Editorials Privacy Reviews

Technologies That Can Help Protect Your Privacy

Privacy Lock

In a earlier article on privateness we’ve established what it’s, how does digitally networking our world have an effect on it, and in a nutshell, why ought to we care. We established that one of the simplest ways to make sure your privateness is thru technological means, and on this article I supply an summary of what such applied sciences are.

What’s widespread to all of them is that they allow you to management entry to details about your self, whether or not it’s your location, websites you go to, conversations you might have on-line, belongings you publish about your self, and knowledge that units you employ disclose about you, and which others might gather and monitor.

This overview doesn’t go into an excessive amount of element about using both of those applied sciences, however is as an alternative meant to be solely a information to what’s obtainable, so you realize what your choices are. These applied sciences can be known as Privateness Enhancing Applied sciences (PETs).


Encryption might be an important and handiest privateness safety know-how. Every part that’s encrypted turns into an unreadable jumble to everybody besides the one holding the important thing required to decrypt it. You’ll be able to encrypt e mail messages, on the spot messages, all the knowledge stream over an web connection (utilizing a VPN), particular information and folders of knowledge or complete onerous drives, and so forth. The extensively used encryption commonplace is OpenPGP with hottest implementations being PGPi and GnuPG.

Listed here are some main examples of the makes use of of encryption for shielding privateness.

E-mail Encryption

With particular software program and applicable plugins obtainable for a lot of e-mail shoppers you possibly can encrypt all or a few of your e mail messages, making them utterly personal.

Whereas there are a number of strategies of encrypting such messages, public key encryption is the most typical. It includes two keys, or a key pair, one public and one personal. The general public key’s used for encryption, and the personal secret is used for decryption. If you wish to ship an encrypted message to somebody and make sure that solely that individual can learn it then you definitely use that individual’s public key to encrypt your message. Then that individual can use his or her personal key to decrypt it. Since that non-public secret is a pair to the general public key no one however that individual can decrypt that message, making it absolutely personal.

Immediate Messages Encryption

IM conversations (reminiscent of MSN) might be encrypted too, utilizing prompt messaging shoppers that help encryption (similar to Pidgin). As soon as each you and the individual you’re speaking to allow encryption, your dialog might be personal, or undecipherable to anybody who may intercept the messages.

Digital Personal Community (VPN)

One other widespread use of encryption is in a Digital Personal Community. An actual personal community is the one between units in your house, sans the connection to the web. No one can intercept the info touring between computer systems inside your personal 4 partitions, particularly if they’re related by a wire. A digital personal community emulates this state of affairs throughout computer systems and units on the general public web, by encrypting connections between them.

Whenever you join your pc to a VPN this connection is encrypted, and also you proceed to browse the online from inside that community. Which means a site that tracks the place you’re coming from wont see your personal native IP tackle accessing it, however a random pc that is part of the VPN you’re in. This protects your anonymity by not linking your on-line exercise to your IP handle and your location.

The additional advantage is that by showing to go to from a pc abroad you would entry content material which is locked out of your nation, which will get round censorship.

A few good examples of VPN providers embrace ProXPN, which is free with restricted bandwidth, and HMA! Professional VPN.

Nameless Proxies

A proxy is just a pc that, when used, stands between your personal pc and the online. So whenever you go to a website via a proxy your pc shouldn’t be connecting to the website immediately. As an alternative it connects to a proxy server telling it to fetch and ship you the site.

Which means the site house owners can’t see your pc (your IP tackle) accessing the website, however as an alternative see the tackle of a proxy server. That is just like the VPN state of affairs besides there’s typically no encryption concerned between the proxy and your pc, making the VPN answer superior.

Whereas proxies may be sensible for visiting web pages blocked in your nation or native community, or making it just a bit bit more durable to hint what you’re visiting on the internet, VPNs usually symbolize a way more full and efficient answer. Proxies are sometimes sluggish, and with excessive disconnection charges. They will typically be irritating to make use of.


Remailers are primarily proxies for sending e mail. As an alternative of sending an e mail to a recipient tackle instantly, you ship it to the handle of a remailer server, after which inform this server to resend that message to the vacation spot handle. This manner when the recipient receives your e-mail he wont realize it was you who despatched it. He’ll solely see the tackle of the remailer service. As such, remailers can be utilized to ship nameless emails, and have nameless conversations.


