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RealTime IT News

Zero-Knowledge to Shut Down Freedom Network

Zero-Knowledge Systems, which developed a lot of street credibility in privacy expert circles for its Freedom network -- a service which offered anonymous Web browsing and private encrypted e-mail -- said Friday that it will discontinue that service on Oct. 22.

At the same time, the company unveiled Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0, a software package for online security and online privacy protection that includes a personal firewall and a suite of applications including form filler/password manager, ad manager, cookie manager and keyword alert.

"We have decided to focus our main development efforts on this product as well as other software solutions providing online security," said Zero-Knowledge Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Hamnet Hill in a letter to Freedom Premium Services customers.

"This decision was not taken lightly," Hill said. "It reflects the ongoing high cost and limited returns of operating the Freedom Network -- the engine that drives the encryption and anonymity process. This is especially true since our customers and partners increasingly choose to purchase ready-to-use solutions that provide security and safety online -- such as personal firewall, password manager and keyword alert -- rather than nym-based services."

The company will partially shut down the Freedom Network on Oct. 11, taking the majority of Freedom servers offline. Freedom nym mailboxes will also stop accepting incoming mail as of Oct. 11. Customers will still be able to retrieve mail from their mailboxes, send mail and browse the Web anonymously until Oct. 22. On Oct. 22, the network will be completely shut down.

The company said full or partial refunds will be available to all users who have purchased Freedom Premium Services since Jan. 1, 2001. Customers which purchased services on or after July 1, 2001 are eligible for a 100 percent refund. Customers which purchased services on or after April 1st, 2001 are eligible for a 75 percent refund. Customers which purchased services on or after Jan. 1, 2001 are eligible for a 25 percent refund. Alternatively, customers eligible for refunds can instead choose to obtain a free copy of Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0.

Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0 is available for Windows 98, 2000, Me and XP for $49.95.

"Freedom Privacy & Security Tools 3.0 delivers the online protection that Internet users want in an easy and intuitive experience," Hill said. "With an industry-leading firewall and other key security and privacy features, Freedom 3.0 lets users enjoy the Internet while protecting their computers and personal information from hackers and other online threats."