One of the important issues in the 21st Century is how to preserve personal privacy. Microsoft, for example, is offering Windows 10 for free but in exchange, its default setting gives the software permission to “pass your data to Microsoft’s servers, gobble up your bandwidth and profile your computer usage.” (The Week, August 21/2015 pg. 18.) The only way to avoid the intrusion is to decline the “custom install” and turn off the default setting in almost every case. “Then go into Windows 10’s privacy setting. Look through all of the dozen sections…and decide what you’re willing to share.( Ibid pg. 18).
Unlike Microsoft, Facebook is growing sensitive to privacy issues and offers users an extra layer of protection: facebookcorewwwi.onion. (“Security Ideas,” Wired, 9/15, pg. 90-91)
For those wanting greater privacy there is the Tor browser:
Tor is short for The Onion Router (thus the logo) and was initially a worldwide network of servers developed with the U.S. Navy that enabled people to browse the internet anonymously. Now, it’s a non-profit organization whose main purpose is the research and development of online privacy tools. The Tor network disguises your identity by moving your traffic across different Tor servers, and encrypting that traffic so it isn’t traced back to you. Anyone who tries would see traffic coming from random nodes on the Tor network, rather than your computer. (Click)
A word of caution, however. Where Tor can take you, you may not want t go: the dark side of the internet. There you can rub shoulders with members of Anonymous, a band of internet rebels, and other folks who have criminal intent. In-between you might find Edward Snowden and places with dark web-drop sites for whistleblowers run by The Guardian, the New Yorker, The Intercept and WikiLeaks. For those curious about these drop sites, they can be found as follows: Guardian: 33y6fiyhs3phzfih.onion; New Yorker: strngbxhwyuu3713.onion; Intercept: y6xigkgwj47us5ca.onion; wikileaks:wlupld3ptjvsgwqw.onion. (Ibid pg. 90.)
Not ready for the dark side but still curious? Wired recommends Twitter’s, “The Grugq” — tweets from the mind of a funny hacker. Or, try Mr. Robot, a TV program which solves crime by hacking.
With Halloween around the corner, be aware there’s more to the dark side than graveyards.
(Orignally posted 10/19/15)