February 17, 2019

Freedom 2.0 for Linux: Masking User Identities - page 2

Turning into a Nym

  • January 11, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

The interface for both flavors of Freedom is called the Identity Palette, and it's where you configure the settings for your personal level of security. Most of the initial settings are created the first time you run Freedom. In Linux, it's a good idea to have your browser up and running when you run the /usr/local/bin/freedom command.

Once I established that I was installing the enhanced flavor, I was given a chance to enter a passphrase that would lock my computer down when necessary. After entering this, and my purchased activation code, I could create my first nym. Free users can have one nym, while users of the enhanced version can have up to five.

One nifty feature during the setup was the creation of a cryptography key based on how you move your mouse or click keys on your keyboard, thus assuring a very random key.

Freedom runs in the background every time you start your browser. You have to turn on the ad management, but once enabled, I found they worked flawlessly. I suspect some loopholes in the ad management net will pop up from time to time, since the ads must come from a known ad server to be blocked. If you do run across a new ad server, then you can quickly add it to Freedom's management list.

Cookie management can block all cookies, or just gather them up for one easy delete when you log off. This did raise a bit of a problem, because there are sites that I want to know who I am, such as AccuWeather or Linux Today, where my info is customized for me. Without cookies, there was no way for these sites to recognize me. I have seen other applications that do a better job of letting "good" cookies in, so hopefully Freedom will make their barriers a bit more porous, rather than the all-or-nothing approach they are taking now.

To test the e-mail anonymity, I sent a goof e-mail to a technically literate friend and in the goading message I dared him to track the sender down. I used the maximum security setting, and after a couple of hours of trying, my friend gave up. I owe him a lunch now, to make up for the baiting.

In all, I think Freedom is definitely on the right track for personal security use. The ad and cookie management tools need to be a little more adaptive, but for run-of-the-mill browsing, this is certainly a nice mask to wear.

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