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Getting Around The Man and Keeping Your Privacy Onlinevtiutv8jr41c6giyn3ymgcx9ntbypsjaGetting Around The Man and Keeping Your Privacy Online

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In light of the recent Facebook privacy settings drama, I thought that this would be a good time to evaluate what control you (or others) have on your online presence. Our very own intern Matt0roevszvzj2v08ud2j25tuypqa8adwi3hew put together a toolbox of “Circumvention Tools”. Tools for handling online privacy, censorship and getting around online road blocks.b9627qvtyhhupuw4zscep6wu2myg3a14

By nature, this can be a sketchy area, so know that none of these tools are perfect by any means when looking at how to address these issues. And just because they’re listed here doesn’t mean we endorse or have tried them, we just want to let folks know what’s available. Security needs vary organization to organization and individual to individual, so we encourage you to vet circumvention and security tools thoroughly before depending on them in any way.xm9w7omu9j9s1x8fehs1e5cvvy1rfgr2

That being said, these are very real problems that a nonprofit or an individual can find themselves having to deal with and there are many reasons why you should at least know what’s up. First of all, anyone can see and track what you’re looking at online. Internet providers, websites, blogs (boo!) can track what you’re looking at. Because every computer is tied to a specific IP address, it’s actually fairly easy for someone to do. fcmfnapk2mbc9pj8w70tnh5erskten0kSecondly, for some organizations, like Google, it’s a large part of their business model. They track what you search for and look at to give you more relevant search results.310uqqez6eks300rceac2hmh8ybmhpkb

But it’s one thing to track what someone is doing online and a whole other to take action against them based on what they’re doing. Controversial nonprofits and organizations have a legitimate security issue to consider when looking at how they leave a footprint online. For example, if your organization works for freeing political prisoners and your IP address is tracked to a website categorized by the government as “terrorist” don’t think that nothing will happen. edkuv9uqadpzgiib9ghr2wh3zuv7m23qWhile this might sound conspiracy-theory-esque, I just want to use an extreme example to illustrate the point that there can be real dangers when people follow you online and more importantly when you don’t know about it or what you can do. Direct action organizations, protest groups and people advocating for a controversial cause need to know that (just like everyone else), their wanderings and actions online are there for anyone to see.hw7arjhrhbuqrwv4vgris2yevhyj7ekf

Tracking where someone goes online isn’t the only way that you can be taken advantage of online. Anyone who followed the protests in Iran over the presidential elections knew that Twitter and YouTube were far richer in content for real-time news than traditional news media. 37l77d6egfnr7ildh59j10qw0cgmk4oeThe fact that a government can choose to block sites like this effectively cuts off the vocal cords of a group of people while at the same time stopping others outside of the situation from knowing what is going on. While this also might seem like an extreme example, simply the fact that this is possible must leave you wondering what’s up and what you can do about it.r31duqdqf1rvfozuul9nhgd8zlo5a76r

Luckily, there are tools out there that can help you out. Some tools like Freegate, Gpass and Your Freedom work against these kinds of censorship measures to allow people access to sites they wouldn’t be able to view otherwise. While tools like Tor and UltraSurf work to hide your IP address so your actions are lost in the intertubes. And again, remember that these tools are not perfect. l34np2tj5w5bz85q35zld4z2582gy8taIn many ways it’s like an arms race between the tools that work for you and the tools that work against you. It’s only a matter of time before one catches up with the other.med5s6v6fmsllzj66vpdweuseh0qaohm

Now that I’ve got you a little paranoid, I say go and check out a few of these tools and see what you think. If all of these online privacy and censorship issues make you a little uncomfortable (as it should!), know that it’s a real issue and that your privacy, identity and access to content online are hot commodities.x8mq1v8a8pyoqyvwmvdgroot930g1m6o

What issues have you seen come into play around these issues?8792r0kte8km12axsjpe4b4ric0and2l

What do you do to protect your control over your online presence?05dwy5ec286kc76fyq0c0z189kj4r5gi

What tools are missing from the toolbox?6ib231l61ubn2v2eb50fxfoj9aq6gpyc

Your paranoid toolbox-er,zzgftox87dx4wzyxibcdblmi0ks12hds

Matt0roevszvzj2v08ud2j25tuypqa8adwi3

(original) View Français translation

In light of the recent Facebook privacy settings drama, I thought that this would be a good time to evaluate what control you (or others) have on your online presence. Our very own intern Matthew put together a toolbox of “Circumvention Tools”. Tools for handling online privacy, censorship and getting around online road blocks.

By nature, this can be a sketchy area, so know that none of these tools are perfect by any means when looking at how to address these issues. And just because they’re listed here doesn’t mean we endorse or have tried them, we just want to let folks know what’s available. Security needs vary organization to organization and individual to individual, so we encourage you to vet circumvention and security tools thoroughly before depending on them in any way.

That being said, these are very real problems that a nonprofit or an individual can find themselves having to deal with and there are many reasons why you should at least know what’s up. First of all, anyone can see and track what you’re looking at online. Internet providers, websites, blogs (boo!) can track what you’re looking at. Because every computer is tied to a specific IP address, it’s actually fairly easy for someone to do. Secondly, for some organizations, like Google, it’s a large part of their business model. They track what you search for and look at to give you more relevant search results.

But it’s one thing to track what someone is doing online and a whole other to take action against them based on what they’re doing. Controversial nonprofits and organizations have a legitimate security issue to consider when looking at how they leave a footprint online. For example, if your organization works for freeing political prisoners and your IP address is tracked to a website categorized by the government as “terrorist” don’t think that nothing will happen. While this might sound conspiracy-theory-esque, I just want to use an extreme example to illustrate the point that there can be real dangers when people follow you online and more importantly when you don’t know about it or what you can do. Direct action organizations, protest groups and people advocating for a controversial cause need to know that (just like everyone else), their wanderings and actions online are there for anyone to see.

Tracking where someone goes online isn’t the only way that you can be taken advantage of online. Anyone who followed the protests in Iran over the presidential elections knew that Twitter and YouTube were far richer in content for real-time news than traditional news media. The fact that a government can choose to block sites like this effectively cuts off the vocal cords of a group of people while at the same time stopping others outside of the situation from knowing what is going on. While this also might seem like an extreme example, simply the fact that this is possible must leave you wondering what’s up and what you can do about it.

Luckily, there are tools out there that can help you out. Some tools like Freegate, Gpass and Your Freedom work against these kinds of censorship measures to allow people access to sites they wouldn’t be able to view otherwise. While tools like Tor and UltraSurf work to hide your IP address so your actions are lost in the intertubes. And again, remember that these tools are not perfect. In many ways it’s like an arms race between the tools that work for you and the tools that work against you. It’s only a matter of time before one catches up with the other.

Now that I’ve got you a little paranoid, I say go and check out a few of these tools and see what you think. If all of these online privacy and censorship issues make you a little uncomfortable (as it should!), know that it’s a real issue and that your privacy, identity and access to content online are hot commodities.

What issues have you seen come into play around these issues?

What do you do to protect your control over your online presence?

What tools are missing from the toolbox?

Your paranoid toolbox-er,

Matt



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