all "wrong".

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922485)

Say there is a sudden genetic mutation in monkeys. This mutation makes monkeys 1000% more intelligent and they become hell-bent on destroying the world, it also makes them stronger and more agile, they are also all totally insane(think orcs in Warhammer 40K). Would not a chemical or biological weapon be the tool be of use to rid the world of this menance?

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922503)

Say there is a sudden genetic mutation in monkeys. This mutation makes monkeys 1000% more intelligent and they become hell-bent on destroying the world, it also makes them stronger and more agile, they are also all totally insane(think orcs in Warhammer 40K). Would not a chemical or biological weapon be the tool be of use to rid the world of this menance?

I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923183)

Say there is a sudden genetic mutation in monkeys. This mutation makes monkeys 1000% more intelligent and they become hell-bent on destroying the world, it also makes them stronger and more agile, they are also all totally insane(think orcs in Warhammer 40K). Would not a chemical or biological weapon be the tool be of use to rid the world of this menance?

Spielberg's Law: If your hypothetical armageddon scenario would be rejected by a typical Hollywood director as being too stupid to be believable, it cannot be used to make an argument in a political discussion.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (3, Insightful)

evought (709897) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922551)

Some "tools" are inherently immoral. Chemical weapons such as nerve agents strke me as a unambigious example since there is no legitimate use of these kind of weapons. A weapons grade ebola virus would be another example. If you can't do anything "right" with a so-called "tool" then the creation, use and even the existance of said "tool" are all "wrong".
Nerve agents? I have several cans under my sink. Organic phosphates (cholinesterase inhibitors) were invented to kill people. They are now, quite legitimately, used to kill bugs. I tend to use them as a tool of last resort (preferring Taro powder, et al), but they are certainly tools. There a number of chemical weapons in this category. Dynamite was *not* invented to kill people, but look where it has gotten us.

The problem is while agreeing wholly with your sentiment, in practice drawing the line is very hard. Weaponized forms of super-bugs I think is an unambiguous no-no, but *research* along that line is quite necessary, at the least so that someone has a chance of countering a bio-weapon when one is let loose. How do you loosen the cork without letting the genie out? Even relatively small labs now have the potential ability to create their own customized bugs and knowledge is in general circulation, so it is already too late to entirely prevent a future problem. Only mitigation is left.

It is unfortunate because, in many cases, I think we do need to put the breaks on a bit. Our track record with many kinds of meddling is poor, and we are doing so at an increasing rate; so quickly we cannot adequately measure effects to better target our meddling. In practice, however, stopping the train is not easy.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921849)

As we continue to beat a dead horse thanks to this karma-whoring flamebait.

Re:Child Pornography and Terrorism (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921871)

I'm sure pedophiles and "Freedom Fighters" use anonymous internet applications like this one. So I guess there is some good news here.

Absolutely! And we can thank George Bush for it!

You have to wonder... (4, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921611)

With the other posts here about the FBI spyware, the possibility of government back doors in the various AV products, etc, maybe they decided to fold and close the doors instead of open mandated holes? Pure guessing but if the NSA/FBI/whoever went to them and said open this up for us, aplace like Anonymizer, founded on privacy, might not be able to be as morally flexible as the AV vendors who are looking for "viruses" and "spyware".

Logic? (2, Interesting)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921899)

Fold and close the door? The summary says they are requiring the use of a client. From the sound of it, a proxy that funnels your traffic. Frankly I don't see how this would protect their customers. What it does do is exclude non-Windows users (their previous version provided a web-based service that only required a browser with SSL support).

If the NSA/FBI/etc wants to broker/enforce a court order/etc this does nothing to slow that down.

Re:You have to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922149)

Or maybe they got tired of giving free bandwidth to perverts. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that angle.

I for one (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19921805)

I for one welcome our new windows-only Anonymizer overlords.

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922437)

that's not even funny anymore.

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922607)

You're wrong. It is hillarious. Maybe you dont have a sense of humor. Keep posting "I for ones..."!

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922811)

that's not even funny anymore.
You mean it was once funny?

Re:I for one (2, Funny)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922983)

I for one welcome our humor-impaired, meme-denying overlords.

never was the best solution (5, Insightful)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921817)

Anyone relying on a one hop proxy to be anonymous is fooling themselves. You need an anonymity network that doesn't rely on trusting any host and that cannot be blocked without finding out who every host is. What if everyone who used anonymity services also provided such service? Think of how much better the whole system would work if it were p2p! Please install your tor server [eff.org] today.

