Surf Behind Closed Blinds

SAN FRANCISCO (05/08/2000) - It happens all the time: You surf in search of specific information, and as an unwanted bonus you're inundated with e-mail from companies that have learned your name and address.

Privada has designed a way to help you keep your private information away from prying eyes. PrivadaProxy is subscription software that has just been upgraded to version 2.0.

Available as a download from Privada's Web site, the program costs $5 monthly for each account.

Improvements to the latest version include a new user interface that lets you more easily make changes to your privacy status. Privada has also enhanced the program's cookie control, so you can block or delete cookies that came from specific sites. Also, an automatic upgrade feature is added.

Measure Your Anonymity

To test your browser's privacy, you can click a test button on the Privada home page. My test indicated that my connection wasn't quite secure enough, and to prove that I was sharing my identity with the masses, it listed my Internet address.

When I downloaded PrivadaProxy, the site also automatically sent Web Incognito and Messaging Incognito services to help shore up both e-mail and browser security. Web Incognito is a Web security service that uses PrivadaProxy to connect you to the Privada Network. It works with most standard browsers and provides anonymity when you're surfing the Web. Instead of blocking cookies altogether, Web Incognito lets you store them in a directory on the Privada network so they are not directly accessible on your system.

Messaging Incognito provides anonymous, bidirectional e-mail using standard e-mail programs. Essentially, this service lets you control how much personal information you release while visiting Web sites. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone to link your real-world and online personae.

In case all this added security is used irresponsibly, Privada can track down abuse. The company has the unique capability to trace messages through its Privada Network and back to the Internet service provider where offending messages originated. Then Privada will work with authorities to unravel the identity of the otherwise-anonymous Privada user.

Encouraging responsible use is one of Privada's guiding principles, says Dwight Witherspoon, Privada spokesperson.

Privada aims PrivadaProxy 2.0 and its two services not only at individuals. The company is cutting deals with ISPs, Internet portals, and e-mail providers that want to offer their customers personal privacy on the Internet. These service providers can license the Privada Network and provide Web Incognito directly to their customers.

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