Public WiFi

Fifty years ago, people would have considered WiFi(or Wireless Fidelity)a miracle—a discovery that they couldn’t possibly have any explanation for.

However, slowly but surely, scientists and engineers started dreaming actively about something so amazing, yet far-fetched.

Only a few years later, those once unattainable dreams became a reality. Because of these brave dreamers, people today have access to the internet everywhere.

Today, we use the word WiFi to refer to the devise that allows computers, smartphones and other gadgets to connect to the internet and communicate wirelessly.

Continually, it seems to be almost everywhere these days. People are worried or worst upset when they enter a coffee shop or a mall that does not provide Wireless Internet. Furthermore, public or private users can enjoy the following properties of wireless connection.

  • Efficiency – It has never been easier to transfer information in such a great speed. Businesses can transfer their data from one place to another in a matter of seconds.
  • Flexibility – One does not have to be at the office to receive important business information, which means, information or data can be sent or received by anyone anywhere
  • Cost Effectiveness – Given that people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on things they may or may never use, it is considered to be wallet-friendly and also a smart investment.
  • Accessibility – It would be safe to say that this technology has become somewhat a necessity over the last two decades. Needless to say, most public places intends to cater the needs of the people, which means that most of them (if not all of them) now provide Wireless Internet connection.public-wifi

Two types of WiFi

Most of us are exposed to the technology of the 21stcentury, the Internet know that there is a public and a private/home WiFi.

Consequently, it is fairly easy to extrapolate that public WiFi can be found in public places, such as shops, malls, cafes, bars, restaurants, and even playgrounds in city parks.

On the other hand, private refers to the wireless connection set up for a private user at one’s home or a private office.

Public WiFi (Pros and Cons)

As the name suggests, this internet connection is available for the public to use, or anyone who desires to connect to the Internet in public places such as airports, libraries, hotel lobbies or a café.

One of its major pros is that it is free and people do not have to worry about spending money to check their emails, communicate via Skype or transfer important information.

However, there is one major drawback to public wireless connection and that is WiFi Security.

WiFi Security

Unfortunately, using a public connection will put your computer at risk and your personal data very vulnerable.

This could be extremely dangerous when the user shares sensitive information, such as personal information, passwords or bank account details.

Hackers, in this case, are much harder to detect, because more often than not, they use the same network as their “prey”.

Subsequently, insufficient WiFi Security can cause myriads of problems, such as identity-theft, loss of funds and destruction of important information.

Government authorities in charge of street WiFi, and other owners of this public amenity are aware of this dire problem and are purportedly looking into finding a solution for inadequate WiFi Security.

One way to improve Public WiFi Security is by implementing VPN
—a Virtual Private Network is one key to a successful WiFi Security, its purpose is to encrypt data that make interception impossible.

Public users can also implement WPA/WEP which encodes data that is being transmitted between a user’s computer and the wireless router.

Subsequently, even though the hacker may get into one’s system, they will not be able to decrypt and interpret the information.

Pros and Cons of a Public WiFi

Pros Cons
It is easy to access Insufficient WiFi Security measures
Multiple users Slower speed
Internet on the go Needs additional VPN for better WiFi Security
It is free Needs additional WPA or WEP for better WiFi Security
Does not require a password If hacked due to insufficient WiFi Security, the party-to-blame is hard to locate

How to Detect If You Are Being Snooped On In Public WiFi

Accessing an open network with low (or no) WiFi Security puts the user at risk of being hacked. In other words without WiFi Security while using a public connection puts you at a higher risk that someone nearby will have access to your personal information.

Even though this may sound like an exciting science fiction movie, rest assured that it is our reality today, and if we are not careful enough, a “snooper” can surprise us at any local café, a hotel lobby or even the kids’ playground.

Fortunately, users can now take the following steps and attain a few helpful tools to detect if their data is being observed by unwanted parties.

  • Turn on Your Firewallcyber-ghost
  • Turn Off Sharing
  • Use HTTPS and SSL Whenever Possible
  • Turn it Off When You Aren’t Using It
  • Download Free Who’s On My WiFi Windows, Mac, or Android
  • Detection Agent
  • Download Wifi SPY Android app
  • CyberGhost VPN
  • Hide My Ass (HMA)
  • TunnelBear
  • OkayFreedom VPN

Home or Private WiFi

Home or Private WiFi is a facility that is available in one’s home or private business for their personal use of the Internet.

This does not necessarily mean that other users cannot connect to the internet using a Private connection, but unlike public WiFi, the private one requires a password.