Re:never was the best solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922185)

and risk the collective privacy (oxymoron?) of all pedophiles [zdnet.com] ? NEVAR!

Re:never was the best solution (2, Interesting)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922685)

tor may make it easier for "child pornographers" to distribute their wares...but I think that's a good thing!

The vast majority of so called "child porn" consists of pictures taken by teens of either themselves or their partners. Pictures take consensually. Pictures taken by minors, not creepy old people. Talk to any socially active high schooler. They'll know people their own age who have sex and will know someone who has pics of the act.

If you want to crack down on rape, go ahead, but stop suppressing the free speech rights of young people! Why should any images be illegal? It's really strange....rape and murder are considered chief crimes, yet no (modern sane liberal) would think about making pictures of (adult) people being raped or murdered illegal. Somehow it's acceptable to make one big exception to the first amendment: images of sexually mature people doing what they do. Teens get charged child porn for taking pictures of themselves! (Don't they see themselves naked every time they bath?) In some states the age of consent is 17 or even 16, so it's perfectly legal for any adult to have sex with youth of those ages...yet since federal law governs porn, they can't look at pictures of the very same people. It's legal to gangbang a 16 year old, but she can't take pics of herself? Fuck the law!

Re:never was the best solution (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922273)

TOR is slow as ass and the last thing I want is a bunch of fucking pedophiles browsing the web through my Internet connection. Sorry, but the days of being anonymous in the world are over and people that demand anonymity on the world wide web are fucking pathetic pussies.

"Devils Advocate" question (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923301)

If a private individual runs an anonymizing service, is he protected as a "common carrier", on the off chance that someone figures out that illegal traffic was aided and abetted by such service?

IANAL, I'm just asking...

One Advantage (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921851)

One potential advantage is that I can't get TOR to work with the ISA proxy where I work. Proper configuration is scanty, and help resources have been non-existant. Perhaps this will work more easily in such a setup.

Re:One Advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922019)

Out of curiosity, what possible use do you have for Tor at work?

Re:One Advantage (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922081)

At my office it was the only way to get to the football pools.

They're just changing their sevice. (-1, Flamebait)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921897)

The Private Surfing web based and toolbar version was discontinued on June 20th, 2007. We are currently requiring our customers to download and utilize the software version of the service.

God, give it a fucking rest - it's just a private service.

Fucking Slashdot editors - got your fucking advertising revenue? Huh? Jesus Motherfucking Christ! Talk about Ad (Karama) Whores.....

Re:They're just changing their sevice. (0, Offtopic)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921937)

Fucking Slashdot editors - got your fucking advertising revenue? Huh? Jesus Motherfucking Christ! Talk about Ad (Karama) Whores.....

There are other tech forums, ya know.

Re:They're just changing their sevice. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922667)

but k5 and digg suck so bad.

Yet another alternative. (5, Informative)

kd3bj (733314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921931)

There are many different proxies available at JTAN [jtan.com] .

I've been anonymized (3, Interesting)

ToiletDuk (6366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922045)

As someone who actually paid money for the full Anonymizer service, I'm quite disappointed with the web interface going away and I have missed it dearly. The anonproxy.exe POS that they use crashes pretty much daily for me, something the web proxy never did. I'm upset that I've paid money for a service that lost a significant amount of its value after I purchased it.

Re:I've been anonymized (0, Troll)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922151)

You are full of shit and trying to get internet high-fives. I've been a subscriber and have never had it crash. Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2000 and XP inside a VM in Windows Vista and also in Linux. You didn't lose any money, you lost your anonymous porn surfing and most importantly, you're pissed you can't be an internet tough guy anymore.

Oh my God, a company discontinued a service that they weren't making money on...the world is coming to an end!!!! Wait, didn't RedHat do this?

You FAIL it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922089)

haple3s *BSD [goat.cx]

Really stupid question here... (-1, Flamebait)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922097)

Why do you need an anonymizer? Just curious.

All I can think of is...
  • Whistle blowing: but, that could be done by pay phone or snail mail
  • Police informant: but, that would be abused by false reports, plus police usually have less faith in anonymous reports, although anonymous child abuse reports are taken seriously
  • Political message: ok, I understand that if you're living in a restricted country.
  • Embarrassing stuff: sex diseases, sexual assault support, teen pregnancy, GLBT
  • Illegal stuff: lots of potential for that
OK. So, do any of you have any reasons not on my list?

