Anonymous E-mail & Other Ways to Stay Anonymous Online The world isn't as big as it used to be with the introduction of the World Wide Web and other aspects of the internet. With the proliferation of information from top sources to virtually anywhere in the world within seconds and vast cultural communities that where once separated by space now able to confer and communicate in real time, cultural sharing and human interaction has reached an entirely new level. Unfortunately with all of this sudden high speed exposure to differing viewpoints and belief systems the need to express yourself anonymously has also increased. This means that anonymous email and anonymous posts are more important now than ever. The main reason for this is that even though you do not put your personal information online, others do. When you sign up for most things, use many services or enter into many contests you expose yourself to corporations and entities that will sell your information to even less scrupulous sources that will resell it and distribute it widely. This means that not just hackers, but anyone interested can find out almost anything about you if it has ever been written down anywhere but in your diary. (Sometimes even then) So, here are a number of tips to stay anonymous online. Install a Firewall - Though by far not the only option the firewall is a major component of personal safety online. Even though some operating systems come with a firewall they are hamstrung by antitrust laws that prevent them from full out competition with other companies that specifically make this software. This means it has to be a barely functional application with a great deal of room for improvement if it is going to be bundled with the operating system. A dedicated standalone application like ZoneAlarm does a much better job. There are even better firewalls, but generally the more powerful a firewall is, the more complicated it is and the greater your level of understanding of the computer must be. Use an Anonymous Proxy - There are paid or free services that will reroute you through a proxy server, which is a server designed to hide your location. The paid services are better as they give you more bandwidth and a less circuitous route while still maintaining your anonymity Ecrypt your Data - There are applications like BitLocker, which comes with Windows 7, to encrypt your data. However, the included apps may not always work the best, using a 16 round Blowfish algorithm is still unbreakable and even with that has been supplanted by its successor TwoFish. Make sure when you are selecting an application (like Puffer) you research it's algorithm for weaknesses. Use Meta Search - You find the idea of some of the major search engines having the options to auction off or freely link your search queries or mishandle your IP a bit disconcerting. One way around this is to use a meta search engine that does not tell these corporations anything about the querent. Metacrawler is an example of one such meta engine. Email safely - If you want to send an anonymous email there are quite a few services that will let you send an anonymous email through their services without having to worry about being outed or sold out. Disguise your Machine - Hiding your Machine ID is a must. Your MAC address identifies your computer and makes it traceable on any network. It's not easy to change your own MAC address but you can use software programs like MacMakeup to broadcast a fake MAC address to cover your trail. Use Social Privacy - FaceBook, also known as Facebeast in some small circles for its penchant for devouring personal information, is becoming quite ubiquitous. Many of the social sites like FaceBook come with their privacy settings set to "shoot me, I'm right here!" with a big target bouncing over your message box. Take the time to ratchet the security down in all the various areas of your profile and settings.