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Chapter 6. Understanding the Online Envi... > Anonymity on the Internet

Anonymity on the Internet

One of the goals of this book is to show that even though an element of privacy is lost when conducting activity on the Internet, you can also take some steps to maintain an element of anonymity. This next section looks at some of these steps, covering items such as anonymous surfing, anonymous remailers, and various shareware and commercial products that help maintain anonymity on the Internet. The majority of these tools are either free or low cost, making them attractive to the end user.

Anonymous Surfing

Anonymous Web surfing was developed to help protect consumers who give up private information, both knowingly and unknowingly. A variety of products available on the Internet enable anonymous surfing. Typically, these products enable you to visit Web sites without leaking information such as originating IP address, geographical location, browser type and operating system, installed plug-ins, screen height and width, local time zone, and previous site visited. To illustrate the amount of information you divulge when visiting a site, visit a “Privacy Analysis” page at http://privacy.net/anonymizer. The page shows you exactly how much information you are leaking when you are surfing the Web. Many Web sites log and compile this information with the hopes of better, more targeted marketing, or even with the hopes of selling to third parties such as marketing firms and advertisers.


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