Follow the Bouncing Line


Remember all those old spy and hacker flicks where you'd find the Authorities (whether cast as good guys or heavies) trying to trace some clever intruder on their network by means of a giant, brightly colored map that plots a line from the point of intrusion to the hacker's location? Except, being a clever hacker, the signal's been routed through a dozen systems in a dozen countries, so that red line goes zig-zagging around the map until, in triumph or despair, someone in that blinking-light-filled room shouts out "I got it!" or "We lost him!"

Yeah, well, now you too can make the red line zig and zag: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released an anonymizing router program called TOR that sends your encrypted data bouncing along a random and hard-to-trace path.