This naturally leads us to conclude that it offers greater Security measures than its public counterpart.
home-wifiFirst and foremost, setting up a private WiFi is very easy, which means you do not need the assistance of a professional since you are probably more than capable to do it yourself.

Furthermore, one major and very important difference between a public and private WiFi is that the latter automatically encrypts outgoing and incoming messages which provides data security.

This way, individuals may it be a small business owner, an important CEO or just a stay-at-home mom who wants to surf the Internet need not worry about their personal emails or bank accounts being hacked due to an already embedded high WiFi Security.

Pros and Cons of a Home/Private WiFi

Pros Cons
High WiFi Security It can only be accessed within private premises
Due to its great WiFi Security, home WiFi requires a password, which means not everyone can access it Installation problems may occur, though it is not very likely to happen.
It is inexpensive Individuals (guests/employees) can only use it if the password is provided
Higher Internet Speed
It is easy to set up


The truth is, this facility has become a daily necessity. Without such in this fast-paced technological era would be unimaginable.

However, even though this indispensable facility may have a few cons, such as insufficient WiFi Security, the various pros will serve as a testament on how important it is in our daily endeavors.

Overall, since its discovery in 1991, Wireless Fidelity has drastically changed the way we transfer information, conduct business deals and communicate with each other.

In addition to that, it would be safe to say it made life more convenient and changed our daily routine for the better.

Thus, whether you are a private or a public user, the one little catch to look out for is WiFi Security.

3 Most Popular Security Tools For Internet Anonymity

Internet anonymity has assumed a great deal of importance more than ever now because your only privacy is constantly under attack. The good news is that you can make use of Internet anonymity tools to protect your privacy and security. The aim of this article is to provide you with some information about three most popular security tools for Internet anonymity.

The Onion Router (Tor)

If Internet anonymity is what you are looking for, you need Tor, which makes use of a large network of computers in order to route the traffic to your website through several encrypted layers for obscuring the point of origin of the traffic. It is an important tool as far as whistleblowers and political dissidents are concerned. It helps them to share information anonymously. You can also use it for ensuring your Internet anonymity.

The Onion Router

All that you have to do get started is to download the Tor Browser Bundle. The Firefox’s customized branch also incorporates browser extensions to enhance privacy and connects you to the Tor network automatically. Though this package offers everything needed to successfully use Tor, you will have to change your behavior when it comes to web surfing in order to ensure Internet anonymity. You should comply with the Tor warnings because it is not a magic pill for Internet anonymity.

Tor, developed to protect the online communication of U.S. Intelligence, may substantially reduce the browsing speed as your data has to hop through a number of layers. The data transmitted across Tor may be encrypted at the relay nodes, but privacy can be compromised if the site requested for does not use SSL. Further, your online activity may be monitored as Tor is widely used by journalists, political dissidents and criminals.


The Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection enables you to browse the Internet securely as it makes you to appear as though you are from another place. This is achieved by creating an encrypted virtual tunnel from your computer to the server of the VPN provider. As a result, it appears as though you are using a specific server. As the Internet traffic is routed through this encrypted tunnel, your data will not be exposed to eavesdroppers.


If you are serious about maintaining Internet anonymity, you must consider using a VPN solution. This is because VPN, especially stealth VPN offered by some providers, disguises your traffic by hiding your real IP address from the world and making it difficult for others to decipher your traffic. VPNs are the best bet when it comes to bypassing censorship.

However, it important to choose a quality VPN provider that does not store communications logs or data. Further, the VPN provider should be one that implements server randomization and proper load balancing so that you are always connected to different VPN servers.

Proxy Sever

A proxy server can be defined as an intermediary between the Internet and your computer. The traffic that is routed through proxy servers will appear as though it is coming from the IP address of the server and not your computer. Proxy servers are not required to devote resources for the purpose of encrypting all traffic passing through them. Therefore, they can accept connections simultaneously from tens of thousands of users. Proxy servers make use of different protocols, HTTP/HTTPS and SOCKS (Private), to communicate with the Internet.

Proxy Sever

HTTP and SOCKS proxies do not encrypt data. On the other hand, HTTPS proxies offer encryption to the same level as any of the SSL websites. However, proxies are not designed to provide protection to all of the Internet traffic. Typically, it protects only the browser. Further, many proxies pass on the original IP address of the user to the destination site. This makes proxy servers less suitable for security or Internet anonymity. Finally, the proxies are required to be configured separately for each of the application such as browser, email, third-party apps, etc. Moreover, some applications may not support proxies.

