Information is the pragmatic web surfer's guide to online privacy and anonymous web surfing. We give you the information and tools you need to be confident and in command of your web surfing experience. Here you'll find information on the latest privacy issues facing Web consumers and links to relevant privacy technology. has the most comprehensive list of working proxies in the most convenient form.

Your right to anonymity

Amendments 4 and 5 of The United States Bill Of Rights protect the right to be free of unwarranted and unwanted government intrusion into one's personal and private affairs, papers, and possessions. Article 12 of The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Despite some charges to the contrary, anonymous web surfing is not the sole province of criminals. Anonymity also serves whistle blowers, free speech advocates, and people just looking for personal privacy online. Privacy is not a crime and anonymity is not morally ambiguous or wrong, they are your right.

Technical challenges to online privacy

The Internet did not evolve with privacy in mind. In fact, the protocols that provide the fundamental underpinnings of the Internet are inherently non-anonymous. It's just a simple matter of computers needing to know each other's addresses in order to exchange data. For instance, any webserver can detect your Internet Protocol (IP) address. Other characteristics that a server can detect about you are your referrer (the site from which you are linking), the user-agent (the program you are using to browse the web), and your operating system.

What does your IP address reveal about you?

Your IP address reveals your point of entry to the Internet and can be used to trace your communications back to your ISP, your employer's network, your school, a public terminal. Though your IP address may not identify you personally, an IP is a unique identifier which represents your computer's digital ID while you are online.

It is possible to disguise your IP address on the web by using an anonymous proxy server. A proxy acts as an intermediary, routing communications between your computer and the Internet. A proxy specializing in anonymous surfing, however, uses its own IP address in place of yours in every outgoing request.

Approaches to proxy

Proxies are commonly used for several reasons: security, load balancing, data caching in order to reduce bandwidth demands, and censorship or filtering. Filtering proxies insulate you from objectionable elements of Webpages such as cookies, ad banners, dynamic content like Javascript, Java Applets and ActiveX controls. Some anonymous proxies encrypt your communications to protect you from monitoring and surveillance. Be careful, though, not all proxies are anonymous or secure! Here is an overview of the basic approaches to proxy:
Web-based Proxies: Web-based Proxies are powered by server-side softwares such as CGIProxy, PHProxy, Glype, and custom proxy scripts. These proxies work entirely through a web browser. Usually all that is needed to hide your IP address and surf anonymously is to visit the service's homepage in a web browser and enter a URL (website address) in the form provided. There is no requirement to download or install software or reconfigure your computer. To work, a CGI based proxy must manipulate the document you've requested and all its associated elements and objects. This can be tricky, and not all proxies are as efficient or effective as others. Some services are slow and may produce errors while rendering the many variations of webpage code. But they are popular, numerous, and easy to use. recommends: Proxify® and other proxies listed in the top ten. Open Proxies: So-called "open proxies" are HTTP or SOCKS type proxy servers that are accidentally or maliciously left "open" and accessible on the Internet. HTTP or SOCKS type proxy servers require that you configure your browser's proxy settings in order to use them. These proxies have the advantage of being compatible with most webpages since they do not have to modify the webpages in transport. However, there are significant drawbacks to using open proxies. We strongly discourage the use of open proxies as they provide no privacy or security and using them can result in increased exposure and liability. recommends: Proxify Launchpad™ instead of any open proxy. Anonymity networks: Various anonymity networks (Freenet, I2P, JAP, and TOR) feature layered encryption (sometimes called "onion routing") and peer-to-peer networking to allow their users to communicate anonymously with each other. Rather than operate their own equipment, most rely on end-users to donate bandwidth and other resources to their networks. As with open proxies, this creates significant drawbacks to using anonymity networks. Also, these services have developed a reputation for being relatively slow. Proxy and VPN Software: Other commercial services offer client-side applications to configure your browser's proxy settings or establish a connection to a virtual private network. The quality, reliability and effectiveness of these services vary greatly. Some of these services are merely open proxies dressed up with a fancy interface.

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