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Part III: Dangerous Territory: Protectin... > Understanding the Online Environment...

Chapter 6. Understanding the Online Environment: Addresses, Domains, and Anonymity

This chapter looks at the online environment itself. The Internet is probably the best medium for the delivery of public information to the online community. We'll examine the basics surrounding various Internet components such as IP addresses and DNS. A fundamental understanding of these technologies will help you see the connection between technology, how it is used, how it can be abused, and how it affects your privacy. This chapter also examines ways to remain anonymous on the Internet and a variety of methods and techniques to help you achieve anonymity.

Governmental efforts to protect consumer information have often been misdirected and have provided further compromises of user data and even more means of collecting user information. In early 2001, news leaked out about a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plan to automate its monitoring of Internet chat rooms and message boards for fraudulent stock promotions and other get-rich-quick schemes. A large database of these postings would be created. The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press published news about the new initiative, and the SEC's response was that the effort would merely automate surveillance techniques SEC agents were already using.


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