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Once upon a time, back in the late 1990s, Ajaz Ahmed was the founder of an ISP that literally changed the shape of the UK Internet. The reason as to why is hinted at in the name: Freeserve. Ahmed had the vision to understand that free access to the Internet could not only be a success, but a hugely profitable one. Freeserve has long since been history, originally acquired by French ISP Wanadoo for $3 billion (making Ahmed a very rich man in the process) and more recently rebranded as part of the Orange empire. But Ahmed has not lost the urge to create culture changing free business concepts, and his latest venture was officially launched this week: Browzar.

So what is it all about, other than a particularly awful pun? Well how does clicktrail free web browsing grab you. Yes, I know, hardly a new concept really. After all, there are myriad ways of achieving this to one degree or another. However, most of them will cost you money of course, and that is something that Ahmed seems passionately against. So Browzar is free, and small for that matter with a miniscule 264k footprint. Did I say footprint? Sorry, that is a word that is not in the Browzar lexicon, banned along with others such as installation (it requires none) and registration (ditto.) Browzar also does away with cache, history, cookies and auto-complete forms, auto-deleting them all once you are done. What it is not, of course, is an anonymous browser. It does not hide who you are or where you are connecting from, just clears up all the clicktrails and information from the PC you are accessing the web with.

Cool yes, but groundbreaking, well maybe not. If you are already security and privacy savvy, you’ll be clearing up your mess behind you anyway, be that with a Firefox extension, a browser such as NetCaptor which wraps a privacy friendly interface around the IE core engine, or one the numerous third party clean up tools available. If you are a newbie who isn’t privacy and security savvy, then I’m not sure how or why Browzar is going to enter your radar in the first place.

I have to say that I think Ahmed is being more than a little optimistic when he claims “Browzar will do for surfing and searching the web with privacy what eBay did for auctions and My Space did for social networking.” Nevertheless, in fairness, it is only the first in a range of privacy and security products that he will be launching this year, so who knows.

Browzar, which can be run directly from the web or downloaded in flavors for Windows, OSX and Linux, is available now.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by happygeek
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:D

I rather liked:

"I must have been about 14 and was using my Mum’s work computer. For some reason I decided to check what was in her web history. It was mostly benign stuff until the middle where she had: divorce.com, divorce.net, Ask Jeeves, advice about divorce. Yes, I found out that my parents were going to get divorced before my Dad did.”

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What idiots. Privacy nutters gone haywire (even more so than usual).
If a 14 year old kid has access to his mother's work computer something's seriously wrong with the network security at that company (and what was the kid doing in there anyway?).
If a person uses their work computer for private matters, there will be more logs than just the browser cache anyway. Things like firewall and proxy logs (think you can connect to the internet without going through the firewall in any company that's got a network worthy of the name? Think those firewalls don't log your activity?).

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Trouble is, for many people now the 'work computer' is just a laptop in the 'home office' which in turn is the study, spare room, bedroom, corner of the lounge whatever.

Not everyone works for a corporate with a network security infrastructure, especially if they work for themselves or a very small family business for example. In which case the security infrastructure is often nothing more than a software firewall, and then badly configured.

It's all too easy to forget that very small home based business is becoming big news, and bringing with it a whole new threat landscape.

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The adware claims are spurious to say the least, referring to the inclusion of sponsored ads (on a contextual basis) within the search results when using the Browzar search function. Hardly adware by any definition I am familiar with.

As for it being fake, well again I'd like to see the evidence of that. As far as I can see one person claims to have found a way to locate footprint records while using Browzar and the developers have contacted him to discuss this in order that they can close any hole should one be found.

But, as I say in my posting, I am less than convinced Browzar is anything truly new and exciting, and certainly not the revolution in secure browsing that Ahmed would have us believe.

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Here at least the law states that home businesses MUST be separate from the house in all regards in order to be recognised as such.
That means separate entrance, bathroom, heating, water, etc. etc. from the house as well as separate everything else.

If a browser intercepts the data you retrieve and injects its own advertising in that I'd call that spyware, especially if it also sends back information on that retrieved data (which it almost certainly does, with the given footprint it's too small to contain all the logic for determining what ads to inject and what results to exclude from searches because they're competitors of the makers' sponsors).

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I have now had the opportunity to put Browzar through its paces, rather than just write about the release and concept as I have done here.

Thought it merited a whole new blog posting, rather than just another comment.

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