Tech Transformers

Want to be invisible online? There's an app for that


Are you worried about being spied on while online? Well - like most things - there's an app for that.

Freedome, available on Apple's iOS and Google's Android, lets users stay invisible online and even fakes their location to help them avoid being snooped on.

The software is what's known as a virtual private network (VPN) - an encrypted form of communication that is secure from prying eyes.

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VPNs were traditionally used as a business tool by remote workers logging onto a company's network securely.

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Now, everyday users concerned about their privacy are adopting the services.

"The main change has been Edward Snowden. People realize this matters and there are reasons to encrypt your traffic," Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, the company behind the Freedome platform, told CNBC by phone.

Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden leaked a number of confidential documents which revealed details of the U.S. and U.K.'s surveillance activities, including online.

Freedome is one of several companies looking to cash in on users' thirst for privacy. A number of smartphone makers unveiled privacy-centric devices at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this month.

Finnish company F-Secure says its platform can make someone appear invisible online by routing all communication coming from a device through one of its servers in data centers around the world.

A user can choose where they want to appear to be. So if someone is in China, they can make it seem like they are in the U.S.

In theory, this allows someone to circumvent the location-based restrictions on apps such as Netflix. So a U.K. viewer could watch a show that is only available in the U.S.

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While Hypponen said that no content provider has complained about the service, the use of a VPN does raise some question about what users can do online.

"It is a double edged sword," Hypponen said, when asked whether users could do illicit activities, such as buy drugs online.

"That is problematic. If you go to an online drug stores and buy cocaine, there is nothing that we can do to stop it. We do have a blacklist of sites that we don't let users go to, but you can't block everything online," he added.