BugMeNot pesters onward

When BugMeNot.com, a site that lets surfers circumvent registration forms, went down last...

When BugMeNot.com, a site that lets surfers circumvent registration forms, went down last week, we at CNET News.com feared the worst. But the site lives on.

BugMeNot offers surfers the ability to view content on registration-required sites without filling out the mandatory forms and giving up their personal information. It blinked out roughly midweek but came back online late Friday. Because the site lets people skip the sign-in processes of some major companies, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, we initially assumed they'd been hit with a lawsuit and shuttered.

As it turns out, BugMeNot's host pulled the site's plug for unspecified reasons (cough, ahem, lawyers). But in an e-mail Monday to News.com, BugMeNot's management, which remains anonymous specifically to avoid litigation, offered assurances that its new host, Nearlyfreespeech.net, "fully supports" what the site is doing and has vowed not to shut it down.

The BugMeNot e-mail said the site has also garnered new legal protection from ISPAN, a privacy advocacy network.

According to BugMeNot, some sites have become wise to the software the company uses to fool automated registration bots and have attempted to block accounts that use the work-around. Still, the Web guerillas behind BugMeNot remain undaunted.

"They'll pry this site from our cold, dead hands," BugMeNot wrote in its e-mail.


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