This is the second post in the series of article on protecting privacy and staying anonymous. If you haven’t read the first post about anonymity, which is total BS, trust me, just spend two minutes on the first post.
The internet is a bit quite big than what we all think. When I mean internet, I just mean the visible web(which can also be called the surface web).
I don’t want to go to too much boring numbers and statistics, well that is because I don’t like numbers very much. Had to attempt most of my math papers a couple of times. But we should know what we are dealing with.
So, ahem, the internet, or, what we know as internet is called the surface web. We call it surface web because there are other “webs” known as deep web and dark web, which we will come across in this bullshit anonymity blog later.
According to a site called sciencefocus the data storage of a couple of companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and facebook itself constitues of 1200 Petabytes(1.2 Million Terabytes). And we have to remember this is just four of them. There are other huge players in the business.
There is this weird looking page which claims to count the size of internet if you want to check it yourself. All of it, I mean, most of it, the common stuff is there. Please understand that I have absolutely no relation with that page, so the stat they provide is not something I can vouch for.
Where was I?
Yea, the wild web. The internet is quite a wild place. If we look into the internet today, it is “the” place for everything. When I mean internet, I am referring to the surface web. We can simply look for anything from how to suicide to how to make quick money. We can hire people, look for jobs, porn, date, game online, look for classifieds, place ads and name it. For me, a day without internet is almost unthinkable. I tried to explain the feeling here, but didn’t get enough BS.
But, when we are out socializing with people, tweeting our moments, chatting with friends, window shopping and adding wish lists, trying to find a date online, watching asian Chicks and cheating housewives and all that we do on the internet, we never really know what is happening behind the curtains.
Long time back, when writing blogs for the company would give us a few extra bucks, I did a research on what all is the reality behind all the social media and the free services that we get addicted to.
The reality is that once we upload these data into all the sites we use, then the data belong to them. Most of the time, we just click “I agree , I agree and I agree for the last fucking time” we miss that they have to tell us about what they are planning to do with our data.
I still see people making memes about the cambridge analytica scandal. And I think I saw Mr.Zuckerberg saying something regarding the data, that the users agree to the terms and conditions Facebook provide and they should understand these things.
Then a few years back there was NSA, firstbench and Snowden scandals. Which made a lot of users panic to know that they could be tracked sitting behind a computer with some tools. ( This is not something I will cover in this series because there are a lot of great articles to understand all these). But we will cover a couple of related topics in the series.
Wait, the bullshit meter is glowing.
Back to point , our matter is anonymity. Whenever I used to think about being anonymous, the first picture that comes to my mind is a guy in a black hood somewhere in a dark basement with a hundred computer terminals running in front of him. Basically Geek Stuff.
No, Staying anonymous is not geek stuff. It is a total wrong thought.
Staying anonymous have to be divided into several stages depending upon how anonymous you want to stay over the internet.
Wait what you mean “how anonymous” ?
When I say “HOW”, that is the first point which we have to discuss. How exposed we are in the internet.
Finally, it is time to understand some things. I Am not sure how far I will go with this, but I will try to make it as simple as I could go.
Start with the computer that we sit at and start browsing.
The first data leak occurs at the ISP level. You don’t know what an ISP is? Err… ISP is Internet Service Provider. Like British Telecom, Like SKY, AT&T, Claro, Digital West and so and so and so…. When I mean leak, don’t close your eyes and imagine a leaking pipe. No. That is not how it is.
Leak means, Let’s say someone , a person is sitting in the main router at the ISP office. If he decided to look into a specific IP address, he will be able to know what are the requests that an average user is making from his internet connection.
Can you imagine that scenario, where a random someone sitting at a remote office looking into all of our browsing history? Looking into our internet history checking what are the times are accessing PornHub and what is our preferred video type? Checking which is our hospital and what is the last medical term that you searched for? Checking which is the college that you are sending your beautiful teenage daughter to?
I am not sure about you, but I don’t want that to happen. I am someone who consider privacy a serious thing. I am someone who would lock the screen if I feel someone is staring into my monitor.
Have you ever wondered why does, Youtube compile a list of related videos for you without you asking for it? Why your last window shopping list is shown in the ADs section in the next blog you read? Why google is sending us suggested videos and products, why we are getting a thousand emails in spam and junk for penis enlargement, credit cards and zero interest mortgages?
This is where agents like analytics come into play. There are thousands of analytics firms who mess around in the internet claiming to be taking surveys and collecting user data for “Analysis”. But who know what is their actual analysis is? Why is that google is able to suggest us our needs even before we know it? Why is facebook able to show us things that make us sit back and spend hours (wasted) rolling the scroll button?
No, just don’t go sue someone saying you are invading my privacy. You agreed to it, when you signed up for whatever services they offer.
I will try to include as much as privacy tips as possible in the series. But, I suggest, consider your privacy a serious matter. And do what it takes to protect it.