internet privacy and anonymity

Internet Privacy and Anonymity: Tools To Use

One fact about privacy and anonymity tools is that using them on platforms where your identity had been registered makes them useless. Using a Tor browser to access a Facebook account you create without Tor doesn’t at all make you anonymous. The Facebook server will still know the request is coming from you because your presence had been registered. Privacy is a message to be passed across to the upcoming generations in the use of technology. It is a message to pass to your children before you buy them their first phone or computer.

Many people still believe that maintaining Internet privacy and anonymity is for those who have something to hide. They see it as a tool for those performing illegal activities online or for online scammers.

Why should I think of hiding my identity or activities online if I am not a criminal or have nothing secretive? Many ask.

Many start to see maintaining internet privacy as important late in their internet use. This makes the idea somehow ineffective.

Why are Internet privacy and anonymity important?

We are in an era where they sell our attention, interest, location, desire, or information without our consent. This is the era of surveillance capitalism.

The websites we visit or servers we get resources from always keep a log of our clients or device details.

Online advertising platforms bring ads from their clients to us based on the information they have gathered about our interests.

Your Internet service providers or network providers are keeping logs of websites you visit or calls you make in the event of their need or demand in the future.

Bad actors are also on the network, sniffing for unprotected data and IDs to steal.

So, having control over who sees our online activity and the data we transfer is one reason for internet privacy and anonymity. This thereby narrows the number of our internet observers to the level we can pinpoint.

Another reason for internet privacy and anonymity is cybersecurity. Most of the tools that protect our privacy and give us anonymity also protect us from data sniffing and identity theft.

This is because you cannot talk of privacy without encryption, and you can’t talk of anonymity without identity obfuscation or hiding.

Understanding that there is no internet or network connection without data transfer will also help you understand the importance of protecting the data you transfer.

Three Tools You Can Use for Your Internet Privacy and Anonymity

Some tools designed to protect our online privacy are out there. But the facts still remain that online security is most often simply a shift of trust. This is because the things you want to make anonymous are always obvious to the platform that gives you the anonymity service.

Therefore, you should try to understand a tool and its vendor before you subscribe to their services.

Always check out the terms and conditions of the vendor you want to use for your privacy and anonymity service to find out if they have a no-logging policy. This means they are not storing your details for other purposes. Because if they are logging your activities and data on their database, then they can give it to the government on demand or sell it.

Apart from reading their policy, you should also understand the actual services they offer. Check if they encrypt your data in transit or if they only offer anonymity services.

Below are three tools that can help with your privacy or anonymity and what they do.

1. VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN connection makes your online activities known to you and your VPN providers.

It does not only encrypt your data, but it also hides your device information, like your IP address, thereby giving you anonymity too.

It is advisable that you use a paid VPN; this is because those offering you free VPN services might be making their money by selling your logged data.

vpn and internet privacy

How does it work?

To use VPN, you will have to register with a VPN service provider online, and I recommend NordVPN. Then the VPN service provider will offer you their VPN client to download on your device. It might be on your phone, computer, or network. Then you will do the necessary setup as required by the VPN vendor.

After the configurations, the client on your device will create a tunnel between you and the VPN vendor server, making it difficult for data sent from your device to be seen by a third party. Even the server where you are getting your request response will still not be able to know your identity, as it will be seeing the VPN server IP address instead.

2. Tor Browser

The Tor browser is a tool designed for anonymity, not for privacy. What Tor does well is hide your IP address and your device information so that the server or website you visit won’t know it’s you.

The Tor browser does not encrypt your data in transit. This means if you are making a request or sending information online from Tor from an unencrypted website or application. Packets you send out will be transmitted in an unencrypted format and can be tracked by bad actors.

How does it work?

To use the Tor browser is simple, and it is an open-source project. You will only have to download the browser app from the Tor official website.

What Tor does is route your online request into their servers scattered in different locations and then make the request on your behalf using their server details. Because of that, websites or places you visit online will log the details of the Tor server that visited them, not yours. This makes it impossible for them to track you.

Due to the routing of your request to different servers before it hits the actual request server, browsing through Tor might also be slow.

It is advisable that you don’t alter Tor browser settings if you don’t understand what you are doing. This is because it usually turns off JavaScript usage and other settings. This is due to the fact that Javascripts can aid in exposing your device details.

You can also use the Tor browser to access the dark web or the.onion domain.

3. DuckDuckGo Search Engine

This is a search engine like Google that has its users’ privacy at heart. It doesn’t keep a log of your search history or device details.

One thing that DuckDuckGo does is enforce encryption on your web searches. They make it difficult for you to visit HTTP-enabled sites through their search engine.

How does it work?

To use DuckDuckGo, you can make it your default browser on your computer or download the DuckDuckGo privacy browser app on your Apple or Android phone.

Whenever you make a search through DuckDuckGo, it will enforce HTTPS encryption to help prevent the destination server you use from logging your true identity.

Important Points to Note About Online Privacy

One fact about privacy and anonymity tools is that using them on platforms where your identity has been registered makes them useless.

Using a Tor browser to access a Facebook account you create without Tor doesn’t at all make you anonymous. The Facebook server will still know the request is coming from you because your presence has been registered.

Privacy is a message to be passed across to the upcoming generations in the use of technology. It is a message to pass on to your children before you buy them their first phone or computer.

Remember, privacy is not only at the browsing level. Applications you use can also steal your true identity and information. Learn to use end-to-end encrypted applications like WhatsApp. Also, be mindful of your app privileges.

Related Post: Android Phone Security- How to Block Apps from Stealing Your Personal Data.

You can also look into local privacy by using incognito mode on your browser.

Related Post: Incognito Mode – When to Use it and Why

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