Digital Frontier Basis (EFF) arrange a system referred to as The Onion Router (Tor) for the aim of enabling on-line anonymity. It’s a bit totally different from each VPNs and proxies. It makes use of a community of volunteer servers to make the consumer untraceable, and in addition makes use of a layered strategy to encryption (therefore the “Onion” within the identify), which means that it encrypts and re-encrypts the info being transfered a number of occasions.

As refined as it’d sound, like all such methods, it doesn’t assure 100% invulnerability to a compromise of anonymity because the entrances and exits to the Tor community can nonetheless be recorded by somebody who may need to monitor you down, however it’s nonetheless very helpful to creating it a lot more durable on your exercise to be tracked.

Anti-tracking browser options

Some net browsers include a “Do Not Monitor” choice, however this does *not* assure that you simply wont be tracked. When this function is enabled your browser merely tells the website online you’re visiting that you simply don’t need to be tracked, and the online developer might or might not have designed the website online in such a option to stop any monitoring exercise as soon as this flag is encountered.

There are subsequently higher instruments, in type of particular browser plugins which make it more durable so that you can be recognized on-line, and your exercise throughout the online tracked (sometimes via using cookies). Plugins just like the Privateness Suite or Do Not Monitor Plus can block advertisers from monitoring you, and plugins like NoScript go even farther by blocking all Flash, Javascript and so forth. which may be used for monitoring, or numerous safety compromises.

It’s value mentioning, nevertheless, the follow of browser fingerprinting. All the info your browser emits whereas visiting web pages, together with which browser it’s, what model, and which plugins it has put in could be gathered right into a so referred to as “browser fingerprint”. The fascinating factor right here is that the extra unusual plugins you employ, or the stranger your browser configuration is, the extra distinctive you grow to be. And the extra distinctive you’re the extra identifiable you’re.

EFF has created a software that checks how distinctive you look like on the internet, and subsequently how massive a goal you could be. The software known as Panopticlick.

Some plugins additionally exist to make it simpler to hook up with an applicable proxy server.

Pretend Accounts and Single-use E mail Addresses

Accounts with pretend consumer knowledge could be created and used to guard your anonymity, albeit the legality of this follow might depend upon the service you’re creating the account with. These accounts can be shared with others to allow them to use the service with out registering themselves and offering their identifiable info.

Single use e-mail addresses are e-mail addresses that are used just for one e-mail or one dialog, and discarded afterwards, making the sender unreachable and more durable to hint.

Privateness Controls

Virtually everybody at this level makes use of Fb, so it’s value remembering that Fb, together with different comparable providers like Google+, consists of privateness controls that can be utilized to restrict who can see your posts in your profile or timeline. It’s advisable to examine these settings often, to ensure your posts aren’t being seen by individuals you don’t need to see them.

Nevertheless, such controls will solely get you thus far. With social networks generally widespread sense ought to be used. If one thing is actually personal the most secure factor is to not submit it in entrance of different individuals in any respect. Additionally, if you wish to be largely nameless on-line, however have an actual identify in your Fb or Google+ account, then you must take note of how a lot you reveal about your self lest it not compromise your different privateness protections, and with it the info you don’t want to share with anybody.

In fact, the acute, but in addition the cleanest means to make sure social networks don’t leak knowledge about you, is to not use them in any respect. Your selection, however as long as you employ them, benefit from the management you do have.

Digital Money

Slightly bit much less widespread, however more and more fascinating, is the digital money know-how. The rationale it’s related to privateness is that it may possibly make your monetary transactions really personal.

Presently the most effective recognized instance of that is Bitcoin (or BTC). Bitcoin transactions are utterly nameless, and absolutely encrypted. The one factor hooked up to your bitcoin transactions is an alphanumerical code referred to as a Bitcoin Tackle. No different info is required. On-line wallets might require your e-mail handle to login and entry them, however you can too use a bitcoin shopper in your pc, during which case you don’t want to offer any additional information, and have a pockets in your personal pc. You simply should watch out to not lose it.

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