Re:Really stupid question here... (5, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922135)

YOU JUST WANT TO BE ANONYMOUS.

The flaw is that you're assuming that a desire to be anonymous means you have a REASON to be anonymous.

Re:Really stupid question here... (2, Interesting)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922259)

I don't think it's a flaw to assume that people have reasons for wanting whatever it is they want.

Re:Really stupid question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922365)

Then you don't know people very well.

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922679)

It seems intuitively absurd to think that people want things for literally no reason, because it seems intuitively absurd to think that anything happens for literally no reason. (That's not the same as people wanting things for bad reasons or unjustifiable reasons.) The right or wrong we can argue about, but it's certainly reasonable to think that.

Re:Really stupid question here... (2, Interesting)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922467)

Oh, I have a reason to desire anonymity. I don't like George W. Bush. In today's climate, that's enough reason.

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922843)

Wow. It was just a question and a fairly harmless one at that. By the way, my sig was meant for folks like you. :D

And to think, YOU are the example of INSIGHTFUL. Way to set the bar pretty low. LOL.

Anyway. You have a reason to want privacy. Everyone does. Whether the reason is broad and abstract, such as a desire to relax in a safe space, or whether it's specific, such as fear of retribution, you still have a reason. If you don't have a reason, you're just a lowly animal getting by on stimulus/response.

You're probably a crow. Yea. That's fitting.

Re:Really stupid question here... (2, Interesting)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922421)

The "you don't need privacy if you have nothing to hide" fallacy again?

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/10/20 54219 [slashdot.org]

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922937)

I'll call you the assumer. Since you can assume so much from such a simple question.

And to think I actually thought I might get some smart answers. Boy, was I wrong.

Re:Really stupid question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923151)

Maybe you are so completely ignorant of the debate that your post really was credulous. In which case instead of lashing out at the people criticizing you, you would do well to understand WHY they are criticizing you. In short, what you wrote and particularly the WAY you wrote it is very trollish to anyone who has seen this topic of discussion more than once or twice.

When in Rome does as the Romans do. You haven't followed that precept and now you are mad at the Romans who think you are being rude.

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923425)

Maybe you are so completely ignorant of the debate that your post really was credulous. In which case instead of lashing out at the people criticizing you, you would do well to understand WHY they are criticizing you.
I'm well aware of the issues of privacy under the items on the list I provided. I wanted someone to state specifically why it's important to them and to give me a reason that was unexpected or unique. I guess that's too simple a motivation for you to understand.

The criticism was simply the easier way out. Providing what I wanted was a lot more difficult. When in doubt.. SHRIEK!

In short, what you wrote and particularly the WAY you wrote it is very trollish to anyone who has seen this topic of discussion more than once or twice.
You mean the WAY in which you READ it. There was no connotation in my question. Only the pessimistic one in your head. Get a grip... paranoid boy. (Afraid to sully your real account.. eh?)

It is YOU who is the troll. Trolls want you to react. I wanted you to respond.

when it comes to politics... (general thoughts) (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922429)

...all nations are restricted now, and all governments are in the big brother business. That's the overall general trend and it shows *no* signs of slowing down any.

If anyone doubts that, just think about a few things-are any nations going out of their way to pull monitoring cameras, or is the trend to keep installing more and more, even in the so called "free" nations? How about official eavesdropping and data retention laws for ISPs and so on? Are you feeling lucky with corporate data mining from anyplace, or are all of them complete fucktards about gobbling up all the data they can scrounge? And then "sharing" with the local regime/council/government/ruling class overlords? Are there any nations which haven't jumped on the "terrorism" bandwagon to excuse passing more restrictive laws and for increasing their so called "security" budgets?

The bottom line is, it doesn't matter where you live, if you aren't concerned over voicing your opinion, you aren't paying attention or you have a hidden suicidal death wish you are in psychological denial over or you have never read one history book.

  Sure, a lot of places you still can talk or write-within some restrictions, but eventually your words may come back to haunt you.

    You look back in history it's the same story over and over again, no matter how "cool" governments are, or started out as, no matter how "popular" with "the people", eventually ALL of them have gone through a dictatorial stage and either totally collapsed, or partially collapsed then went through a series of (usually worse) dictatorships. And, again speaking historically, events can change "your" local reality in the space of one day. One single day,. one event is all it takes to completely change things. Some archduke gets whacked. A big legislature building burns down, and a patsy is blamed for it. A very popular young president, then his brother, same thing, whacked, patsies picked up. Some planes hit some ships in a tropical island port. Some other planes hit some buildings. Some subway cars and buses explode. Some insane and too brave for reality idealist stands in front of a tank. A few colonels one night decide to "regime change" locally. A dictator gets sick, leaves the nation to get medical care, a firebrand cleric flies in and takes over. A ruler and his advisors decides to lie about attacks on destroyers, the big lie stands for fourty years.