As such, you need to judiciously choose one or more of these tools, depending on your specific requirement, in order to maintain the required level of Internet anonymity.

Facebook Android App Now with Internet Anonymity Tor

For the past couple of years, Facebook has been allowing users to log into their account on their personal computers using Tor-enabled browsers. This support for Tor network will receive a new boost, after Facebook announced that they will now extend Tor support to Android mobile users. In a move that is aimed to increase Tor functionality for Facebook users, a new feature that supports Tor network will be added to the Android app, which will allow users to browse privately. The announcement comes at a time when there is a heated debate on the issue of Internet anonymity.

About Tor network

Tor is an Internet anonymity network, which encrypts the traffic from the connected device and routes it through several network nodes all over the globe. This helps to conceal the identity of the Internet user and the location of the connection, allowing them to browse anonymously. The network has been the go-to option for Internet users who want to maintain their privacy while browsing online. However, it has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years, especially with the revelation of the massive surveillance of civilians in the USA by the NSA.


With the integration of the new feature, Facebook Android app will now come with a button that allows users the option of connecting to the internet using Tor network. However, users will have to download and install Orbot, the Tor app for Android phones. The new feature will however not be available to iPhone users.


Effects of the Tor Support for Facebook Android App

1) Increase in Internet anonymity

Internet users are always looking for more ways to increase their Internet anonymity, and with over 1.5 billion online users on Facebook, the new feature will significantly increase the ability of people to browse privately. Facebook users who use Tor network to log into their accounts will also benefit from improved online security, as the service encrypts important information such as the IP address and the location, which can help to protect them from hackers.

2) Easy access to Facebook in countries where it is censored

Facebook censorship is a main issue in several countries. The social media network has been banned in some countries. Since Tor network encrypts traffic and provides the user with Internet anonymity, people in countries where Facebook is banned or censored will now be able to use the service without fear of any repercussions.

3) A boost for human rights activists

With about 1.5 billion active users, Facebook is a communication channel that has a very wide reach all over the world. As a result, it has become a popular weapon for human rights activists who oppose authoritarian regimes. The social media network has been used in some countries to oppose human rights violations. However, the massive Internet censorship that exists in some of these countries has always made it hard for human rights activists to effectively use the network. With the Internet anonymity that is offered by the Tor network, activists can now use the network to communicate privately without fear of being discovered and prosecuted.



With about 80% of users connecting to Facebook through their phones, the integration of the Tor network to the Facebook Android app will help to boost Internet anonymity for many online users. In addition, it will increase the number of people who can be able to access Facebook, by allowing people in countries where Facebook is banned or censored to gain access to the social media network.

Tor On Mobile Devices Will Give More Internet Anonymity To Users

With 4G mobile functionality available on most mobile platforms, users would now be able to download video and other types of data with ease while they are on the move. The complete implementation of 4G would mean more available bandwidth to the mobile phones and transfer of data between phones would become easier.

Following the launch of the 4G services, companies such as Apple have hinted at introduction of Tor mobile apps that will support Internet anonymity on mobile phones. Apple’s iOS9 would have this feature. Tor apps would, therefore, be freely available to users of iPhone and iPad that run on the iOS9 operating system. Tor apps have been made available on android devices for many years now.

Tor On Mobile DevicesThe Tor software enables Internet anonymity for users browsing the web. Tor apps encrypt and mask the users’ browsing data such as IP addresses and offer Internet anonymity. Commonly associated with crime and black market sites, Tor’s popularity in this area is bigger because it is known to provide a greater level of anonymity to both the publisher as well as the viewer of uploaded content. Security concerns however, Europol, the premier law enforcement agency in Europe has concerns of a different nature. The increased bandwidth provides additional possibilities for exchange and download of HD images and video. Enforcement agencies are therefore concerned that child pornographers would take maximum advantage of the 4G functionality. They would use Internet anonymity on mobile devices to their advantage. They believe that this type of masking and encryption of users’ identities would encourage troublemakers to operate at a level where they cannot be easily traced. Though Tor is known to slow down a user’s browsing speed, using the network along with 4G services would help to speed up the data transfer process.

