Anonymity and the Internet

Most of you are aware that you aren’t truly anonymous as you traipse around the net. Every website you go to retains a bit of information about you, and wherever you pick up cookies, those cookies can be read later on to find out where you have been.

There are a lot of solutions for this kind of surreptitious spying, but one which has recently come to my attention is Tor, which is an anonymising proxy service. Its a free downloadable application which you can run on your Windows (98, 98SE, NT4, 2000, XP, Server), Macintosh (Tiger or Panther), Linux (Debian, Redhat, Gentoo or SUSE) and BSD (Free, Open and Net) machines. Theres also a source tarball if you’ve a mind to compile it yourself.

From the website:

Tor: An anonymous Internet communication system
Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.

Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves.

The Mac (Tiger) version installed painlessly, and its useable once you set all your proxies up. But ever so S L O W L Y.

I’ll use it for a few days and see if I get used to the delayed load on websites… if not… I guess anonymity isnt that important to me.. but for those to whom it IS important, its probably worth trying out.

Visit the Tor Website