Cyberview 16-18-02

I’ve had a few e-mails asking how to use the internet anonymously and avoid sites finding out who you are or where you are accessing their content from. One of the better sites to help you keep your surfing private is anonymizer.com (www.anonymizer.com), which effectively lets you use its site to access other sites. Benefits include the ability to not give other sites information about where you are logging on from.

If you think free web-based e-mail services such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail don’t reveal where you are logging on from, be warned that they do. People can track down where your e-mails are coming from and on which computer they were written.

What Anonymizer does is scramble the information that is passed between your computer and network and a third-party site. There is a small fee of $30 (£20) a year to use the full version of Anonymizer, but for anyone who values their privacy, it is a small price to pay. The software can work as a download to your computer or through the web. A free version of Anonymizer is also available with some restricted features.

 

Viral marketing to promote the latest Austin Powers film Goldmember appears to have backfired after websites started complaining that they didn’t like their sites being given an Austin Powers makeover. Film company New Line has created a site that allows people to enter a web address and then the site entered features a promotional banner of the film at the top of the page and gold colouring on the page.

What has happened is that search site Google has begun to index sites that feature the Austin Powers marketing and in the process many are upset to see their sites overtaken by New Line, which now features on the Google web index.

"I did a Google search on nthposition.com and was surprised to see that the entire site was available on austinpowers.com’s proxy server," said Val Stevenson, owner of current affairs e-zine nthposition. "My site is publicly available with what looks like either an endorsement from Goldmember or a banner ad. The code is not the code I painstakingly wrote and it looks like a heap of crap."

Stevenson certainly has a valid point – she has put much effort and energy into creating her online offering and now the Austin Powers promotion is hijacking her site. And any other site can be taken over in this way. New Line has a policy which says nothing from its site should be modified, yet it is prepared to create a marketing campaign that allows other sites to be modified without permission and be used to promote its films.

Leslie Bunder

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