From: Declan McCullagh (
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 17:36:43 -0500
Subject: FC: SafeWeb's anonymous-surfing technology is not that safe

The Martin-Schulman paper:

PrivSec's free SafeWeb-licensed service: (username: demo, password: secure)

   SafeWeb's Holes Contradict Claims
   By Declan McCullagh (
   12:35 p.m. Feb. 12, 2002 PST
   WASHINGTON -- SafeWeb's anonymous-surfing technology turns out not to
   be very safe after all.
   A pair of researchers has unearthed flaws in the CIA-funded product
   that contradict the company's claims of "complete privacy" and reveal
   the supposedly confidential information of customers.
   Founded in April 2000, SafeWeb marketed an advertising-supported
   service said to allow users to browse the Web anonymously. In
   interviews, SafeWeb CEO Jon Chun boasted that the technology had been
   "through the rigors of the CIA's stringent review process, which far
   exceeds those of the ordinary enterprise client."
   Citing the economic downturn, SafeWeb abandoned the free service in
   November 2001. It has licensed its anonymizing technology to another
   company, PrivaSec, which currently offers the service for free and
   plans to charge for it soon.
   In a paper (PDF) released on Tuesday, David Martin, a Boston
   University computer scientist, and Andrew Schulman of the Privacy
   Foundation say that SafeWeb's assertions were more hopeful than true.
   They say, and SafeWeb has acknowledged, that flaws in the company's
   architecture allow a website to use JavaScript to obtain the concealed
   Internet address of the visitor. Because of SafeWeb's centralized
   technology, that page can also download a browser's cookies and obtain
   copies of subsequent Web pages visited during that session.


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