How do you hide your real identity online? Is it easy to connect your online persona with your true identity? Is internet anonymity even possible?
Internet anonymity is the concept of keeping what you do online private. With changes in technology, it is more of a theoretical concept than a realistic one.
Read more about internet anonymity and how the Tor Project browser may be a viable solution.
Is Internet Anonymity Possible?
The Internet made a lot of things both easier and harder at the same time. For example, if a CO couldn’t find information about a target on the CIA databases, the CO would probably be able to find the target on the public Internet. However, on the public Internet, any search was trackable.
Whenever you search something on the Internet, your request typically goes directly to the website you’re aiming for. Your request is tagged with source and destination headers, which tell anyone who’s looking where the request is going and where it came from.
The CIA didn’t have a good solution. Whenever a CO needed to search someone on the public Internet, they were supposed to contact the CIA and get them to do the search for them. The CIA would do so using a “nonattributable research system,” which involved setting up a front business that would have some legitimate reason to do the search. Setting up a front was a lot of work—it needed a physical address, URL, website, and servers—and if it wasn’t done properly, the business could be traced back to the CIA.
The Tor Project Browser
The best way to maintain anonymity on the Internet is to use the Tor Project. Tor works a little like the front business, but better.
When you request a website using Tor, your request doesn’t go directly to the website you’re aiming for. Instead, it goes through a chain of Tor servers. The servers are hosted by volunteers all over the world.
The first server—the gateway—knows what your request is, but not where it’s going. By the time your request eventually gets to the website you’re looking for, it’s source header is the last Tor server in the chain. As a result, the content of the request can never be connected to where it came from.
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