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RMI.NET Joins Freedom Network

RMI.NET, Inc., is giving its digital subscriber line, dialup and e-commerce customers tools to keep their identity safe using Zero-Knowledge Systems encryption technology Wednesday.

By placing a Freedom Network server on its network, in conjunction with a customer's purchase of Zero-Knowledge "nym" software, RMI.NET customers can control exactly what personal information is displayed on the Internet. Each nym is a created alias with an email address untraceable past the secured servers.

The announcement was made after public backlash to the packet-sniffing Carnivore program continues to grow. The Bureau's surveillance, or data tap, software has drawn the ire of civil liberty and privacy groups, as well as Internet service providers.

At issue is the FBI's use of intercepting incoming and outgoing e-mail through an ISP's e-mail servers.

Jordan Socran, Zero-Knowledge director of Internet partnerships, said the government's methods are an unecissary and heavy-handed approach to catching criminals.

"Putting a video camera in every house in America will end domestic violence, there's no doubt," Socran said. "But everyone will agree that's not the best way to go about catching criminals."

Concerns about becoming a "den of thieves" couldn't be further from the truth, Socran said, and his company has always been and always will be fully compliant with law enforcement officials. If they come with a complaint regarding a particular user, he said, we will work with them without compromising the user's privacy.

Douglas Hanson, RMI.NET chairman and chief executive officer, said it joined the online security company to give its more than 100,000 customers peace of mind, whether surfing on the Net or sending an e-mail/

"We recognize the importance of our customers' privacy and in keeping with our commitment to providing the best services available, have chosen to join Zero Knowledge's Freedom Network," Hanson said. "The privacy of Internet users is increasingly at risk and we believe that every person should be able to protect themselves from unfair monitoring and personal intrusions."

As part of the agreement, RMI.NET will build servers provided by Zero Knowledge into its network. Customers will then be able to set up their user profiles to display, or not, personal information that is broadcasted on the Web.

Austin Hill, Zero Knowledge president, said it's important for people to guard their personal information in the face of today's Internet.

"As the Internet evolves, if we allow the development of surveillance technologies to monitor the traffic of all Internet users, we will ultimately see the erosion of basic human rights on the Internet," Hill said. "By joining the Freedom Network, RMI.NET is educating and empowering its users to protect their privacy online."

According to a recent Federal Trade Commission survey, the number one reason people do not get on the Internet is due to concerns over their privacy.