According to Europol, Tor Internet anonymity platform has been identified as a leading player in both the creation and subsequent distribution of child pornography content. This finding was based on a report by the Virtual Global Taskforce that outlined important issues in the different ways in which the Internet anonymity software was being used by pedophiles. In their report on the techniques and methods used to commit offences and stay away from detection, it was cited that in about 40 hidden services that were reviewed and were purportedly proving child pornography material, Europol detected more than 300,000 active users. Some of the factors that were attributed to the use of the Tor Internet anonymity software for upload and circulation of child abuse material were the secrecy that the network software provided, the demand for new material to be uploaded regularly and the anonymous environment which allowed the offenders to reveal their desires more explicitly. Europol also has concerns that the Internet anonymity software technologies offered on mobile phones would add on a new layer of strain for the investigators to identify child abuse offenders.

Tor on Mobile Devices – Will It Be the Offenders’ Nemesis

The Orbot app is popularly used to access Tor by android phone users. This was revealed by the Tor Project, the non-profit organization that is responsible for the maintenance of the network software that provides Internet anonymity to its users. This information was obtained when they were asked to provide numbers of mobile users who used Tor. Orbot is easy to use and booting the app helps to access the Tor network by clicking on a button. Once the Internet anonymity software is on, certain apps have their traffic directed through Tor. Europol’s concern is that there are over 6 million installs of Orbot on android devices. Out of this number it has been observed that there are over 1.2 million who use it actively. However, nothing more is obvious about these users. Orweb browser, which is additional software that provides extra privacy and security has had 4 million installs from the Google Play Store and purportedly has 900,000 active users. In spite of the concerns about the secrecy that the Internet anonymity software will provide to child abuse offenders, security experts feel using Tor on mobile devices may have its own pitfalls. In spite of the fact that the Internet anonymity software hides IP addresses of the users, other data that can be traced to the users include the location of the mobile and data that is transferred to other mobiles through apps that are not configured to route data through Tor. Another pertinent point that works against offenders is that Orbot has had some bugs in software that leaked website addresses visited by the user when the VPN feature (of the app) was used. However, the company has claimed that these bugs have been fixed for the present.

California Representative Defends Library Supporting Tor

Zoe Lofgren

Zoe Lofgren, California Representative, wrote to Jeh Johnson, the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), defending the right of library in New Hampshire as regards offering Internet anonymity. In her letter that demanded an explanation, she stated that the possibility of DHS employees persuading or pressurizing public as well private entities to degrade or discontinue their services, which would help US citizens protect their anonymity and privacy, has disturbed her a lot. Meanwhile, a congressman in California is trying to have a clear understanding about the idea of Internet anonymity and as to why the DHS singled out one small library in New Hampshire.

Towards the end of summer season this year, an agent from the Department of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a subsidiary of DHS, put pressure on the Kilton Public Library in New Hampshire. The agent persuaded the library to disable the Tor relay which it was making use of to connect to a network that offered Internet anonymity. Librarians working at Kilton, located in West Lebanon, unanimously voted for the library to continue to offer Tor relay services. In fact, they also decided that they would step up their game. In the meantime, a number of other libraries have also started joining the movement.

Tor software
Tor relays, like the one that the Kilton Public Library is using, bolsters the Tor network which allows Internet users to access the World Wide Web without the surveillance of the authorities. This network is dependent on volunteers who donate bandwidth.

The library decided to temporarily stop the use of its Tor relay following the pressure put on them initially by the enforcement authorities. However, the library decided to reverse its decision and reboot its Tor relay. The local community has whole heartedly supported Kilton Public Library’s decision. Further, news outlets as well as civil rights groups all over the country have taken note of the issue.

Lofgren wrote in her letter addressed to Jeh Johnson that the product Tor network has been developed on the basis of research carried out at the DPRPA and Naval Research Laboratory in the United States of America. She also drew his attention to the fact that Tor network is being made use of by journalists, dissidents, intelligence sources, activists and other individuals who are concerned about their privacy and Internet anonymity. Tor enables them to keep details of their browsing activity private. The version of the Internet anonymity network that is being used currently continues to receive significant amount of funding by way of government grants.

The gist of the questions posed by Lofgren in her letter is as follows:

Question #1: Is the interference with the offering of the Kilton Public Library to protect the privacy of the Internet users the result of the policy of the DHS to persuade private or public entities from providing such services or is this an independent action by an agent without any kind of authorization?

Question #2: If an agent of the DHS has acted independently, what steps are being taken by the DHS to ensure that agents do not interfere in this manner with privacy protection services that are being made available to the public?

Question #3: Is there any other instance wherein a DHS agent was involved in either pressurizing or persuading private or public entities in either stopping their offering of privacy or Internet anonymity services or reducing the effectiveness of the services provided by them?

