Tor – Privacy, Browsing, Tracking And Your ISP
Most of us don’t mind giving up a part of our privacy for our personal protection (airport scanners), or a good deal (loyalty shopping programs). We even voluntarily sign up for social networking sites that track every move we make and then sell aggregate information to marketers. But what about all the times we’re on the web and are not really sure about what search and browsing activities our ISP, or other company or agency is tracking? (In repressed countries this becomes even more of an issue as one compromised e-mail can mean torture or death to the sender.)
Let’s be realistic: the only way to not be tracked in any way online is to not go on online at all. Actually, you’d better leave your computer turned off, because many applications and programs on your computer automatically check for software updates and also track and record meta data.
Tor is free software and an open network that claims to help you defend against a form of network surveillance that “threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships. It prevents your traffic from being analyzed by distributing your transactions over several places on the internet, so no single point can link you to your destination.” One of the ways Tor works is by sending your e-mails through several relays, so it’s impossible to find out where the e-mail originated and where it was meant to end up. Maybe not every ISP uses traffic monitoring services – do you know if yours does? Even if you think it doesn’t, it’s a good idea to never search for your social security number and name, or passwords with any personal info.
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