Anonymous web browsing
The global legislature concerning the internet is changing, what once was a place for freedom of expression and sharing is now grabbing the attention of big brother. As you've probably heard there's a lot going on in internet law, things like PIPA. SOPA and ACTA raise concern among the online community, the reason being that governments are slow to catch on with adequate laws on issue. But the serious problem with these newly formed concept laws is their total lack of respect for the privacy of people. One of the founders of the U.S.A was firmly against the idea of limiting ones freedom. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”-Benjamin Franklin. But why do they keep on pressing these bills to limit our freedom? The reason is simple actually, it's all about intellectual property. The movie studios and music labels are afraid of losing their monopoly as cultural portals. Meanwhile they'll keep increasing their network surveillance, which is for obvious reasons harassment towards the end-user. So how do you get around this surveillance and stay anonymous when browsing? The main methods used are proxies and/or anonymity networks, such as Tor or i2p.
Before I go into further detail let me make it clear to you that it's impossible to be 100% anonymous on the internet. The nature of networking and routing means your location is always known in server logs. It only takes one phone call to your ISP with your IP address to obtain both your physical address and a search warrant along with it. Therefore, a method must be used to cloak your action from those ever-growing prying eyes. Simple traffic analysis and deep packet inspection can give up what you are sending, where you are sending it, where it is coming from and who it is going to. This is performed by your ISP to enforce data limits or anti-spam and piracy measures, and it can be performed by anyone with access to your network. This could be the FBI outside in a parked van or even your neighbor after he cracked your wireless password.
Well lets start with proxies and how they work. A proxy is basically a middle step between you and the internet, it acts like a buffer for information from which it relays that information to you. By doing so it'll mask your IP address from any website you visit, but it's wise to carefully select one that's fully transparent and has some good reviews about not forwarding data to governments and other organizations. A good proxy comes with two benefits, first of it will accelerate your browsing speeds and secondly it allows anonymity. Now that you've got a general idea of what a proxy is you can find a list of them at http://www.proxy.org/.
An even better way of anonymous browsing is onion networking services such as Tor or i2p. Tor works on the idea of onion routing. It works as follows, each machine that's running the Tor service is running a Tor router on their network. Each of those routers (also known as 'nodes') work by forwarding traffic from other random nodes. So when you send data onto the network tor will calculate a random path through the nodes from which it will send the data onto the network,
meanwhile it gets wrapped in many layers of encryption. When each of these random nodes receives your packet, they can only decrypt the layer assigned to them (only they have the key). As such, each node can only see the previous node a packet came from and the next node the packet should be sent to. At no point can the nodes dig deeper into the packet. They can only peel away the layer assigned to them. In this way, each layer is peeled away, one at a time, giving us the term onion routing. To learn more about Tor you should visit their homepage at https://www.torproject.org/.
Well I hope this will help you keep your internet freedom and be on your guard when using Tor.
Onion networking with Tor will allow you to access the darknet (I strongly recommend the weak of heart to avoid it.). This place is a modern-day wild west where anything goes. It's a great source for in-dept information but beware, there are many things in there that are illegal and are not meant to be seen, avoid those at all costs.