One major issue for anyone using the Internet in states which tightly control and police online access is not getting caught surfing forbidden sites or downloading denied data. Some American hackers have released a program that allows surfers to hide their tracks. Ian Hardy filed this report on the browser they call Camerashy.
One new, simplistic program claims to be powerful enough to outsmart government and corporate crackdowns around the world. The software is called "Camerashy."
The Pull, Hacker: "It's a steganographical browser, which means that you browse websites with it and it automatically scans the web page for steg encrypted images."
Camerashy makes it easy to hide secret information inside webpages that can only be accessed by other authorized viewers. Steganography, or the art of hiding messages, has been around for centuries but in the digital age a whole novel of 100,000 words can now be hidden in a single photograph.
The Camerashy software was launched in New York in front of a crowd of hackers and political and social activists. Many applauded the new release that fits onto a floppy disc and, once removed from the drive leaves no trace of itself or the websites visited, an important consideration in countries like Cuba and Saudi Arabia where internet restrictions are commonplace.
At the Manhattan office of Human Rights in China there is great enthusiasm for any new software that enables people in China to finally see websites that are blocked by government firewalls and the Internet Police. Camerashy might open a flood gate of information, flowing to and from China.
But in the world of secret messages and steganograhy, it's a constant battle to outwit the other side. Every time a piece of hacker software is released foreign governments intent on censorship try to detect and defeat it.
Ironically the biggest threat to Camerashy might come from Western network security firms who immediately try to stop the software being used by British and American workers within corporations for, perhaps, downloading pornography or swopping sensitive corporate information with the world.