Further, Lofgren has requested the DHS to submit to her office relevant copies of the DHS guidance, policy or memo, if any, that deals with the issue of deterring or supporting the provision of privacy protection services by private entities, public entities or individuals.

It was Alison Macrina who helped the Kilton Public Library to set up its Tor relay system. Alison Macrina who founded the Library Freedom Project is passionate when it comes to this issue. According to her, libraries are the most democratic among public spaces. It is, therefore, important to ensure protection to an individual’s intellectual freedom, unencumbered access to information and privacy or Internet anonymity, she noted.

Cybersecurity Firm Offers To Pay Hackers Who Can Break Tor

Since the early days of the internet, the greatest threat that users have faced is a breach of their Internet anonymity. One of the greatest yet worst features of the internet has been that no matter who someone is in real life they have no obligations to be that person or to be responsible for their actions online. In more modern times however, with the rise of social media and the mobile device revolution, keeping that anonymity has been harder than ever. So, to combat this, the Tor network was developed in the mid-1990s as a way to hide one’s presence online and to retain one’s important Internet anonymity.

So in order to further understand why one would want to break through such a system, we must first understand how it works. The internet effectively works as a giant mailing system, sending objects back and forth like letters that contain information, a sending address, and a return address. So, if a server wanted to see who was connected they would simply look at the “return address” and that would lead them back to the connected user. As this has become quite a popular technique, it has been harder to keep Internet anonymity. The way the Tor network works is as if you wanted to send a letter from New York City to Los Angeles, California but you didn’t want them to know who it was from. So instead of sending it straight there, you send your letter to a friend in France who repackages the letter with their return address, and then they send it to someone in Britain who repackages the letter with their return address, and then that is sent off to one of their friends in Australia who finally repackages the letter with their return address and sends it to Los Angeles. Now if someone wanted to track that letter back to its original sender it would be almost impossible as they would have to track down each of the people who redirected the letter and request the previous return address until they got all the way back to you.

This system makes it incredibly difficult to track down the original user who wants to keep a low-profile and allows them to retain their Internet anonymity with little effort on their part. This has been incredibly useful for those who are partaking in illicit and illegal activities and want to hide their true identity from governments who wish to track down those who have committed cybercrimes. As one can imagine it takes quite a bit of work and international cooperation to obtain all of these “return addresses” to finally remove the internet anonymity of the alleged cyber criminals, making the process of catching these criminals often ineffective.

Internet anonymity is a difficult issue for law enforcement agencies and governments who need to track down cyber criminals, and this is where Zerodium comes into play. Zerodium is a company that essentially sells ways to break into computer systems and networks to private companies and governments; either for testing their own networks to improve security or for law enforcement. As the Tor network is used by many criminals in order to maintain their Internet anonymity, it has been the subject of many hacker “research projects” in order to figure out how to exploit the network to identify criminals or to improve the network, depending on which side you work for.
Hack Tor network
Depending on the difficulty of the hack on the Tor network, hackers can receive upwards of $30,000 USD. That is a lot of money by any standard but doesn’t even compare to some of the other premium cash rewards that the company offers to hackers. If a hacker can manage to find an exploit to an iOS device they can expect to see well over $500,000 USD for their efforts. There is however a restriction which does make a bit of sense, all of the exploits that are sold to Zerodium must be never before seen, otherwise known as Zero-Day exploits. By offering these new premium rewards for hackers publicly, Zerodium has ushered in a new era in minimized Internet anonymity, where everyone is out there to destroy it. There is no doubt that this will forever change the way that we not only protect ourselves from hackers but also how we relate to the internet.

Global Internet Freedom Has Been declining

Freedom on the Net 2015 Report by Freedom House

The annual report by Freedom House, an independent government watchdog, indicates there are setbacks as far as Internet anonymity is matter of concern. The setbacks were highly noticeable in the Middle East, contrary to admirable gains witnessed in the “Arab Spring.” The non-profit advocacy group found declines in online freedom of expression in thirty two countries of the sixty five that were assessed since June 2014, notable declines being witnessed in France, Libya and Ukraine. Freedom on the Net 2015 report shows that 61% of the world’s population that lives in countries characterized by criticisms of the government, military or ruling family is subjected to online censorship while 58% of the population lives in countries where bloggers are jailed for taking to social platforms to share content on political, social and religious matters. For instance, Thailand was noted to be one of the worst offenders of online freedom, and its extremely strict lese majeste laws forbid anyone to insult the monarchy.