And so on. Stuff happens. Politics is always chancy. And no, anyone "you", you don't live in a "free" country, although you might not live in one of the more restricted at this point in time countries. The *scale* is the only variable, and history shows us that variables are just that and can and often do change with no notice to you.

    What you thought was safe and free political speech yesterday is now "terrorist hate speech" or some other boggey man phrase they come up with, and you're on the shitlist record for it. Several years ago did you donate some spare change, a few bucks, to some charity? Whoops, now you are on some watch list and could be arrested for aiding the enemy, whoops, merely "detained"...........

Reality is, politics and smugness shouldn't go together.

Re:Really stupid question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922441)

* Whistle blowing: but, that could be done by pay phone or snail mail

* Police informant: but, that would be abused by false reports, plus police usually have less faith in anonymous reports, although anonymous child abuse reports are taken seriously

* Political message: ok, I understand that if you're living in a restricted country.

* Embarrassing stuff: sex diseases, sexual assault support, teen pregnancy, GLBT

* Illegal stuff: lots of potential for that

How about:

* Trolling a site where you've been banned time and again as a troublemaker.

I respect the higher motives of the folks behind TOR and the other anonymizers, but they are head-in-the-clouds idealists. Look at the FAQ for TOR. Try to find anything there that provides a realistic way to respond to abuse by pranksters and wanksters.

"Hack together a list of TOR exit routers and block them, if you can." Gee, thanks guys.

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922921)

How about:

* Trolling a site where you've been banned time and again as a troublemaker.
HA HA HA. I usually fake my hahas with the standard LOL, but this time it's legit. I really am going HA HA HA. Plus, you actually answered my question. You succeeded where others failed. Pretty tuff wasn't it? HA.

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922625)


Political message: ok, I understand that if you're living in a restricted country.


A good percentage of the internet users & slashdot readers are
from the USA. So this is a very valid need what with the Patriot
Act, and all the other stuff which the Supreme Dictator has
changed.

Re:Really stupid question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922629)

anonymous is legion?

Re:Really stupid question here... (4, Insightful)

magores (208594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922851)

I live in China. I can't see bbc, wikipedia, or blogspot without proxies.

Why anonymous? See the first sentence of my post.

/my reasons good enough for you?

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922885)

I live in China. I can't see bbc, wikipedia, or blogspot without proxies.
That falls under restricted country I guess, but hey.. at least you answered the question without the usual slashdot assholiness. :D

I consider that victory.

Re:Really stupid question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923063)

  • oppressed for speaking out
  • stalking
  • unwanted targeted marketing


Here is a great reason for anonymity - if this had've been a real person, they would have been drafted, all for a simple free icecream cone: http://www.snopes.com/military/icecream.asp [snopes.com]

Re:Really stupid question here... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923437)

  • stalking
  • unwanted targeted marketing
Two good answers. Thank you.

Re:Really stupid question here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923329)

It's too bad you were modded down, as you have a really good question. "Why do we need privacy?" is worth asking.

All of the reasons you listed were good ones, but I think the biggest reason I want privacy is that it gives me peace of mind. I can say whatever I want without having to worry about whether my thoughts are going to be tied back to me and follow me around for the rest of my life. Slashdot comments are forever, and I don't want my reputation on the line for every stupid Slashdot comment I make and every Web page I visit. I can express my honest opinion without worrying about political correctness or my relationships with other people or implications for my career. I don't have to worry about whether someone in IT noticed that Google search for "guns" the other day, or if they're going to take it the wrong way.

Slashdotters talk about the FBI watching you or the PATRIOT act or whatever, but I think the biggest threat from eavesdroppers comes from people you know -- people who might even mean well. It comes from family, from the boss, from friends (especially girlfriends and ex-girlfriends), from the gossipy co-worker down the hall, and so on. We do need privacy politically, but I think day-to-day privacy is ultimately more important.

Re:Really stupid question here... (3, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923539)

It's too bad you were modded down, as you have a really good question. "Why do we need privacy?" is worth asking.
I just think it's a question people ought to think about instead of bitch about. I also wanted to fish for some unique answers.

