How to Increase Your On-Line Privacy
Anonymous Web Surfing
by Bill Rounds
Hansel 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 cookie monsters. 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.
Free Proxy Servers
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.