About this project
Check out our new videos! Our friends at The Buzz Lab made some great videos that help explain some of the ways to use SurfEasy to protect your privacy. You can see all of them on our Vimeo page or watch the one below that explains how SurfEasy leaves nothing behind.
Hey Kickstarters, thanks for checking out our project! We’ve spent the last 7 months developing SurfEasy to make it plug and play easy for anyone to secure their online privacy and freedom on virtually any computer or network. Now we need your help to get them produced.
SurfEasy is designed to do 4 things really simply:
1. Protect your online freedom: Bypass firewalls and other tools that are used to block or restrict access to your favorite sites – on any computer. This could be accessing Facebook at work or BBC news while traveling in China. (See FAQ for details).
2. Protect your online privacy: Encrypt all of your web browsing and prevent anyone from monitoring what you do online. This includes company networks, wifi-sniffers, your Internet Service Provider and others.
3. Use your own personal browser everywhere: SurfEasy’s password protected USB key lets you carry your own personal web browser with you in your wallet or purse. This lets you have all of your bookmarks, usernames, passwords and other preferences with you on any computer.
4. Leave no trace: SurfEasy is designed to leave no personal information on any computer you use. Plug it in to any PC or MAC and when you’re done, simply unplug it and walk away with all your personal information. No trace is left behind on any computer.
How many different computers or networks do you use during the course of a week or month to access your online life? I picked a random week and counted my use – 5 different computers and 23 different networks – and of those I only had confidence that my online privacy was reasonably protected on 1 computer and 1 network. For the other computers and networks (at work, at hotels, wifi hotspots, etc.) I had to trust third parties to secure the personal information I was transmitting over their networks or leaving on their machines. In many cases, I knew my information was not secured, or worse, actively being monitored. The goal of SurfEasy is to make it plug and play simple to protect your online freedom and privacy – to let you be confident in your privacy on any computer.
SurfEasy is a combination of a unique USB key and custom software. Lets start with the hardware.
Nearly as thin as a credit card, the SurfEasy USB key and holder are designed to be easily carried in your purse or wallet. We spent a lot of time on this custom industrial design to make it as thin as possible, while maintaining durability and great looks. The finish is a UV coating similar to what you would see on Apple products – it looks great and provides a scratch resistant finish.
Why a credit card? We considered other form factors, like a key chain, but we wanted something that you would be able to carry with you every day without hassle. We thought about frequent travelers and what they would carry with them. Most people don’t carry their keys on vacation, but you’ve almost always got your wallet. After all, your wallet is where you store some of your most important personal belongings and IDs – why should your online identity be any different?
The USB key itself contains a specialized hardware solution that runs about 3 times faster and last 10 times longer than a standard USB drive. This is important for SurfEasy, since the key holds your own personal web browser and internet connection encryption software. Since everything runs from the SurfEasy key (never on the computer) it’s important that the key is as fast and durable as possible. We expect your SurfEasy key to last over 3.5 years with daily use.
The software on SurfEasy is a highly-modified, patent pending browser based on the Mozilla platform that includes an embedded custom SSL tunnel solution, which wraps all your browsing in the same encryption used by the big banks. Your personal web browser looks and acts just like your normal web browser, but in the background a lot of custom development ensures your online privacy and ease of use. Here are just a few of the custom features:
Password protection locks access to the SurfEasy key and all your personal information whenever the USB is removed or after a period of inactivity.
Patent pending management of a complex network of private encrypted proxies that protect your online privacy and freedom without you having to press one button.
Custom Google search solution that lets you get localized search results behind a proxy network without passing your IP address.
Access some media that may be blocked in your country. (see FAQ's for details)
A lot of really hard stuff that makes everything look easy!
We’ve gotten a lot of the hard work done, but we need your help to start our first production run. Our product is designed and custom handmade samples have been created. Our software is working very well in beta and now we need to put it all together. With your support we will move forward into tooling and production and begin shipping SurfEasy’s to Backers in early October.
