Online Anonymity - Is it Boon Or Bane by anamaulida


									Many people might choose to have a vague identity and become more or less
anonymous in normal life. They, too, try to get along with the same level
of privacy on the internet. Despite the borrowing of other user's
accounts or by forging identities of some internet users, one of the most
common and least complicated ways of obtaining anonymity on the internet
is by making use of one of the many anonymity services. Using such free
or commercial online anonymous proxy utility service provides a level of
personal freedom, privacy and security on the internet.Some of the
services are connected directly to specific newsgroups on the usenet(a
branch of the internet) while other anonymity providers are global and
service the entire internet and utilize "remailers" or computers on the
internet that forward electronic mail or files to other network
addresses. Before the remailer forwards the information, it strips the
header from the original email so that the information showing the origin
of the message is no longer attached to the email. Several anonymity
services replace the header with anonymous addresses like
nobody[at]nowhere which makes the recipient clueless about the sender and
its origin. Hence, the anonymous message is delivered.Generally, almost
every website an Internet user visits gathers personal information and
logs activities of both the sender and recipient. Advertising networks,
for instance, track a user's internet usage across thousands of different
websites at a time. These websites will use the information they gathered
by sending unsolicited ads and promotional offers. Further, some resume
websites will take the personal information they have obtained and resell
it.How is collecting information done? There are many different
technologies a website can use to track and collect information. Cookie
is the first and probably the best known technology. The moment you visit
a website, a small piece of data called cookie is placed in your
computer. The computer then returns the data every time you go back to
that website.IP address is the second and a more complicated method of
tracking Internet user's activities. An IP address works something like
your computer's phone number. In a broadband connection it is usually
static, which means it never changes, or changes less frequently, if
ever. Any computer a user is connecting across the Internet can see such
address which allows them to see the user's location, the kind of
computer and the ISP he or she is using. Because data storage is becoming
cheaper and cheaper each day, the data these people have gathered stay in
their databases in many years, which they can use over and over again for
whatever purpose they may see fit.Anonymity simply means surfing the
Internet without disclosing one's personal identity such as name and
financial information. It is made possible by anonymous service providers
by re-routing each and every website request to a proxy server that the
service provider has installed at a remote location. Thus, the website
one wants to visit will interpret the request as coming from another IP
address.A lot of people say that online anonymity is something that
crooks, stalkers, and pedophiles will want to use and keep. They point
out that only those who have something to hide will want to stay
anonymous. It may be true, but if someone becomes a victim of credit
fraud, for example, anonymous surfing may be the only solution not to
fall prey to those unscrupulous criminals again.

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