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Free anonymising browser (modified version of Firefox) debuts

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Web users worried about privacy can now use a modified version of Firefox that lets them browse the net anonymously.

The Torpark browser has been created by a hacking group and uses technology backed by digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Torpark uses its own network of net routers to anonymise the traffic people generate when they browse the web.

The browser can be put on a flash memory stick so users can turn any PC into an anonymous terminal.

Hide and seek

The Torpark tool has been created by Hacktivismo - an international coalition of hackers, human rights workers, lawyers and artists.

Torpark uses the Tor network of internet routers set up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that already has tens of thousands of regular users.

Whenever any computer connects to the net it freely shares information about the address it is using. This is so any data it requests is sent back to the right place.

The Tor network tries to stop this information being shared in two ways. First, it encrypts traffic between a computer and the Tor network of routers - this makes it much harder to spy on the traffic and pinpoint who is doing what.

Second, the Tor network regularly changes the net address that someone appears to be browsing from - again this frustrates any attempt to pin a particular browsing session on any individual.

"We live in a time where acquisition technologies are cherry picking and collating every aspect of our online lives," said Oxblood Ruffin, one of the founders of Hacktivismo, in a statement announcing Torpark.

Mr Ruffin was at pains to point out that the anonymising abilities of Torpark had its limitations. Data travelling between the websites people look at and the Tor network is unencrypted and it could be possible to identify users if they visit sites that do not encrypt login sessions.

The programs making up the free Torpark download are small enough to install on a USB flash memory stick allowing people to take the anonymising browser with them. Before now it has been possible to configure Firefox to use Tor and its associated identity hiding programs but Torpark puts all these elements in one package.

Hacktivisimo said that anyone using Torpark might see a slight reduction in their browsing speed as the package of programs connect to the Tor network and scramble traffic.

The Torpark browser includes an clickable icon that lets people switch between anonymous and ordinary browsing.

It may also cause frustration as the regular change of net address may make some sites think that a new user is visiting and ask once more for login details.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5363230.stm

Software link: http://torpark.nfshost.com/

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Let's say someone uses this anonymising browser to access a fake child porn

web site, www.xyz.com, set up by the FBI. Now the Feds want to know who

accessed it. They check their web server logs and find out that the web site

was accessed from 12.34.56.78 (some IP address.) They subpoena the ISP

to find out the identity of the user who used the IP address at the time. Thanks

to the anonymising technology, they won't be able to identify the user who

accessed the web site but the IP address will point to another Tor network

user, possibly Gupt.

Now the million dollar question is, do you think the FBI are going to care that

it wasn't me or you who downloaded child porn but rather someone else who

used our machine as a proxy? Remember that we gave them our implicit

consent to do so by joining the anonymising network.

In other words, is it legal to let a friend use your computer to do something

illegal?

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Interesting point. Internet law is still a bit of a grey area because of the different legal jurisdictions involved

A friend of mine back in the UK regularly downloads music and movies (illegally) though P2P networks - apparently the FBI, MPAA and RCAA (I think) puts out 'trap' files hoping to catch people downloading them red-handed. Some of the P2P networks now have a daily auto-update (a bit like Spybot and Adaware) that specifically screens out those IP addresses.

Stealth surfing" is nothing new, but it does highlight the lack of clarity in the current law. Apparently if you want to do something illegal, do it secretly - otherwise you are just being stupid.

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Interesting point. Internet law is still a bit of a grey area because of the different legal jurisdictions involved

A friend of mine back in the UK regularly downloads music and movies (illegally) though P2P networks - apparently the FBI, MPAA and RCAA (I think) puts out 'trap' files hoping to catch people downloading them red-handed. Some of the P2P networks now have a daily auto-update (a bit like Spybot and Adaware) that specifically screens out those IP addresses.

RIAA

link

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Interesting point. Internet law is still a bit of a grey area because of the different legal jurisdictions involved

A friend of mine back in the UK regularly downloads music and movies (illegally) though P2P networks - apparently the FBI, MPAA and RCAA (I think) puts out 'trap' files hoping to catch people downloading them red-handed. Some of the P2P networks now have a daily auto-update (a bit like Spybot and Adaware) that specifically screens out those IP addresses.

RIAA

link

That's it. BTW - there's a hiliarious spoof ad on the net about the RIAA. They show that part of American Werewolf in London, where the guy dreams about monsters in nazi uniforms breaking into his home, machine-gunning his family in front of his eyes before cutting his throat. It's a "Coming Soon" ad for RIAA home searches ;)

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Interesting point. Internet law is still a bit of a grey area because of the different legal jurisdictions involved

A friend of mine back in the UK regularly downloads music and movies (illegally) though P2P networks - apparently the FBI, MPAA and RCAA (I think) puts out 'trap' files hoping to catch people downloading them red-handed. Some of the P2P networks now have a daily auto-update (a bit like Spybot and Adaware) that specifically screens out those IP addresses.

RIAA

link

That's it. BTW - there's a hiliarious spoof ad on the net about the RIAA. They show that part of American Werewolf in London, where the guy dreams about monsters in nazi uniforms breaking into his home, machine-gunning his family in front of his eyes before cutting his throat. It's a "Coming Soon" ad for RIAA home searches ;)

hahahaa... hilarious :)

btw... the RIAA used the P2P networks to find out what areas were downloading what songs.. and then blasting the local radios and stores for not playing/carrying the music that the demographics showed them was there. awesome cases of duplicity.

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Better to hide pr0n surfing at work with :yes::yes:

Actually, a network administrator would still be able to monitor what web sites you're visiting from your workstation, right Arjit? :unsure: This only prevents the websites themselves from knowing who's visiting their site.

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Actually, a network administrator would still be able to monitor what web sites you're visiting from your workstation, right Arjit? :unsure: This only prevents the websites themselves from knowing who's visiting their site.

No - all they would see is encrypted traffic going to a random machine in the network.

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Actually, a network administrator would still be able to monitor what web sites you're visiting from your workstation, right Arjit? :unsure: This only prevents the websites themselves from knowing who's visiting their site.

No - all they would see is encrypted traffic going to a random machine in the network.

the url would still show up on the net log. and most network admin would figure out what you're doing and block that site. all this type of site does is hide your identity from the website you are visiting, it's not doing a thing to hide your identity from the computer you are sending from. so a net nazi could monitor you all day long.

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