Surf 'incognito' for $5 a month

New service wants to keep your privacy intact -- for a price.

A California startup this week will unveil a $5-a-month (£3) service that will allow users to surf the Web and send email anonymously.

Web Incognito, the first consumer offering from software maker Privada, will put control over privacy and security into the user's hands, company CEO Barbara Bellissimo said in an interview. The service will be available Monday. A similar version for business users debuted in March.

Company officials believe the ongoing controversy over Internet privacy and junk email has given them a unique business opportunity, Bellissimo said.

The US government has repeatedly criticised Web site operators for collecting too much data from consumers and then bombarding them with too many unsolicited advertisements. While the industry has vowed to police itself, such efforts are moving too slowly for many consumers' comfort, she said.