Other
Commentary
9/12/2005
09:40 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Anonymity Should Be Protected, And Unnecessary

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Anonymity Should Be Protected, And Unnecessary
2. Today's Top Stories
    - Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 Released, First Bug Surfaces
    - First Look: Firefox 1.5 Beta 1
    - New Windows Vista Beta And Visual Studio Preview Coming Soon
    - Microsoft Opens Security Service Beta To All
3. Breaking News
    - Microsoft Looks To Developers To Catch Up To Google, Yahoo
    - CIOs Have Strongest IT Hiring Plans For Fourth Quarter Since 2002, Poll Finds
    - Interview: Cerf Discusses His Jump To Google
    - Lew Platt, Former HP CEO, Dies At 64
    - Japanese Company To Acquire PalmSource
    - Microsoft Hawks Its IPTV Platform
    - Microsoft Goes Retail
    - One Critical Windows Patch Planned
    - FBI Progress On Enterprise Architecture Management Not Good Enough For Congressional Auditors
4. In Depth: Katrina
5. Voice Of Authority: Ballmer Vs. Salesforce.com's Benioff
6. White Papers: Business Intelligence
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." -- H.L. Mencken


1. Editor's Note: Anonymity Should Be Protected, And Unnecessary

Last week my colleague Tony Kontzer expressed concerns over a presentation he heard about the Stealth Surfer drive:

"... a pocket USB storage device that's commercially available, highly affordable, and undoubtedly one of the biggest pains in the rear end ever to hit cybercrime-fighting. Pre-loaded with a Mozilla Firefox browser and an assortment of clever little applications, including one called the Anonymizer that uses SSL encryption to hide all IP activity, the Stealth Surfer allows a PC to be used for browsing, E-mail, and God-knows-what-other online activities with nary a shred of evidence left behind. That's because all the caching, history, cookies, keystrokes, and data is stored on the device. Even the applications run entirely on the device, making them invisible to network administrators. (As you can see, this would also be an extremely handy device for anyone wanting to job hunt on company time.)

"A few cops, images of evidence walking away dancing in their heads as they listened, let out sighs and whews and sheeshes and any other low-key indicator of shock and dismay they could muster."

I'm sufficiently mistrustful of authority that I'm glad that gadgets like the Stealth Surfer exist.

By definition, anonymity is used to hide behavior that the user doesn't want other people to know about. In a free society, those activities are usually immoral and sometimes illegal. They can include criminal activities such as child pornography, terrorism, and drug trafficking. They also include activities that are legal but that many people would like to eliminate, such as viewing porn involving adults.

So it's easy to see why some people would view anonymity as a threat.

But even in a free society, anonymity is often used to protect beneficial activities. People go online to learn about addictions, sexual problems, diseases they fear they might have. We might prefer that they learn about these things through more open channels--we might prefer that the teenager who feels unwholesome sexual longings go to a parent, guardian, clergyman, or teacher to discuss the issues--but sometimes people are afraid. And anonymity can help a person feel less afraid, less alone, and get the courage to step forward and face a problem head-on.

So far, I've been talking about anonymity in free societies. Totalitarianism brings another layer of complication into the discussion. Anonymity is essential to dissent and planning political change in totalitarian regimes. Here in America, we take for granted the right to go on the Internet, denounce powerful people as thieves, liars, and cowards, and proceed on with our day without fear of any recrimination at all (except for nastygrams from people who like the leadership, of course). But in other countries, you can get thrown into prison for engaging in political speech the government doesn't like. In those nations, anonymity is an essential tool for political change.

Moreover, the ability to be anonymous, if we so choose, is what helps keep free societies like America free.

So I for one am glad to know that there are tools out there like Stealth Surfer. Like the earthquake survival kit in the garage, I have no plans to ever use the thing, but it's comforting to know it's there if I ever need it.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Stories

Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 Released, First Bug Surfaces
Faster patching is one of the features of the next major version of the browser. That'll be put to the test soon, as researchers warn of a security hole.

First Look: Firefox 1.5 Beta 1
Mozilla's popular browser Firefox undergoes its first major upgrade, but the company is being careful to tweak rather than overhaul.

New Windows Vista Beta And Visual Studio Preview Coming Soon
The software will be distributed at a developers' conference this week.

Microsoft Opens Security Service Beta To All
Microsoft has opened the beta program of its OneCare antivirus service to all comers after keeping the list short since testing began in June.


3. Breaking News

Microsoft Looks To Developers To Catch Up To Google, Yahoo
Microsoft plans to release several APIs designed to help developers build applications that use MSN Search.

CIOs Have Strongest IT Hiring Plans For Fourth Quarter Since 2002, Poll Finds
Corporate expansion and increased customer- and user-support needs are driving the need for more IT staff.

Interview: Cerf Discusses His Jump To Google
Vinton Cerf, often called the "father of the Internet," sees a growing need for innovation in software that can find creative uses for the sea of data flowing into the Internet each day.