Man Hand with Laptop
According to the latest report, many governments are increasingly censoring content from opponents especially on social platforms. These governments have gone to an extent of pressuring service providers such as Google, Twitter and Facebook to delete sensitive content. They are also piling pressure on individuals and private sector to remove or delete offensive content rather than filtering and blocking. They are trying to convince such persons to delete the content instead of blocking them due to the fact that online users are becoming more technologically savvy every minute hence able to circumvent any state-imposed blocks by using Internet anonymity tools. Freedom House notes that out of the 65 countries assessed, 14 countries passed laws over the past one year to enhance electronic surveillance. The report further notes that French citizens were among the most affected after new restrictions on online content were imposed. The country introduced a new surveillance law, further dampening Internet anonymity of its citizens. While online users strive to have Internet anonymity, a need that has seen them become more adept when it comes to evading website blocks and national firewalls, the governments on the other side have responded by increasing restrictions for the use of Internet anonymity tools and encryption technologies. China is a good example after it passed a law that requires telecom providers and ISPs to install “back door access” to all encrypted devices and traffic.

France came up with sweeping legislation that requires telecommunications providers and carriers to install “black boxes” to enable the government collect and analyze metadata on their respective networks. Libyans also had their online freedom highly compromised, with Freedom House citing that there is a troubling rise in violence against independent bloggers, escalating costs of mobile phone services, new political censorship cases and rising prices of Internet services. Ukraine is another country identified by Freedom House to be a culprit in disrespecting Internet anonymity of its citizens. In Ukraine, any citizen who posted content critical of the government policies was prosecuted. Additionally, there was increased violence especially from pro-Russian paramilitary groups fighting against online users posting pro-Ukraine content in eastern regions. These harsh punishments imposed on critics both in Ukraine have been linked with the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The annual report further pointed out that a sizable number of countries in the Middle East as well as North America, where the “Arab Spring” emergence back in 2010 and 2011 was partially aided by social media activists, were cracking down on any government critic.

Freedom House ranked China as the worst abuser of Internet freedom in 2015. Chinese officials continue to squeeze the Web including cracking down more than 200 citizens for their online activities while at the same time blocking access to several virtual private networks (VPNs), used for Internet anonymity and bypass firewalls. Syria and Iran came in second and third in the list of the worst offenders of online freedom. Looking back to previous years, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Vietnam were rated among the governments that suppressed freedom of speech, but it seems this year things are slightly different. The expansion that has been enjoyed by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq as well as its brutal use of social media in tracking and punishing opponents has been noted to be a driving force pushing the Middle East to become a region that doesn’t grant online freedom to its people.

Quick Stats

Global Map
With more than 3 billion people having access to Internet, here is a simple breakdown of how their Internet anonymity or online freedom is violated.

61%: Live in countries that subject criticism of the government, military or ruling family to strict censorship.

47%: Live in countries where citizens were attacked or even killed for their online activities.

58%: Live in countries where ICT users or bloggers were sent to jail for sharing sensitive content on political, social & religious issues.

45%: live in countries where activities such as posting satirical videos, cartoons or writings can lead to censorship or jail term.

Some Good News

Although the general curve seems to be in favor of strict online censorship rather than Internet anonymity, 15 of the 65 countries that were surveyed registered some improvements. One notable nation is Cuba, which showed greater tolerance towards online criticisms of Havana by Cubans. Additionally, Cuba also reduced the cost of Internet access by half.

Is Anonymous Social Media At Risk?

Internet anonymity isn’t necessarily associated with Tor network or VPN which both hide your IP address, location and your identity. It also means being able to open social media profiles without revealing your real name, as it was in the early days of internet before Facebook, YouTube, G+, and even MySpace.

Social Media
Ever since Facebook made it obligatory to use your real name, Internet anonymity has become questionable. According to a national survey, 86% of Internet users are taking steps in securing anonymity for themselves.

Although some believe that Internet anonymity provides security and comfort for people, in most cases people use it to misbehave, bully other people, troll across the internet, threat and even engage in criminal activities. So, Internet anonymity seems to be a double-edged sword.

And while Facebook still insists to use real names, Twitter and Reddit and similar sites are a bit more flexible and users are not required to use their real names; the main consequence being significant increase of bullying on these platforms as opposed to Facebook. Even Twitter’s CEO agreed that “we suck at dealing with trolls and abuse.”

New wave of concern for Internet anonymity has formed around people-rating app Peeple, and shutting down the anonymous app Secret. Peeple app is something like Yelp for people. What this means is that anyone who knows your name, phone number or your Facebook account can open a profile on your behalf and rate you! You don’t even have to be aware of it. Moreover, the reviews are permanent.

