by Bill Rounds: Vanishing
In a Digital Age: LessonsFrom EvanRatliff
and Gretel wandered through the forest leaving tasty bread crumbs
behind to find their way home. Unfortunately, the various little
critters of the forest found those little bread crumbs irresistible
and gobbled them up leaving Hansel and Gretel lost and hungry.
There is less
anonymity on the internet than many people realize. When people
surf the web they also leave behind bread crumbs, well their IP
address is left behind. And, unfortunately, those crumbs are awfully
tasty to many little creatures like search engines, snoopers, and
The wrong creatures getting a hold of those crumbs can leave you
much more than lost and hungry if you are not careful. You may even
incur tax liability
of you do not properly guard your IP address. From building a user
profile to viewing sensitive data, there are many opportunities
for others to benefit from knowing your IP address. Fortunately
there are ways of keeping your web surfing anonymous.
In simple terms,
anonymous web surfing is connecting to another computer that does
the surfing for you and keeps your own IP address, your unique identifier,
secret. There are a number of free anonymous web proxies available
and each has a different user experience (for example some are slower,
you may be subjected to annoying advertising, time limits, some
don’t allow you to log in to sites like Facebook,
etc.) so each individual should choose which is best for them. It
is a good idea to do a simple Google search to find reviews and
information about particular proxy servers before using them. One
that I have found useful is Anonymouse.org.
You can even send an anonymous email from their site.
Using a proxy
server is very straight forward. Once you have searched and found
a proxy server you are comfortable with using, you can either enter
a URL directly into the text box which is the search prompt of the
site, or you can enter the URL of your favorite web browser and
begin surfing anonymously from that point.
There are also
paid subscription services which may be more secure or that open
a secure encrypted host service. They tend to run faster and offer
more flexibility than the free sites. Those sites are often by subscription,
$10US each month is typical, many of which are offered as an upgrade
from a free service.
to the paid services is free or paid software that can be downloaded
and can be activated any time that you are surfing the internet
to block your IP address. Some of these software are better than
others, so read the reviews before using them to make sure you are
getting what you want. Although some are free of charge, they usually
require some time to configure and some attention whenever you use
them to make sure that you are maintaining the desired privacy.
As with any software, download it and follow the installation instructions
to maximize your utility. The paid
software usually offers better customer support and usually
has other desired features that you aren’t likely to find in
Keep in mind
that most of these options will keep your browsing anonymous for
the most part, but cannot offer online invincibility, so you may
still be vulnerable to an expert hacker.
the internet can be as private of a place as you want it to be.
Without taking measures to protect your anonymous browsing, your
identity is displayed by your IP address to whoever might be interested,
be it advertisers, search engines, governments or others. Even more
tools and techniques for creating a comprehensive plan for online
privacy can be found in the book How
To Vanish, Legally Protecting Your Personal and Financial Privacy.
So become an anonymous web surfer for security, privacy, peace of
mind, and yes, even for fun.
with permission from How to
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties. This is merely one article
of 73 by Bill