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08/15/2004 Archived Entry: "Cotse.net anonymizing services"

I'VE BEEN EXPERIMENTING WITH COTSE.NET over the weekend. Several folks I know use Cotse as their web and e-mail anonymizing service. I've always avoided it before because ... well, Cotse might as well have a "No Non-Nerds Need Apply" sign on it. It's nowhere near as user-friendly as Anonymizer.com. But it seemed to offer pretty comprehensive privacy services all in one simple, low-cost package.

That it does. Two different kinds of proxies to hide your IP address from casual snoops while you browse, Easy access to the Mixmaster anonymous remailer. Privacy-enhanced web mail and POP/SMTP mail (which also gives you the ability to send all your other outgoing mail through Cotse's servers, while preserving your existing addresses). Anonymous access to IRC and newsgroups. Bunch of other little features like a reminder service and the ability to filter and redirect mail in probably a dozen different ways.

Nice service for just $5.95 a month. When I ran into a configuration problem, however, Cotse's tech support reinforced my "Nerds Only" impression. I got lightning-fast replies, even on a Saturday evening. But they were replies, not actual responses. The attitude was pretty much, "Go figure it out for youself" until I pressed and pressed. Then they gave me a polite, detailed answer. (The problem may be a glitch in one of my browsers; it's not Cotse.net's problem, but they could have helped me eliminate possibilities sooner, rather than later.)

In short, a very good service for those who exactly know what they're doing. Easy to access and reasonably priced. An excellent daily privacy news feature there, as well. But beginners wanting snoop-safe surfing would do better with Anonymizer.com. Or perhaps IDZap.com.

Posted by Claire @ 06:41 PM CST

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