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Web Service Hides Behavior

Technology developed by dating service lets users mask their identities and activities on the Web

If your IT practices include tracking end user behavior and blocking the use of inappropriate Websites, you may have a new problem.

A new, free service unveiled earlier this week lets end users surf the Web anonymously, blotting out their clickstream history and bypassing site restrictions.

The service, called EverPrivate, is being offered by Private Date Finder LLC, a privately-owned company that originally developed the technology to help protect the anonymity of its Web-based dating service. The company previously offered some of the privacy capabilities via a $40 software package, but the new offering is a more complete package that's free and requires no download.

EverPrivate is a set of Web-based tools that includes an anonymous browser, eraser, and complimentary services to let users hide their IP addresses and wipe out their Web histories. When users log onto the EverPrivate browser, their activity logs register every click as "everprivate.com," and cookies and cache are wiped clean.

"Essentially, it's a Web-based proxy," says Joshua Finer, CTO and executive vice president of EverPrivate.com. The service includes "additional offers" from EverPrivate and advertised offers from other companies, which is how Private Date Finder hopes to make money from the free service, Finer says.

The new service might be very handy for privacy-minded consumers, but it's likely to create problems for businesses that rely on Web behavior monitoring to restrict inappropriate behavior or track end user clickstreams.

"In some cases, this will prevent employers from seeing what employees are doing," Finer concedes. "For example, if they browsed ten adult sites, the employer will see 'everprivatebrowser.com' in their logs, rather than the names of those sites." The anonymous browser will also allow users to go to sites that are blocked by enterprise network software, he says.

EverPrivate could also make it more difficult to track consumer behavior on a commercial Website, Finer observes. Marketing organizations would not be able to distinguish the unique identities of EverPrivate users, for example, which may affect their efforts to monitor site usage.

The new service could also provide "some basic cover" for hackers, who might use it to protect their anonymity. However, the site's ability to wipe out histories, cache, and cookies would not be enough to fully cover a hacker's tracks in the event of a criminal investigation, Finer says.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • EverPrivate.com