I don't have to worry about whether someone in IT noticed that Google search for "guns" the other day, or if they're going to take it the wrong way.
I think that's unique enough. Heh. I think your other question touches something more abstract about human nature. People tend to assume Y if you searched on X, but your reason may have been Z, so by keeping your search private you avoid the problem entirely. Ex: you surfed for machine guns, so your boss thinks you're going to shootup the office, but you're actually writing a gun smuggling novel in your spare time.

You also could cause yourself to fall under moral discrimination if your boss knew your interests without your providing them. Boss = anti-abortion, You = pro-abortion, and after searching for an abortion clinic, your progress reports mysteriously tank and you have no idea why. You could also run into problems if your boss knew you were searching Monster for "unix+system+administrator", which coincidently is your job title.

Nothing to get excited about (5, Informative)

Lance Cottrell (1130525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922137)

I am the president and founder of Anonymizer.com. Our web based private surfing service was discontinued for one reason. We could not use that technology to deliver the level and quality of service we feel our customers deserve. To effectively deliver a web-based service, one must either disable all active content (which will break most major websites these days) or try to detect and rewrite all links or redirect commands that may be embedded in web pages. It is impossible to do this completely. Any missed links will lead the user to connect directly to the target site and be left exposed.

We have not stopped providing privacy services. They are all now client based. It is the only way to ensure the security of our users. While the basic service is currently windows only (which is sad since I am a Mac person myself) our TNS product is completely functional from Mac or Linux (or Windows).

We are in no way downsizing our services. There were so few active users of our Private Surfing service, compared to our other services; it made no sense to try to keep a broken product limping along.

As far as security goes, since I see a few posts about that, it is simply a matter of personal choice. We deliver the best performance available. In almost 12 years of service no user has ever had his surfing activities compromised in any way. If we had some kind of law enforcement back door, it would hardly be a secret at this point. Alternatives require you to trust some exit point of unknown trustworthiness that may be actively modifying or monitoring content. There are advantages and disadvantages to all security models. In the real world and for most users, I think Anonymizer provides the best solution. Make up your own mind for your own circumstances.

Re:Nothing to get excited about (1)

Catcher80 (639611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922203)

thanks for the explanation man :)

I guess inquiring minds want to know, WILL there be a Mac version of the basic service be provided someday in the near future?

Re:Nothing to get excited about (1)

Lesrahpem (687242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922509)

I really wish more companies had CEO's and presidents as logical and upfront as you seem to be. I ran a small time anonymizer for a long time and I ran into people complaining about the same sorts of things your company has run into. With so many pages including AJAX and other stuff like that it isn't really feasible to run a web based anonymizer except for special cases.

Re:Nothing to get excited about (4, Interesting)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 7 years ago | (#19922703)

Our TNS product is completely functional from Mac or Linux (or Windows).

I don't complete understand this statement, because I went to your website and it specifically says that your TNS product is supported in windows only. Could you please explain? Thanks.

Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923087)

"To effectively deliver a web-based service, one must either disable all active content (which will break most major websites these days)"

Huh?

I rarely enable active content, and I rarely encounter web pages which require it.

Sure, if you're going to be using a few of the majors like YouTube or GoogleEarth, okay. But for the most part, the Internet experience is just fine without enabling insecurities like java scripting, Active X, and whatever.

Windows-only (with Vista support still a work-in-p (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922657)

"Windows-only (with Vista support still a work-in-progress)"
how can it be windows only if it doesn't support vista!?!?
shouldn't it be XP only then?

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19922919)

who's gonna anonymize the anonymous cowards? Will this mean I'll have to start posting under the username cowboy neal?

Gee, no bias here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19923121)

"And of course it's closed-source, which means it has few advantages over several other alternatives." ... yea, like the advantage of getting the opportunity to figure out what someone else expects you to do in yet another complicated and confusing way. I mean really. I like open source stuff and all, but I waste so much time guessing at what settings are suppose to do what, or how to use the undefined API, or interpret the non-existant documentation.

Whoopie. Give me that nasty "closed" source stuff any day.

Better Alternatives (2, Informative)

Yahma (1004476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19923159)

Anonymizer had too many restrictions on which sites you could browse.
We've had better web proxy alternatives with fewer restrictions for years... BlastProxy [blastproxy.com] and ProxyStorm [www.proxystorm] are two web based anonymous proxies that I often use.
Other networks, such as Tor [eff.org] allow users, who are willing to install additional software components, browse anonymously. Although, nothing really beats the convienence of the web proxies!
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