The debate on the anonymity of bloggers allows us to translate this post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which reminds how to maintain a degree of anonymity and protect its business.
Under the bill proposed by Senator Masson reflected both a lack of knowledge of the Internet, causing a fear and a desire underlying environmental control beyond policy not mastered long ago. Whatever may be said, anonymity on the Internet is of crucial importance. Here are some tips for blogging without being discovered or found, or worried.
Blogs are a mixture of private telephone conversations and newspapers. This is the perfect tool to share your favorite recipe for chocolate mousse with friends – or to support the foundations of democracy by informing the public that a member of the government has been corrupted by your boss.
If you blog, it is not guaranteed that you will attract thousands of readers. But at least some readers will find your blog, and they could be the ones you want or expect it unless they read you. This includes your employer (current or potential), your colleagues, your neighbors, your spouse (s), your family, or anyone who types your name or email address into a search engine and click on two or three links.
The idea is that eventually, anyone can find your blog if your identity “real” is linked in one way or another. And there may be consequences. Members of your family may be shocked or disturbed by reading. A potential employer will think maybe twice before you hire. But these concerns should not stop you from writing. Instead, they must convince you to secure it, or make it available only to a few trusted people.
We offer here a few precautions to help you control your privacy, so that you can express yourself without fear of reprisal. If you follow them properly, these protections can save you a lot of trouble, or a simple embarrassment to your friends or colleagues.
The best way to blog and keep some privacy is to be anonymous. But being anonymous is not as simple as you think.
Say you want to start a blog about your horrible work environment, without taking the risk that your boss or colleagues discover what you tell them. You will need to consider how to anonymize every possible detail about you. And you should also use some tools that make tracking your blog to your real identity more complicated.
1 – Use a nickname and do not give details that can identify you
When you write about your workplace, be sure not to retail talking. This includes things like your location, how many employees do your company and its industry. Same general details can reveal a lot. If, for example, you write, “I work in a Seattle weekly that I will not name,” it is clear that you need to work in one or two places available. Be smart. Instead, you can say that you work in a media company in a small town.
Obviously, do not use real names and do not post pictures of yourself. And do not use pseudonyms which resemble your real name. Do not replace Annalee by Leanne, for example. And remember that any type of personal information may reveal your identity. You might be the only one in your business to be born on such a day, or with a red cat.
Also, if you do not want your colleagues fall on your blog, not blogging during work hours. You may have problems for using the resources of your business, such as the Internet, and it will be difficult to prove that you write your blog as part of your work. It will also be very difficult to hide your blogging activity to your colleagues and employees of the department who observe traffic from the intranet under the microscope.
2 – Use anonymization techniques
There are a large number of technical solutions for the blogger who wishes to remain anonymous.
If you worry that your host logs your IP address and can go back to the computer from which you blog, you can use the Tor network for blogging. Tor redirects your Internet traffic through what he calls an “overlay network” that hides your IP address. More importantly, Tor makes it more difficult for Internet snoops to follow the path of your data and traced back to you.
Since the publication of this note, several new technologies have emerged. Here are a few:
> You can use anonymous email account providers.
> Prefer blogging platforms that do not require personal information (Blogger), or host your own blog using WordPress for example if possible.
> Use proxy to secure your Internet connection, this tool example.
3 – Use ping services
If you want to protect your privacy while making visible and accessible information that you post, try to use ping services to distribute your content for you.
The program is responsible for sending a notification (a “ping”) about your publications with search engines like Technorati and Wikio. Once these sites list your entries, which usually take a few minutes, you can remove your rating. Then, the news can spread quickly and its source disappears, all in less than half an hour. This protects the blogger while allowing it to reach a certain audience.
4 – Limit your audience
Many blogging services allow you to restrict access to specific tickets – or at your blog – only those with a password, or authorized. If the purpose of your blog is to communicate with your family or friends, and you want to avoid collateral damage to your privacy, consider using these features. If you host your own blog, you can also password protect, or configure it not to be visible from some specific computers.
5 – Prevent Google to find you
If you want to prevent major search engines like Google to include your blog in their search results, you can create a special file that tells it to ignore these services your site. This file is called robots.txt. You can also use it to prevent search engines to access certain parts of your blog only. If you do not know how to do this yourself, you can use a free generator on the Internet. However, we must remember that the search engines may choose to ignore a robots.txt file, making your blog easily searchable. There are many tricks to make your blog less easily found, without a robots.txt.
6 – Register your domain name anonymously
Even if you do not give any names or personal information on your blog, people can look at the WHOIS for your domain name, and discover who you are. If you do not want this to happen, you can register your domain name anonymously.
Scandinavia is found probably one of the safest solutions. If you want to host your blog in a safe place, protected by the Swedish constitution (very protective), you can contact PRQ, a Swedish specialist host in sensitive hosting.