Advantages Of Remaining Anonymous Online
One of my favorite websites, www.makeuseof.com, has a way of making complex subjects simple. I like to do that too when I write and this article, which I will summarize here, highlights the very topical subject of privacy and online security. The linked article discusses something most people don't know much, if anything, about…. the practice of using an anonymising proxy server.
It would be nice to think that one has constitutional rights and, as a law-abiding citizen, nothing to fear. Unfortunately however, our world system is full of 'bad apples' and it just makes sense to be cautious at all times. The reasons to use an anonymising proxy server make a lot of sense.
First of all, what is an anonymising proxy server?
It's just a device that is positioned between your computer and those websites to which you connect. It's a buffer or intermediary device that protects your identity by making you an anonymous visitor rather than a specifically identified visitor when you surf the web. For example, if you wanted to connect to www.bunnyrabbitunderwear.com (I don't think there is any such site), you could do so but nobody would know who or where you are.
Here's the reasons to use an anonymous proxy server (APS):
- An APS means that there is no record of your identity visiting any website. Those websites would know that somebody visited the site… but not who it was or where they were…. no paper-trail to you. As they usually are set up to work, APS's also block any incoming connections from known malicious sites or malicious downloads to your computer.
- APS's bypass filters which might otherwise restrict your access to outside sites. For example, you're traveling in a foreign country that uses internet censorship. Or there is a site which your own government, for whatever reason, doesn't like. Using an APS, neither situation prevents you from making that connection.
- Modern advertising 'best-practices' feel no qualms about building very elaborate profiles on surfers who visit their sites.APS's block that kind of tracking because the visited site receives no information about who or where you specifically are.
- There are situations where you might want to use an online messaging service that would otherwise be blocked. By using an APS, you can use that service.
- If you're trying to do some sensitive research, you probably wouldn't want a record of it. Using an APS allows you to do your research anonymously.
- As clearly indicated in the video interiew with Edward Snowden in the above linked website, it is well-known that all major governments 'snoop', as a matter of general policy, on their own citizens. An APS prevents all or most of that snooping.
Which ASP service should you use¡
That's ultimately your decison but there are three possible choices:
- Tor – Perhaps the best known ASP service although some currently feel it is not as secure as it once was.
- I2P – A popular alternative to Tor but one which works somewhat differently.
- JonDo – A more 'White Hat' and perhaps not as strong version of the previous two choices.
There are some serious issues involved here. What you do is up to you but, IMHO, doing something is better than doing nothing. Me…. I don't live in the US anymore. One small step for one man….one giant step for mankind.