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Lance Cottrell

Last Edit: 25/02/19

Lance Cottrell is a computer security expert who is viewed as a pioneer of Internet anonymity, and the founder of anonymizer.com in 1995. Cottrell founded anonymizer.com while studying for a Ph.D in astro physics at the University of California, San Diego. The purpose of the anonymizer.com website can be summed up from an introduction published on that website in 1997: "Many people surf the web under the illusion that their actions are private and anonymous. Unfortunately, it isn't so. Every time you visit a site, you leave a calling card that reveals where you're coming from, what kind of computer you have, and other details. Most sites keep logs of all your visits. In many cases, this logging may constitute a violation of your privacy. Our "anonymizer" service allows you to surf the web without revealing any personal information. It is fast, it is easy, and it is free."

Anonymizer.com logo from 1997
(Pictured: Anonymizer.com logo from 1997)

In 1997, anonymizer.com had a fairly basic design, with one 'free' primary anonymiser service that 'masked' users IP address: users simple had to enter a website URL into a search box, and the website would "jump" to that URL anonymously. By 2004, the website had expanded its services to include a range of paid services, such as: Total Net Shield; Safe Surfing Suite; Safe Surfing Professional; SpyWare Killer; and a Total System Sweeper. In 2008, the Anonymizer company was purchased by the Abraxas Corporation, which branched off to create a company named Ntrepid. Ntrepid currently operates the Anonymizer website and Lance Cottrell is the chief scientist at Ntrepid.

Lance Cottrell has a youtube channel that is located at youtube.com/user/AnonymizerMan, and features uploads focused upon Internet security and privacy, such as:

In conclusion, Lance Cottrell is an innovator who was at the forefront of Internet privacy services (proxy/vpn) that provide anonymous IPs/tunnels that hide people's Internet usage and connection.