Anonymity Declines As Zero-Knowledge Ends Web Service
Zero-Knowledge Systems is shutting down its online anonymity service and moving in to the personal firewall business.
The Freedom Network is a service, set up in December 1999, that lets people send e-mail and browse the Web under a pseudonym. It encrypts Web pages and messages and passes them through a series of routers that remove the data that could trace traffic movements, according to the company. However, there have not been enough paying subscribers to keep the $59.95 service running, says spokesman Dov Smith.
While early adopters were enthusiastic, Zero-Knowledge has not found a mass market for its service, says Smith. Keeping it running is "not an inexpensive proposition," he says, "and it became clear that most of our users are less interested in the e-mail and anonymous browsing products than in firewalls and other security products. So we are introducing those."
Zero-Knowledge launched a product on Friday that Smith says will find a broader market, including many of the former Freedom Network customers. Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0 is a revamped version of a personal firewall that the company previously had on the market. It includes a form filler and password manager, a cookie manager, an advertisement manager that removes banner ads, and a keyword alert that scans outgoing information for sensitive information the user may not want given out. A cookie is a file, stored on a PC's hard drive, with information about its user's activities on a given Web site.
"This takes us into the Symantec and Nortel space," Smith says. The company plans to promote the product through channel partners and directly to manufacturers. The Royal Bank in Canada has already begun offering the service to its Internet banking customers, he says.
Anonymizer, which offers a