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columns, advice & rants

Staying anonymous when you surf the web

Author: Superdrewby
Date: 2001

Sometimes or even all the time we really want don't want to be providing our names or anything about ourselves online. This is especially the case if we are not open about our sexuality to our family, employer or even our friends or loved ones. It is very easy to make sure that your anonymity is maintained, but I will be really blunt and say that the only way that you can remain totally anonymous is to use an Internet Cafe or free Internet connection where you do not have to log in. Every time you surf the net your ISP logs every place that you visit and every site etc etc. and all the data you send can be viewed by them unless it is encrypted.

Don't go straight off to your computer and take to it with an axe, or throw out your modem it aint that bad. In most cases your ISP won't go through the logs of Internet access for all their users to find out you visited, it's just too damn hard and frankly why would they bother? The only time they really ever do something like that is when a law has been broken such as sending death threats, child pornography etc. etc. Believe me they can and will go through the logs to find you if you are doing anything bad and so they should!

What I really discuss is how to remain anonymous with people you meet online to chat with and the sites that you visit. The following list outlines a few of the really simple things you can do to make sure you don't come unstuck!

  1. Never Give out Your real name or e-mail address

    Instead of using your school or work e-maill address get a a free address from one of the many web sites like:

    • Hotmail- The original and best
    • Yahoo - Pretty damn good
    • MBox - Pick up your mail via the telephone (Australia Only)
    • Talk 21 - Pretty Good
    Otherwise you may end up getting totally inappropriate emails to your school address form the really cute boy you were chatting with asking you out for a date which could be dangerous at an all boys school!

  2. Select Highest Security on your web browser

    using a rather malicious piece of javascript, web sites can "steal" your e-mail address without you even knowing it has happened. What the script does is sends an eamil from your e-mail program to their e-mail address. It's very sneaky and the only way to stop it is to have a prompt come up before sending an e-mail asking for your confirmation.