We like TOR very much and think its a great solution for a set of people. However for day to day consumer use it can be slow. Our product uses our own secure proxy solution which is design to provide a secure but fast browsing experience. Also, we're really trying to make the product easy to use for non-technical people. We've added a lot of features that we think make the experience a lot easier and more natural for any user. As an example:
-We have custom Google search solution that lets the you get normal location based results without passing your IP address or other unique information.
-Our hardware uses a very special chip-set and flash that is more commonly used for Flash based RAM extensions - its much faster than normal flash which makes for a much better portable browsing experience.
-We mount our USB as a CD drive to allow for auto-start, so its plug and play easy
.-SurfEasy uses firmware based locking controls on the USB key to password protect your data
.-SurfEasy uses a patent pending proxy detection and management solution that lets the key connect to open proxy's from behind firewalls.
At this time no, but we are working on a feature that will detect software based key logging. We expect this will be available in an update later this year
No - we secure the internet connection on any web enabled computer. But the computer you're using needs to have internet access.
In most cases, Yes - but we want you to be careful here.
SurfEasy uses an encrypted proxy solution that wraps your browsing in an SSL Encrypted Tunnel and routes it through our private proxy network before going to the web. This means that the network administrator will not be able to see (or block) the site you're going to, but they will still see that you are using the internet and they can always walk by your desk.
We do not recommend using SurfEasy if doing so violates your company's IT policy or laws in your country.
We really hope you do - but if for any reason you're not happy with your SurfEasy we'll let you return it for a full refund of your kickstarter pledge.
Nope - your SurfEasy key is password protected. If you loose your key or forget to remove it from the computer, SurfEasy will automatically lock and prevent anyone from accessing your browser without the password.
SurfEasy supports Windows XP, Vista and 7 along with Mac 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and 10.7 (Lion).
SurfEasy requires an active USB port. SurfEasy will not work on a computer with no USB or one that has been disabled.
SurfEasy uses a highly modified version of Firefox. It looks and works just like you would expect. SurfEasy supports all the standard add-ons and regular updates from Mozilla.
Yes - SurfEasy is completely updateable. SurfEasy uses a modified version of Firefox which will support Mozilla's updates and security patches along with any custom updates from SurfEasy.
SurfEasy works by routing your browsing through a network of encrypted proxy's. These proxies are primarily located in the United States and some are within Canada. We are working on expanding the network to include Europe, Asia and other regions and allowing users to manually select which country they want to connect through.
When you are connected to one of these proxies you will appear to be located in that country to the website that you are visiting. For most websites this will mean that you will access content including media that is intended only for that country and restricted in the country you're actually in.
For legal reason (which we are getting more educated about) SurfEasy does not "officially" support this type of usage but we do get questions about if it will work. We have heard rumors of someone using a SurfEasy beta product in Canada successfully accessing sites like Pandora. This rumor also suggests Hulu does not work - but that there may be a product enhancement coming in the near future that could change that.
SurfEasy is perfectly legal in western countries and most of the rest of the world as far as we know. SurfEasy uses similar technology that has been used for years by banks and other large corporations to protect the security and privacy of their data when employees are working remotely. We are aware that Pakistan has recently banned the use of internet privacy tools - but other than that we do not know of any other countries that ban these types of solutions. Please check if you're unsure.
That said - like most things SurfEasy is only legal if you use it in legal ways. If you run around the streets poking people in the eye with the USB key, then you might have some police officers looking for you. To be clear, SurfEasy does not support or condone the use of product in any illegal way.
007 Agents might want to go check with Q and see if there's a better product for them.
Joking aside there are important political movements going on around the world and repressive regimes using internet censorship and violence to suppress them. There are brave men and women fighting these fights and putting their lives on the line to do so. We are supportive but humble enough to suggest SurfEasy may not be the right tool for your cause.
SurfEasy is a very effective tool to protect your privacy from prying eyes. We use similar technology and standards that are successfully used around the world by commercial banks and others to protect their online data. However we do not have visibility to the tools available by determined repressive governments and that level of security may not be enough in life or death situations.
If you have any specific questions about this please contact us.
Fear not if you missed our Kickstarter project, you can purchase your own SurfEasy at http://www.SurfEasy.com
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