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Canadian company develops browser that hides your identity

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A company with the uninspiring name Zero Knowledge claims to have a new browser, Freedom 1.0, that will ensure 100 per cent anonymity on the Net. Demonstrated yesterday at the Demo99 technology conference in California, Freedom 1.0 hides a user's identity with a combination of encryption, re-routing and username aliases. The new browser is unaffected by current restrictions on distributing encryption technology in the US, as Zero Knowledge is based in Canada. This throws another spanner into the works of the already heated Internet privacy debate. Zero Knowledge, however, denies it could be held responsible for any resulting illegal activity. While such technology will stop you being spammed as a result of simply surfing the Net, it could open the door to widespread abuse. Austin Hill, president of Zero Knowledge, said: "All Zero Knowledge has is encrypted data. Even if we are subpoenaed for information about a customer, our answer would have to be [that] we don't know." David Kerr, chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation UK, voiced concerns: "A browser that makes the user anonymous in terms of which sites they visit is, I think, a good thing. But traceability for people publishing, posting and sending material is something we are worried about, and this could pose a problem." Freedom 1.0 will be beta tested in March and should be generally available in the spring. ®

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