Anonimity: Time to take the internet back.

In summary, the issue of anonymity on the internet has become a growing concern, with the rise of cyberbullying, online harassment, and misinformation. It is time for individuals, communities, and governments to take action and reclaim the internet from those who use anonymity as a weapon. This can be achieved through education, stricter laws and regulations, and encouraging responsible online behavior. By promoting a more transparent and accountable online culture, we can create a safer and more inclusive virtual space for everyone.
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Preface


It might come to a surprise to some of us that our privacy is being challenged by the very services we have depended on for years. Let's face it: Our government is spying on us. Our applications are spying on us. Our web browsers are spying on us. Our email services are spying on us. Our search engines are spying on us.

I wasn't entirely shocked to learn of Google's sleeping arrangements with the NSA because I, like most everyone, have known for years that Google has been the biggest privacy offender on the internet. Google's hold is far reaching, spanning continents and uniting millions of web surfers everywhere. Google in itself represents an entire culture to which we are loyal servants.

If you are anything like me, it should alarm you to know that your gmail conversations are being stored on a database somewhere for "safe keeping"; your web searches are used to build a profile on you. This information is sorted, processed, and stored. Make no mistake, you have no right to privacy anymore. It is time to take that right back.

Due to the recent PRISM scandal that unfolded before us in the media recently, I decided to compile a list of alternatives, options, information, for you to use if you so desire to beat the system that is working against you. I am obviously an advocate for privacy. Where do you stand on the issue?


i. Search Engine Alternatives:


Ixquick is a search engine that promotes user privacy.
https://ixquick.com/
There extensive privacy statement can be read at the link below.
https://ixquick.com/eng/protect-privacy.htmlivacy.html DuckDuckGo is another
https://duckduckgo.com/
There extensive privacy statement can also be read at the link below.
https://duckduckgo.com/privacy

for free email alternatives, see this site below:

http://www.csustan.edu/Stan4You/FreeWeb-BasedEmailServices/email_web.htmlii. Anonymous Surfing

Proxies

Proxy servers and VPN services have become increasing popular over the last few months. I am going to give you a quick guide on what they are, what they do, and what the difference is between them.

If your computer were a person, your computer's IP address would be that person's mailing address. It is an address that marks your computer's geographic location. Your IP address is everywhere: It is in your packet headers, your email headers. Your IP is stored in a log on every single web server you connect to. Exposing your naked IP to the internet is like wearing a sign that says "Here I am, this is where I live".

A proxy server is a server that exists somewhere in cyberspace -often in another country- that acts as an intermediary between you and the internet. Using a proxy server effectively changes your IP address to that of the server's. This is the first layer of anonymity, and for most people, the only layer needed.

There are many free proxy servers available to you. Configuration varies depending on your browser. Here is a resource to get you started:

http://whatismyipaddress.com/using-proxies

To find free proxies, simply search for "free proxies". Tor

Tor is software designed to give you a more effective layer of anonymity- much more effective than a single, translucent proxy. Tor works by connecting you to an open network that bounces your traffic across multiple relays before reaching endpoint (the website you are requesting). By bouncing across hops -across the entire globe- not only is your IP masked, but your information is also encrypted along the way. The route that your traffic takes to reach the internet resets every ten minutes. The purpose of that is to make it impossible to link your activity to you through logs. It would take years for a government agency to trace you through said logs. And even if they tried, they would eventually reach a relay in a country that has no disclosure agreement.

There are a few draw backs to using Tor. First, your data, while being re-encrypted at every relay, will not be re-encrypted at endpoint. Tor has a service included (Privoxy), however, that will scrub personal information from your packets. The second draw back is that Tor will bog your browser down. (It is slow).

https://www.torproject.org/

VPN [/I]

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are a bit different than translucent proxies or Tor. A VPN is a client side program that makes a point-to-point connection through a secured "tunnel". The encryption capabilities of a VPN is far superior to that of Tor in that your information is encrypted at end point through various optional protocols. This keeps your information secure as it is transmitted from your computer to the web. VPN's are ideal for computing at wifi hotspots, be it a college university or your local coffee shop. The encryption will keep your information safe from "packet sniffing" and various man-in-the-middle attacks which are prevalent in public places. There are free VPNs for download, but I will not suggest any. I do not recommend free VPN services. If you are on the market for a trusted subscription to a VPN service, I recommend checking your Anti-Virus software first as most tend to have an optional one included (for a fee), For more information, see link below.