So, if you’ve kept yourself off the radar all this time, you will no longer be in control of your anonymity; sooner or later we’ll all end up on Peeple, all set to be reviewed.

Perhaps that’s not such a bad idea, after all. I mean, when buying a car or a cell phone, we do quite a bit of research on the particular device and on the company that sells it; so, why not do the same when picking new friends or partners?! The app became controversial even before its release.

Speaking about Internet anonymity, its advantages and disadvantages, in her book “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace” Danielle Citron gives a list of all possible harassment crimes on the web and possible solutions to counter it. None of the solutions questions justification of Internet anonymity. Citron believes that bullies occur equally on anonymous and non-anonymous social media sites.

She proposed a couple of solutions such as clear guidelines, better reporting system, well presented explanations for punishments, and of course allowing users themselves to reinforce good or bad behavior.

One of the attempts in preserving Internet anonymity was project Rooms. It was based on IRC chat rooms, where people could openly discuss certain topics in a room, and messages are approved by moderators. Strangely enough, the project was unsuccessful and gained just a handful of users.

Secret anonymity app was another project that failed in its mission to allow users to openly exchange their opinions. The app was shut down by the founder himself, David Byttow, and the money, $35 million, returned to the investors. Byttow said it was the hardest thing in his life, but he didn’t have any other choice, since the network was growing fast and getting out of control. He was especially dumbstruck when he realized just how many trolls and abusers are out there. Whisper and Yik Yak also struggle with bullies but they are still holding online.

Perhaps the most worrisome thing considering Internet anonymity is the recent event that took place in Sidney. An anonymous threat was posted by user on the message board called 4chan. He threatened to shoot at college and campus. Police and the anti-terrorist squad were alarmed and the next few days they spent patrolling the area; fortunately, it turned out that the threat was a fake one.

Police later said that even though they believed the threat wasn’t genuine, they treated it like it was. Most of the students were not very upset about the threats; they believed it was made by a fellow student who just wanted to ditch classes and enjoy a beautiful day. But some of them were very upset realizing that similar things happen at some colleges across America, where shooting attacks occur relatively often.

One thing’s for sure – even though Internet anonymity provide fertile ground for abuse and even criminal activities; more and more people are becoming advocates of Internet anonymity and believe that there are other ways to secure safe communication among people.

Tor Anonymity Apps On iOS 9

Internet anonymity services are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people seek privacy from online surveillance by governments, corporations that sell your data to marketing organizations, identity thieves, and others. Internet anonymity is currently a very controversial issue as policy makers, corporations and individuals face off over privacy issues and the legitimacy of government information gathering activities that infringe on individual rights. Cases of government snooping and data mining continue to raise tempers as more and more people agitate for the right to have personal information kept securely and not shared with third parties. With European and American governments seeking to draft and implement laws that will affect the future of encryption and online privacy, services that offer Internet users the chance to browse anonymously continue to attract more and more customers. And the technologies involved are becoming even more sophisticated by the day.
Tor and Apple Logo
iPad and iPhone owners using Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 9 are set to receive free Tor anonymity apps at a later, as yet undisclosed date. Privacy app developers are driving an initiative known as iCepa which seeks to increase online privacy and security for people using mobile devices to access the internet. Among the more popular Internet anonymity services is TOR. TOR is an acronym for The Onion Router, which was initially developed as a router for the US Navy to help protect government communications. Today, Tor is a nonprofit organization involved in the research and development of privacy tools for Internet users. It is used by the military, law enforcement agencies, journalists and individuals who need to browse the net anonymously.

TOR and other privacy apps work by encrypting a user’s Internet traffic and hiding IP addresses and other identifying information in order to protect the user’s identity. It moves your traffic across its various servers and encrypts it so that anyone trying to find out your identity will see traffic on the Tor network rather than tracing it back to you. Internet anonymity is a contentious issue with supporters and opposers in both camps. People support Internet anonymity for several reasons. One is freedom of speech, especially for persons living under autocratic regimes. Internet anonymity provides a platform for journalists and other whistleblowers to report what is happening under oppressive governments so that the rest of the world can help. Further, Internet anonymity helps people to research and discuss sensitive subjects without fear of discovery. Finally, anonymity can help to prevent cybercrimes such as bullying and stalking. People opposing anonymity cite several reasons. First, the reports by law enforcement agencies that anonymity encourages crimes like drug trafficking and child pornography. Secondly, hidden identities can help to propagate hate crimes and racism as it is difficult to trace back to the original source of such material where a website is anonymous. Finally, anonymity increases cases of scamming, email fraud and identity theft.

