A company by the unusual name of Zero-Knowledge wowed an audience at the Demo '99 conference last week with a demonstration of its Freedom 1.0 application, which ensures 100 per cent anonymity to users browsing the Web through the use of digital pseudonyms.
The program, which creates a pseudonym for $10 per year, hides a Web surfer's true identity. As a result, the program renders useless any user profiles created by tracking mouse clicks or online discussion content.
"Even if we are subpoenaed for information about a customer, our answer would have to be that we don't know," said Austin Hill, president of Zero-Knowledge.
"All Zero-Knowledge has is encrypted data," said Hill, who paused before having a swipe at the US Government's currently restrictive encryption policy. "And our encryption scheme can be shipped worldwide because we are from Canada."
The program is focused on "social interaction" at the moment but can also be useful under other circumstances, said Dov Smith, a spokesman for Zero-Knowledge. Corporations wishing to do research on a competitor's site might want anonymity, Smith said.
Freedom 1.0 will be in beta testing in March and is expected to ship by mid-year.