Saturday, October 25, 2008

Practical Anonymity on the Internet

Whatever you type into the address/search bar of Chrome, the Google browser, it goes to Google. Of course Google has been doing it for a long time, every search is archived. If you volunteered by logging in, all the info goes to your hidden profile, such as web history. If you don't login, they have your IP anyway, which can easily be used to link to you one day. For example, with the website you visited, they know where you live, what are your kid's schools, which company you work for, your bank, and where you shop most, etc. With these info, it's easy to know which IP belongs to the same person, and one day link to your real ID. It's a big brother's world.

Imagine if Google brought up an ISP tomorrow! Whatever you do on the web, someone in Google can be able to know about it, and they know your real name and address too. Maybe every politician will be up in arms about it. Also Google's moto is do no evil. So that's not that alarming.

However, how about 10 or 20 years from now, Google and and a few ISP will be brought up by a Chinese company, still controlled by the communists? Immediately they can find out who were, say, human right activists causing trouble many years ago.

With all the talk about online privacy, my guest estimate is that at most only several thousand people in the whole world is taking it seriously daily. That's the number of people using JonDo, and perhaps more using TOR, the only two practical and reasonably safe systems.

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