Governments and IT firms are currently engaged in a standoff about encryption with firms like Twitter and Dropbox launching a petition that urges President Obama to support encryption as a way of supporting freedom of speech. Further, firms and individuals alike are raising concerns about proposed laws by congress that if passed, could make it legal for the government to compel an organization to give up an individual’s personal data for “security” purposes.
available on apple store logo
The new privacy apps therefore could not have come at a better time. The system wide apps which will be available via Apple’s app store, will give owners of iPads and iPhones access to the Tor anonymous service as part of Apple’s strategy to protect user privacy. A few days ago, Apple app store removed over 250 iOS apps that were using a third party advertising SDK to mine customer’s personal data and reroute it to Chinese servers. Apple privacy and security guidelines prohibit the collection and use of app store users’ personal data. Tor developers continue to work on the app in order to provide iOS 9 users with the best product.

Advantages And Boundaries Of Internet Anonymity

Ever since the beginning of the Internet there has been a huge discussion about user anonymity – is Internet anonymity justifiable and when; should we all just use our legal identities while browsing and communicating on the internet. Naturally, there are lots of pros and cons to both sides of the coin.

Pros and cons of Internet Anonymity

Internet FishingMajor advantage of Internet anonymity is the opportunity to speak freely about things that would otherwise bring about unpleasant consequences to a person. This allows people to talk freely about their sexual orientation without fear of judgment, still very present in many countries; unpleasant experiences, such as harassment, sexual abuse or diseases; expressing political views that are different from the government’s, which is true especially in countries with limited freedom of speech.

In these situations Internet anonymity comes in very handy, but the major disadvantage of it is the fact that it can be used by criminal organizations and for criminal activities. Internet criminals are quite skillful at hiding, and typically they will attack those who use their real identities. So, many people view Internet anonymity as a major threat.

Those concerned about Internet security in general are mostly in favor of the anonymity; while law enforcements have a lot of trouble catching cyber criminals precisely because the high level of Internet anonymity.

The most common delusion of the average Internet user is the belief that using aliases instead of a real name will provide them anonymity. The truth is that it won’t, and the reason is quite simple – every computer has its IP address and it leaves digital footprints wherever you go on the internet.

Preserving anonymity has become much trickier since the social media came into play. It really doesn’t matter if you’re posting on a forum under a pseudonym; because, even an average hacker will be able to trace back to your Facebook  profile for example, which in most cases is on your legal name. And if you happen to link your social media profiles to any of your third-party profiles – their job gets even easier!

From here they can do whatever pops into their head and there’s no way for you to know that, until some serious damage happens. What’s worse, with them using various anonymity tools it makes them difficult to find; so, you won’t be able to press charges against them. Now, imagine someone bulling other people in your name; posting racist articles; manipulating your stock market; spending money from your credit/debit cards… You can end up in a lot of trouble, just for not being careful enough.

Some General Safety Measures

Luckily, there are some actions you can take to improve your Internet anonymity and security in defense against hackers.

• The main thing is to make strong passwords using symbols, numbers and letters, both upper and lower case.

• Also, consider using different passwords for different platforms, since platforms have various tools for protecting users’ passwords and not all of them are reliable.

Using a VPN is another way of protection against hackers and preserving your Internet anonymity. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it will basically hide your computer’s IP address and your location. It is a most useful tool when using public networks, such as restaurants, airports, neighbor’s internet 🙂 etc. Plenty of hackers are just waiting out there for you to login into your Facebook account via the public network.

• Another thing you should be mindful of is to avoid giving your email address to untrusted sources and never (really, never!) use your social media accounts when creating a profile on third-party websites.

• Phishing is also something you should be very aware of. Hackers often send links to their potential victims in an email. These links lead to fake websites which look the same as their original counterparts; only their addresses are slightly different – for example it won’t be but or instead of, you’ll see (triple l). People usually don’t notice these things and they just fill in the login information, practically giving away their usernames and passwords to hackers.

Social media is computer-mediated tool that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.We’re everyday witnesses of Internet being un-forgetful; everything you’ve ever done online is stored somewhere waiting to be used against you. And, hackers have a wide spectrum of tools they can use against you; no matter how careful you are they will always go above and beyond in discovering more creative and more subtle ways to get into your computer. You can never be careful enough, but you can make it a bit more complicated for them by being more mindful of your behavior online.