At last year's Chaos Communication Congress, Frank Rieger and Rob Gonggrijp gave a widely discussed keynote speech in which they basically stated that "We lost the war" against the surveillance state. Their main conclusion:
Anonymity will become the most precious thing.It seems both camps - the liberty faction and the surveillance faction - have listened closely, as we have two antagonistic streams of activities focusing on anonymity at the moment. On the one hand, mandatory data retention, criminalizing anonymous internet access in Germany, or the current spy and wiretapping bills in the US Congress put a lot of pressure on anonymous internet use, and the same is done as a side-effect by wifi-sharing business models such as FON.
On the other hand, recent weeks have seen a number of techie initiatives to protect our identity and anonymity while living the online part of life. The "Trackmenot" browser extension to hide your web searches in a constant stream of noise has been ridiculed by some uber-geeks, but still is better than nothing and has been significantly upgraded twice in two weeks. Then we saw "Browzar", a shell for the Internet Explorer which promised to delete all browsing history and related data, but turned out to be more an adware scam, according to the reviews. But even here, the interesting thing is: Someone beyond the geek world thought they would meet some significant demand with anonymous browsing. A good sign, in this regard at least. Of course, we also have had TOR and AN.ON for a while, two onion routing traffic mixer networks that have risen in poularity, but are not really known or used among the normal population yet.
Now, there was a new browser released yesterday that seems to be the real killer application. It is called "Torpark", and it is
an anonymous, fully portable Web browser based on Mozilla Firefox. Torpark comes pre-configured, requires no installation, can run off a USB memory stick, and leaves no tracks behind in the browser or computer. Torpark is a highly modified variant of Portable Firefox, that uses the TOR (The Onion Router) network to anonymize the connection between the user and the website that is being visited.On top of that, it is not only free software, but also has the best street credibility you can imagine. It was developed by Hactivismo, which operates under the aegis of the Cult of the Dead Cow, one of the oldest "white hat" hacker groups in the world.