Lew Platt, Former HP CEO, Dies At 64
Platt was CEO of HP for seven years until his retirement in 1999. He later served as director and chairman of Boeing.

Japanese Company To Acquire PalmSource
Troubled Palm OS developer PalmSource is being acquired by a Japanese mobile software vendor in a $324 million deal.

Microsoft Hawks Its IPTV Platform
Microsoft came to last week's International Broadcasting Convention with its media-processing chip and a host of set-top box offerings.

Microsoft Goes Retail
When Microsoft looks at the road ahead, it sees Apple. According to a report in the New York Post, Microsoft is considering One Times Square as a possible location for a flagship retail store.

One Critical Windows Patch Planned
Microsoft has only one security bulletin ready to release next week, a sharp drop-off from the half-dozen that were needed in August.

FBI Progress On Enterprise Architecture Management Not Good Enough For Congressional Auditors
The FBI is managing its enterprise architecture program in accordance with many best practices, but other needed procedures have yet to be adopted, the GAO says.

All our latest news

Watch The News Show: John Soat has "The ABCs Of IT" in the current episode.

Also in Friday's episode:

Aaron Ricadela with "Gates Goes to College"

Elena Malykhina with "Campus Tech"

Eric Chabrow with "Ready, Fire, Aim"


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

Drop In IT Confidence
As IT confidence dips in the third quarter of 2005, business-technology managers are feeling uncertain about the U.S. economy and industry prospects. Learn how this will impact business and technology initiatives for the remainder of the year in InformationWeek Research's Evolving IT Priorities 3Q research.

Government Enterprise
For all the latest government news, opinions, and trends, check out our newly redesigned and expanded Government Enterprise site.

IT's Response To Katrina
InformationWeek's complete hurricane impact and recovery coverage from a high-tech perspective.

-----------------------------------------


4. In Depth: Katrina

'Katrina Effect' Could Cost Chip Market Billions
A trade group explains the gloomy forecast: Rising gas prices could mean the loss of significant discretionary income, in turn cutting down on chip-related purchases like consumer electronics.

Katrina Fallout Might Affect Chip Supplies
The storm shut down a plant that produces hydrogen used in the manufacturing of silicon wafers, a development that one research firm says could have significant long-term consequences.

FEMA Will Fix Assistance Web Site
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it's working on upgrading the Web site, which previously had been blocked to Mac users, Linux users, Firefox users, and anybody else not using Internet Explorer 6 or later with JavaScript enabled.

WiMax To Help With Katrina Relief
A group of vendors is working to install hot-spots in shelters and remote areas to help storm victims reconnect with loved ones and find other types of help.

Satellite Company Exec Living Katrina's Wrath
Globalstar chairman and CEO Jay Monroe's home in New Orleans was in the path of the storm, and he and much of his family are among the displaced.

DOJ, FBI Pool Resources For Battle With Katrina Fraudsters
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force as he toured the destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi.


5. Voice Of Authority: Ballmer Vs. Salesforce.com's Benioff

Ballmer Vs. Benioff? I Can Hardly Wait!
Tony Kontzer says: For once, Microsoft may be picking the wrong battle, but brother, would I pay to see Steve Ballmer and Marc Benioff in the ring. A long line of opponents lay in the wake of Redmond--Netscape, Sun, the U.S. Department of Justice--but when Ballmer said Thursday that Microsoft would give Benioff's software-as-a-service juggernaut, Salesforce.com, "a run for its money," he may have invited more than he bargained for.


6. White Papers: Business Intelligence

The 5 Styles Of Business Intelligence
Learn why companies need a single integrated platform for all five styles of business intelligence: enterprise reporting; cube analysis; ad hoc query and analysis; statistics and data mining; and report delivery and alerting. A single platform provides a unified interface and other benefits.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

Try InformationWeek's RSS Feed

Discover all InformationWeek's sites and newsletters

Recommend This Newsletter To A Friend
Do you have friends or colleagues who might enjoy this newsletter? Please forward it to them and point out the subscription page.


8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

To unsubscribe from, subscribe to, or change your E-mail address for this newsletter, please visit the InformationWeek Subscription Center.

Note: To change your E-mail address, please subscribe your new address and unsubscribe your old one.

Keep Getting This Newsletter
Don't let future editions of InformationWeek Daily go missing. Take a moment to add the newsletter's address to your anti-spam white list:
InfoWeek@update.informationweek.com

If you're not sure how to do that, ask your administrator or ISP. Or check your anti-spam utility's documentation. Thanks.

We take your privacy very seriously. Please review our Privacy Policy.

InformationWeek Daily Newsletter
A free service of InformationWeek and the TechWeb Network.
Copyright (c) 2005 CMP Media LLC
600 Community Drive
Manhasset, N.Y. 11030

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.