http://www.whatismyip.com/what-is-a-vpn/iii FireFox AddonsI am an advocate for FireFox due to their addons. Here are some that I think are neato:

Darkside of the Prism

This addon will inform you every time you are on a website that is being monitored by the NSA. It will flash an icon on your screen and play "Money" by Pink Floyd (how cool is that?). Try it out. You might be surprised at how many pies the NSA has their fingers in. The Draw back to this is that the song will trigger every time you reload the page, and multiple songs will overlap if you hit a website that has additional services on it that is also being monitored by the NSA. I just enable it every-so-often and go around checking the websites I tend to visit and then switch it back off.

BetterPrivacy

BetterPrivacy will allow you to view, monitor, disable, and remove a new type of tracking cookie that is exclusive to Google (wow, they just love spying on us).
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/betterprivacy/?src=cb-dl-mostpopularGhostery

This addon handles all other types of cookies. It is easy to use, easy to understand.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/ghostery/?src=cb-dl-mostpopular

Collusion

This is new, experimental addon that has to do with 3rd party tracking cookies. It is cool to play around with.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/collusion/?src=cb-dl-featured

If I've left anything out, or if you have more suggestions, please share.
 
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Good links schema! The Computers section of the forum needs more information such as this.
 
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There are a few other really good Firefox add-ons I use that I wanted to mention.

DoNotTrackMe is an add-on which blocks all sort of online trackers from tracking you.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/force-tls/ is not a privacy add-on per se, but it encourages https connections, which can help blocking nefarious internet users from seeing your data as it is transmitted to/from a website.
 
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If you want to really get lathered up, get a copy of the book "The Filter Bubble" and read it. Good book. And you won't sleep well at night thereafter. It is well researched, and details all the hidden tracking going on (really, everything about us) that people are unaware of. Now 2-3 years old but oh, so relevant.
 
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I fully support the idea of taking back our privacy on the internet. It is concerning to see how much of our personal information is being collected and used without our knowledge or consent. This is a violation of our rights and it is important for us to take action to protect ourselves.

I appreciate the suggestions for alternative search engines and email services that prioritize user privacy. It is important for us to be aware of these options and consider using them instead of the more popular, but less privacy-focused services.

The use of proxies, Tor, and VPNs are also effective ways to increase anonymity and protect our personal information while browsing the internet. These tools may not be perfect, but they are a step in the right direction towards taking back our privacy.

I also commend the use of Firefox addons that help monitor and block tracking cookies. It is important for us to be aware of the ways in which our information is being collected and take steps to prevent it.

Overall, I believe it is important for us to continue advocating for our right to privacy on the internet and to actively take steps to protect ourselves. Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue.
 

Related to Anonimity: Time to take the internet back.

1. What is the concept of "Anonimity"?

Anonimity refers to the state of being anonymous or unidentified. In the context of the internet, it means being able to use online platforms without revealing one's personal information or identity.

2. Why is it important to take back the internet?

The internet has become an integral part of our lives, but unfortunately, it has also become a breeding ground for cybercrime, invasion of privacy, and surveillance. Taking back the internet means reclaiming control over our personal data and privacy.

3. How can we take back the internet?

There are various ways to take back the internet, such as using virtual private networks (VPNs), encrypting our data, using secure browsers, and being mindful of the websites and apps we use. It also involves advocating for stronger online privacy laws and holding tech companies accountable for their data collection practices.

4. Is it possible to be completely anonymous on the internet?

While it is challenging to achieve complete anonymity on the internet, it is possible to take steps to increase our online privacy and reduce the amount of personal information that is being collected and tracked. However, it is important to note that some level of identification is necessary for certain online activities, such as online banking or making purchases.

5. What are the potential risks of not prioritizing online anonymity?

Not prioritizing online anonymity can lead to various risks, including identity theft, cyberbullying, discrimination based on personal information, and government surveillance. It can also make us vulnerable to data breaches and hacking attempts, compromising our sensitive information.

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