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Web site passes anonymous tips to FBI



SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- A San Diego company is offering a way to send tips to the FBI that it says keeps the information totally anonymous. The service was launched Thursday, in response to the terrorist attacks on Tuesday.

The company, Anonymizer.com, provides a link on its Web site where people can fill out the FBI's electronic tip form, and submit it with all identifying information completely stripped away.

CEO Lance Cottrell told CNN that even if the identifying information were subpoenaed, the company would not be able to provide it to law enforcement, because, he says, "the information just isn't there."

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Anonymizer.com is best known for software that lets people use the internet anonymously, unidentifiable to the Web sites they visit and to other Internet users.

The same server that provides that option is being used for the tip Web site, to remove identifying information before the tip is sent on to the FBI site.

Cottrell says the FBI supports the Anonymizer tip Web site, because even though authorities would prefer to know where a tip came from, they still want to receive as much information as possible.

Cottrell estimates that the Anonymizer tip site has received hundreds of hits since it was set up on Thursday, but says they may not all be tips -- some are just people checking out the site. Federal authorities say they have received more than 22,000 tips directly through the FBI site.

Anonymizer also donates its services to law enforcement, so authorities can check out suspect Web sites without leaving electronic footprints that would reveal they had been there.

The Anonymizer tip link is at http://anonymizer.com/tips/.






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