Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Disappearing Into the FOG

I seem to have a knack for predicting the future, or, barring that, at least making pretty good educated guesses. I haven’t been keeping track, but since writing “What So Proudly We Hailed”, three years ago, I’ve seen roughly two dozen concepts from the book come to fruition in the real world, ranging from mandatory healthcare to RFID implants that can kill the wearer remotely.

Here’s another interesting news article I read today:
FTC proposes Do Not Track tool for Web marketing

Compare that with the below excerpt from “What So Proudly We Hailed” written in the summer of 2007:

FOGNet was the first company to take advantage of the situation. What FOGNet did was allow you to log into their system first, at which point you would receive a randomly generated IP address. From there you could then surf the web, visit chat rooms, send email – whatever you wanted – and no one could trace anything back to you. No “cookies”, no electronic trail; nothing. And no one could access FOGNet’s records either, because they didn’t have any. They didn’t have any storage at all. No disc, no tape; nothing at all. Everything just passed through and anything you did just vaporized in the next instant.

Their company slogan was “Disappear Into the FOG”, and that’s exactly what millions of people did.

The only problem was, you were still trusting someone else – yet another corporation – to provide your anonymity, and it wasn‘t long after FOGNet and a couple of other like startups hit the scene that the first scramblers entered the market. Scramblers did essentially the same thing – scrambled your IP address so you looked like a different user every time – but it was hardware that you could buy and own, and in doing so, not have to put your faith into a service provider like FOGNet, because, let’s face it, who really knew how benevolent they were either?

Huh. Pretty good shootin', don't you think?

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