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MacEdition ProNews February 12, 2001

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

Staying on shred-ule

Privacy is important to many people, especially if you don’t want anyone to be able to snoop around your hard drive long after you supposedly deleted those pictures of squirrels, caught in the compromising position of cavorting with groundhogs – and in open meadows, no less!

Should you be one of those people who need that level of security (or just want to make people wonder), here’s a press release that may be of interest.


Vancouver, British Columbia, February 10, 2001 – The Mireth Technology Corporation ( has release version 1.8 of the Macintosh privacy utility NetShred.

NetShred, with Browser Watch Technology, is a software utility that permanently erases files you created when using the Internet. Each time it is run, NetShred erases web browser cache, browser history files and email trash. It supports several web browsers and email applications, and can be run either manually or automatically (when you quit from your browser or email application, or when you shutdown your computer.) NetShred also works with Netscape profiles, will find cache files that are not in the default location and will allow you to select the pattern with which the data is overwritten.

Prior to version 1.8 file contents would be overwritten multiple times (as configured by the user) but the file name was only overwritten one time. Version 1.8 adds support for multiple overwrites of file names so that the file name is protected to the same degree as the file contents. Version 1.8 also completes the rebranding of this product from The ARC Company to the Mireth Technology Corporation.

For more information please see:

Aural fixation

The Macintosh radio world has gained another entrant. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Macinchat Radio has launched itself in MP3 format. It’s always interesting to see what new ideas will be coming into the Mac Web space.

That floating face is more than a little disturbing, though.

Buckaroo Bonsai Kitten

Warning: The following is not for the faint of heart...

MacEdition does not condone animal cruelty in any form. Yet a site depicting just such a thing is worthy of mention here. Why? Because, as long as this is indeed a “joke” (and not a high-tech kitty snuff operation), the story plays into the broader tale of liberty, free expression, US law and the enforcement of “taste”.

What is the site? Bonsai Kitten. Yes, as the name implies, their slogan is: “Dedicated to preserving the long lost art of body modification in housepets.” It is quite a sick idea. Controversial sites, though, come and go on the Internet. What’s special about this one?

Well, it had to come from our friends at The Register UK, in a story about the US FBI investigating this site and its creators. They’ve been keeping tabs on the issue and it seems that the FBI is taking this quite seriously.

Assuming this is all a massive Photoshopping, this situation plays into defining the line where freedom of expression ends and “crimes of intent” begin. Is it actually against the law (in the US and elsewhere) to show a picture of animal cruelty if no animal was harmed? How would this be different if it were a human? What if the human were a minor? Well, according to current US law, it would be illegal to present a minor in one of these situations, even if the child was never involved, nor even if there never was a real child at all – the image was created to appear as a child. So will the same apply to animals? If it is not applied to animals, will that ripple back to humans?

To those who seek to express all manner of creative results, in good taste or poor, this will be an investigation worth watching. As the boundaries between real and fake blur and fictional images become some people’s reality, governments will want to control the outcome, control the freedom to create from imagination that which reality wouldn’t or shouldn’t allow. That’s not a Mac-specific issue. That’s an issue that affects all of us, regardless of platform.

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