Archive for July 2007
A number of people have commented on this non-story regarding Anonymizer discontinuing services for Private Surfing. Some comments are making false or misleading statements, so I will address the issue here in hope to set the record straight.
Anonymizer chose to discontinue Private Surfing because its basic methodology was reaching the end of its useful life. The product was very effective when Web sites were simple, flat HTML. Today, most popular Web sites require active content to function. Active content presents a major problem in URL re-writing proxies; hostile code can cause the browser to make a direct connection to the server, thus exposing the user’s identity.
Anonymizer’s Private Surfing product used very sophisticated techniques to parse and re-write the active content to enable it to work safely. Despite our best efforts though, we felt that Private Surfing would not be able to maintain what is considered to be an acceptable level of service by Anonymizer’s standards. We feel that it is not possible to provide functional active content and full security without the use of client software. To be clear, Anonymizer has only discontinued its web-based private surfing service—Anonymizer still provides client-based privacy services.
Anonymizer started the process to “end of life” Private Surfing many months ago. Subscribers were notified in advance and automatically transitioned to our latest privacy protection solution,Anonymous Surfing, at no additional charge for one year.
Anonymizer is in no way backing away from its commitment to deliver the most secure online privacy services for consumers, businesses and government organizations.
I am posting this to help the World Privacy Forum test if web advertisers actually honor their own opt-out systems. This should provide some very interesting hard data on the actual activities of big on-line web advertisers.
They are running a test on the Opt Out page of the Network Advertising Initiative site and are looking for volunteers. The idea is to determine how well the opt out page is working, for which systems and which browsers.
Here are the directions:
(To run this test, you will need to set your browser to accept cookies)
1. Open site: http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp
2. Check all of the opt out boxes you will see on the right hand column of the screen.
3. Click the submit button. (bottom of page)
4. Note how many of the opt outs were successful. (Successful opt outs will have a green check mark next to them, unsuccessful opt-outs will have a red X mark next to them.
5. Please tell us your OS and OS version, and your browser and browser version.
6. If you can, please send us a screen shot of your result page.
7. Please email results to firstname.lastname@example.org
8. We are closing the test period on Thursday, July 26, at close of business (Pacific).
Yet more evidence of the use of the Internet as a part of modern asymmetric warfare. From recruiting and fundraising, to direct attacks on IT infrastructure, the Internet is now a key tool for both sides of the conflicts.