Staying Anonymous Online: It’s Different Than You Think It Is

Online anonymity is a very important but complicated subject. You can learn more about it in the text below!

It has become more necessary in recent times to consider privacy when using the internet. In an age where governments are actively snooping on unsuspecting people who have done nothing wrong, it naturally makes us concerned.

This is applicable when encountering restrictions due to their present location, which prevent access to certain legitimate services that are geo-locked.

In other cases, marketers may wish to perform searches and other lookups repeatedly, which results in limited access due to raising a red flag. By embracing anonymity, it’s possible to sidestep many of these issues.

How the Web is Trackable

Magnifying glass on laptop

When connecting to the internet, we use an internet service provider (ISP). The ISP assigns either a permanently fixed internet protocol (IP) address or a temporary one from a pool of available IP addresses. Whatever IP address is used by the ISP, your account is logged against that IP, which allows them to trace back which account holder used each connection, along with keeping logs of all internet activity.

Ultimately, by connecting users to ISP accounts and their PC, smartphone, or tablet, the provider both tracks them and can trace them later too. This has a huge impact on privacy because, essentially, it means that as an internet user, you have zero privacy!

One way to avoid being tracked is via proxy providers. Companies like Smartproxy provide more secure, anonymous access to the web with minimum complications to achieve greater anonymity. They’re certainly worth a look.

You Are Being Watched

Under the guise of searching for “bad actors”, government agencies often perform a wholesale collection of internet usage data.

Good people can get caught up in these collection practices, something that whistleblower Edward Snowden brought to light back in 2013.

These kinds of invasive practices are still ongoing. For anyone who cares about their privacy, this is a major concern. It’s natural to wonder what can be done as individuals (or on behalf of a company) to prevent this privacy invasion.

P2P IP Sharing

Network of pins

Anonymous peer-to-peer communication networks were designed to allow people to share communication, resources, and more in a safer manner. Rather than being tied to a single IP address that can be geo-tracked to your location, nodes are created that can facilitate the transit of internet data anonymously. None of the nodes on the network know what another node is doing, and, therefore, the use of P2P IP sharing networks prevents tying individual users to specific IP addresses.

Sometimes, on a P2P IP network, people allow their PC and connection to be used as an anonymous node on the network. Doing so lets other users access the internet, pass files, and communicate as normal but have their internet usage routed anonymously. Furthermore, some companies even provide “packeters” (who permit data packets to flow through their internet connection) with a payment based on the number of gigabytes of traffic in a given month.

Are Proxy Services More Secure?

Proxy services provide a way to get around a static IP address used by an ISP that’s matched to your account. Using a free proxy service isn’t always the best approach, however, because they may sell the information collected from users of their service. They may also have inadequate security procedures or create other concerns that are difficult to protect against.

The TOR network was set up to address internet privacy concerns. It was created as a decentralized network for users, file sharers, and others.

To make it more accessible, the people behind it later released the TOR web browser to provide a convenient way to surf the web with baked-in security protections.

What Can the TOR Web Browser Do for You?

Man using laptop in the dark

The TOR browser from the Tor Project is open-source software.

Website access is sent over a decentralized network. Doing so circumvents privacy concerns and gives you back anonymous usage once again. For instance, each website visit is different from a previous session, so past visits aren’t connected to current ones. All browser cookie files are deleted after the browser is closed. As a result, websites cannot track you, and advertisements don’t seem like they’re following your every move online either.

Usage also appears the same, so browser fingerprinting that attempts to match users by shared browser information will no longer work. With triple encryption, it also brings easy, convenient, and private browsing to users with no technical knowledge. The last point has been a major impediment in the past, but with the TOR browser, private use of the internet is restored.

Relying on for-profit businesses might not be ideal for people who care about their privacy. The Tor Project is a registered non-profit organization focused on making the web private for all users. It’s worth giving their web browser a try because it delivers accessible browsing without the worry of people, organizations, or governments collecting data without prior approval or consent.

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Published on March 5, 2021 by Peter Hughes; modified on August 11, 2021. Filed under: , , .

Peter Hughes is a digital marketing consultant and author. Peter has more than 10 years of experience in SEO and Internet marketing.

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