Outrages : Outrageous conduct as I see it.
Updated: 2/2/2006; 2:11:02 AM.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It's Time To Consider Surfing The Web Anonymously

Open source software such as
Tor are not likely to have an explicit govt backdoor, as the developer community would find out. None of the tools guarantee privacy or anonymity, but adopted in large numbers they make the job of large-scale snoopers much harder.  I don't think that targeted lawful surveillance would be hindered significantly by such tools, but large-scale fishing expeditions may become impossible until the NSA has large-scale quantum computing - which they may have ... soon?.

Anonymous Web surfing allows a user to visit Web sites without allowing anyone to gather information about which sites the user visited. Services that provide anonymity disable pop-up windows and cookie s and conceal the visitor" These services typically use a proxy server to process each HTTP request:. When the user requests a Web page by clicking a hyperlink or typing a URL into their browser, the service retrieves and displays the information using its own server. The remote server (where the requested Web page resides) receives information about the anonymous Web surfing service in place of the user's information.. Anonymous Web surfing is popular for two reasons: to protect the user's privacy and/or to bypass blocking applications that would prevent access to Web sites or parts of sites that the user wants to visit.

Anonymous proxy servers hide your IP address and thereby prevent unauthorized access to your computer through the Internet. They do not provide anyone with your IP address and effectively hide any information about you and your reading interests. Besides that, they donít even let anyone know that you are surfing through a proxy server. Anonymous proxy servers can be used for all kinds of Web-services, such as Web-Mail (MSN Hot Mail, Yahoo mail), web-chat rooms, FTP archives, etc. ProxySite.com - a place where the huge list of public proxies is compiled. In a database you always can find the most modern lists, the Proxy are checked every minute, and the list is updated daily from various sources. The system uses the latest algorithm for set and sortings of servers by proxy, servers for anonymous access are checked.

Any web resource you access can gather personal information about you through your unique IP address Ė your ID in the Internet. They can monitor your reading interests, spy upon you and, according to some policies of the Internet resources, deny accessing any information you might need. You might become a target for many marketers and advertising agencies who, having information about your interests and knowing your IP address as well as your e-mail, will be able to send you regularly their spam and junk e-mails.

Anonymous surfing is a security issue for your computer, as well as a privacy issue for your identity.  A web site can automatically exploit security holes in your system using not-very-complex, ready-made, free hacking programs. Some of such programs may just hang your machine, making you reboot it, but other, more powerful ones, can get access to the content of your hard drive or RAM including passwords, pin numbers and bank account info. Everything a web site may need for that is only your IP address and some information about your operating system.

Increasingly, consumers appear to be downloading free anonymity software like Tor, which makes it harder to trace visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages and other communication forms back to their authors. Sales are also up at companies like Anonymizer.com, which among other things sells software that protects anonymity.

This New York Times article on Internet privacy inspired the thought that one good way to protest at least some of the behavior of an American government acting like a third rate Stalinist satellite is to make anonymous websurfing the standard.

As you probably know, Google is locked in a fight to turn over their users' identification data to George W. Bush, ostensibly so Bush can "establish a profile of Internet use that will help it defend the Child Online Protection Act, a 1998 law that would impose tough criminal penalties on individuals whose Web sites carried material deemed harmful to minors" .   Those who object to this blatant Big Brotherism are met with the fallacious accusation that they are in favor of young kids being exposed to pornography and with the equally fallacious fascist threat that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

You don't like George Bush having the opportunity to spy on you? Make yourself invisible, even when you surf for groceries. That way, simply using anonymity software will not be considered suspicious in itself - hey, I forgot to turn it off! And obviously, the more people who use anonymity software, the less suspicious its use by any one person.

You might ask: How good is this stuff? Does George Bush have a backdoor into these programs or their techniques, rendering them useless against a malicious US administration? Are they difficult to set up and use? Do they slow down web surfing and emailing?  I don't know. I've been told that PGP is exactly what it says it is: pretty good privacy, meaning it takes a very sophisticated computer program a considerable amount of time to decrpyt. The others are new to me so if anyone has any info please drop a note in the comments.

Anonymize.net http://anonymize.net/
Providers of anonymous secured Internet access service where all traffic is routed through an encrypted VPN connection.

iPrive.com http://www.iprive.com/
Web-based privacy enhancing proxy service. Offers URL encryption, advertisement blocking, anonymous email and an IE toolbar.

Proxy Web Servers in Libraries http://www.pandc.org/proxy/
Presentations and surveys describing the uses of proxy servers (free and commercial) to solve library networking problems such as speed and filtering.

Domain Forte http://anon.domainforte.com
Anonymous Web surfing via CGI proxy

KeepItSecret.com http://www.keepitsecret.com/
Commercial anonymous web browsing. No download required.

Proxy Stealth Tests http://stealthtests.lockdowncorp.com
These tests will allow you to check to see if your proxy is anonymous.

Somebody Anonymizer http://somebody.net/
Commercial service provides proxy, enhanced DNS, privacy protection, anonymous surfing, anonymous mailing and anti-censorship services.

My advice if you want to try this, is to first select the free choices.  Try one, if you like it, upgrade or use keep using it.  If you don't like it, then choose another free one, and give it a test drive.  I would also suggest visiting a "Proxy Stealth Test" and find out what private information about you that your browser is providing to the internet sites that you visit.  If you pick an anonymizer, then return to the Proxy Stealth Test site to make certain the Anonymizer is truly doing it's job.  Good luck.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Secure anonymous web surfing with Megaproxy® Web SSL VPN | EFF: | FindNot - Anonymous Surfing , Anonymous Email & Anonymous Internet | GhostSurf - surf anonymously online and protect your identity | Fortress PC | Protect Your Anonymity on the Web | AnonBlog - Global Voices | Early transition: Web security and stealth | Can you surf without wiping out? - Girls Gone Wired - MSNBC.com | Kaxy - Anonymous Web Surfing . How it works.

10:39:24 PM    

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