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 Do We Need Anonymity For Surfing Like The
         Laws For Phone Tapping?

The recent phone tapping issue not only closed UK’s paper, News of the World, and left its innocent
workers at disarray, but it also incited a clash between the border disregarding merchants (Rupert
Murdoch's empire) and the border defending politicians. Almost reminding one of Clash of
civilizations, a Hindu could easily see a clash between Kchhetrias and Vaisyas. Although the paper
died, after the clash, BSkyB suddenly survived.



Although exposure through phone tapping has grabbed headlines in the surviving papers, ‘human
nakedness’ during surfing the Net has never grabbed much. The biggest lie, ‘Surfing the Net in
private’, still mimics Gospel truth. Although we cherish our privacy and the explosion of the Net and
concepts emerging from it have partly come through the privacy that it offers us, it is essentially
‘pseudo privacy.' In fact, it is almost reminiscent of replacing God. Big Brother sees all that we do in
that ‘private’ moment. Suddenly we have never been so much exposed in our entire history, even
when primitive tribes are included - as a dismayed Pakistan has come to know.



This Big Brother has octopus like tentacles:

1. The visited websites and their cookies
2. The Internet service provider
3. The Hackers
4. PC repairer or buyer.



Although our credit card details are secure, our IP addresses (the place from where you are surfing),
personal emails, visited pages, the details in the filled forms, buying details, and the stuff downloaded
in our PCs are all ‘captured.' Unprotected data transfer is a feast for hackers. Although downloaded
data preserved in our PCs helps in catching law breakers, beyond exposing our hypocrisy, they
damage us in more ways than one.

Although these make us look so vulnerable, it is not that safeguarding factors aren’t available.
1.Proxy address use: In this method, surfers use proxy IP address instead of their own IPs. The visited
site sees the proxy IP’s location and easily gets fooled.



2. Anonymous search: Although search engines keep our search data (that is how you get previously
searched keywords in their pages), http://www.ixquick.com uniquely deletes data after 48 hours.



3. Encrypted data transfer: While use of a wired modem is safer than a wireless one, unprotected data
from the latter is extremely dangerous - more so when bank transactions are done. While username
and password protects data from routine offenders, a tunneled data transfer through the Net avoids
prying eyes of both ISPs and hackers. Encryption of data offers the better protection. Credit cards use
28 bit encrypted data transfer and even a 3D system for added security.



4 . Hybrid system: Being a big company and with multiple computers all over the world, TorProject
combines multiple IP addresses with channelized data transfer. This isn’t good news for data
capturing sites and hackers. Although this travel through many computers makes downloading time
long, the anonymity it provides has helped many journalists, scientists, politicians etc.



5. Data destruction: Data is like a precious diamond. However, they can bring disaster if placed in the
wrong hands. Data needs deleting.



The truth is that when we use proxies, even if the data isn't available to the websites, it is available to
the proxies. This only makes it look like a simple shift of data from one company to another. This data
needs deletion. While the ISP gets the transit data, our HDs store all of the received data. Remember
CIA agents didn't torture Al Qaeda’s agents to get information. They were lucky to get a hold of its
leader’s computer. No wonder learning about Al Qaeda’s weaknesses, financially weakened USA
gleefully got an opportunity to withdraw its troupes from Afghanistan. Although wrong data, like
pedophile pics, in the right hands like a computer repairer can nab pedophiles, right data, such as bank
details, in the wrong hands can bring disaster - even more so when the gadget is negligently thrown
away or sold.



Data can be destroyed at three levels:



1. At proxy level: One should make sure that data gets destroyed by the proxy company. Tor doesn’t
store data. Other companies destroy data when accounts are closed.
2. At browser level: Anonymous browser and Hide my IP address that Tor uses destroys data once the
browser is closed.



3. At HD level: With deleting data may not be making much of a difference thanks to flourishing data
recovering software alone, as done by Jetico, data needs rewriting – that too thrice for a permanent
deletion.



                We are living in dangerous times where greed for money is at its peak. In addition,
        unlike circulation of just the stories in the past, now many of our actions are recorded. They
        can be rewound and brought forward just like that. In this scenario, above methods can help
        one avoid future financial, if not, a social ruin.




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