Friday, July 20, 2018
Articles

The Importance of Staying Anonymous Online & How to Achieve It

Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of individuals being able to access the online world in complete anonymity because this means they can indulge in undesirable behavior without fear of being caught. However, while this may be true to a degree, there are many cases when the ability to be anonymous is not only legitimate but wholly essential.

Read on to learn more about some of the main reasons that individuals wish to retain their anonymity while surfing the internet, and the steps you can take to prevent your own personal information from being made public.

Personal harassment

The ability to remain anonymous is essential for those who believe in freedom of expression. One of the most powerful uses of the internet is its ability to give a voice to those who are actively being silence, providing an opportunity for them to speak out without fear of the repercussions.

Most law enforcement agencies now have the ability to accept reports and information that are submitted online. Imagine a situation where someone has been a witness to a crime and wants to provide information or simply contribute to an online discussion about the issue. True anonymity would allow the individual to do so without putting their life in danger.

Although it might seem to be a good idea to get rid of the anonymity many take advantage of when it comes to reviewing goods and services, this would also mean that those who had something negative to say might not feel themselves able to be truthful for fear of repercussions.

The most extreme version of this scenario takes place when whistleblowers release information that makes major corporations or government agencies fully accountable for their actions. Without the protection offered by anonymity, revealing such high-stakes secrets might be too dangerous for anyone to contemplate and the abuse and corruption of power would go unreported.

At the other end of the spectrum, a major lottery winner might want to remain anonymous in order to increase the chances that they can retain control of their life, rather than becoming the source of public spectacle.

Sensitive issues

The internet is an enormously useful source of information, and there are many times when having a public record of your searches might be wholly undesirable. Take, for example, the case of a young woman who has become pregnant and wants access to medical advice before informing her parents. There are also those who may be struggling with questions over their sexuality and want answers to questions and concerns but does not want to risk premature exposure.

There are dozens of situations where the same pressures apply. If you are in an unhappy marriage and want to look into the options for divorce but don’t want your partner to find out, you need your anonymity. If you are struggling with mental health issues or suspect that a friend or family member is dealing with issues that have not yet been made public, you also want to be able to search under the cloak of anonymity.

Though it has taken some time for the realization to sink in, internet users are increasingly aware of the fact that what they post online is likely to remain there in some form or another for the rest of their lives. A number of high-profile cases in which individuals have lost jobs or important positions because of inappropriate comments they made on their public Facebook or Twitter feed many years ago provide other reasons for embracing anonymity.

Staying anonymous doesn’t prevent you from getting involved in meaty discussions, or even having some fun during your downtime. One of the reasons sites such as Reddit are so popular is that they enable individuals to seek out answers to difficult questions without even having to provide an email address. Plus you don’t want your information to be leaked by accident due to large flaws in a corporation’s systems.

If you want to have a sense of your anonymity is being respected, take a look at how one of the most competitive industries, online gambling, that is, handles it. You could be signing up to anonymous cryptocurrency casinos and access online games while feeling that your anonymity is taken seriously. Mind you, one of them truly has a name Anonymous Casino. Bitcoin or Litecoin enable these businesses to live up to new anonymity standards.

How to be anonymous online

The most common and popular way to protect yourself from unwanted attention while browsing the internet is to do so using the Tor Browser created by the non-profit Tor Project. The name is derived from “the onion router” and, like an onion, the browser involves the use of multiple layers of security and encryption that prevent anyone from tracing the computer you are using.

If you want to send truly anonymous emails, the traditional providers fall a little short. Although you do not have to supply them with the actual details of your address or telephone number, information such as your IP address will still be recorded, meaning our communications could eventually be traced back to you.

A far better option is to use a service such as Guerrilla Mail which assigns you a new, random address each time you send a message. The ephemeral nature of the service means that no one – not even Guerrilla Mail themselves – can connect your messages to an individual computer.

Always use caution

It’s hugely important to understand that the complexity of the internet and the vast number of users looking for vulnerabilities and issues means that, every now and then, a system which promises to keep users anonymous may experience a vulnerability where this is proved not to be the case. When such issues emerge, they are usually patched up in a relatively short period of time.

The key is to understand that the only way to ensure that your internet activity does not come back to haunt you in years to come is to keep fully up to date with the latest developments in the world of privacy and anonymity and adjust your activity accordingly. Teahc yourself, and your kids, how to be safe on the internet so there is no reason for issues to arise. You could also try not to post anything or research any topic you would not want members of the public to know about.

Bob Buskirk
the authorBob Buskirk
About 10 years of computer experience. Been messing around with electronics since I was 5, got into computers when I was in highschool, been modding them ever since then. Very interested in how things work and their design.
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