Our service, iPrivacyTools, is geared toward customers
who want to "hide" or "change" their IP address.
This implies a certain degree of anonymity, which is more than adequate
for most users to visit websites and participate in online communities
without exposing their IP to hackers and others. However, in an ideal
world, the term "anonymous surfing" would probably involve
a higher degree (100%) anonymity. In general, we don't stress the "anonymous
surfing" aspect of our service for two reasons:
- We feel that doing so would attract a criminal element. Although
we value online privacy rights highly, we do not want to promote a
means by which law-breakers feel they will never be found.
- Regardless of how confident an organization is in its service, with
so many technical and programmatical elements involved, we don't feel
that any service can fairly promise a client 100% anonymity online.
This second point raises some interesting issues that we think you
should be aware of when reviewing "anonymous surfing" services.
In particular, promises and guarantees of "anonymity" require
that you trust the company making them.
- Can you think of a better way for a criminal to monitor communications
and steal personal information than by offering a service that promises
anonymity, but then monitors the traffic they're supposedly "relaying"?
- Can you think of a better way for a law enforcement agency, or a
government, to track criminal activity (however they may define "criminal")
than by establishing a service that promises anonymity and then logs/reviews
- Yes, there are some big and "trustworthy" names in the anonymous
surfing industry. But if you are a political person wishing to keep
your views private, would you trust those companies if you knew they
had contracts with various governments?
- Even if you trust a provider who claims that their service encrypts
traffic and/or randomizes the ingoing and outgoing connections on
their servers, what if you are the only person connected to their
server at a particular time? That may just link you to any/all outgoing
connections being made by that server during that time period.
I cannot imagine too many scenarios in an average person's life where
they would need 100% anonymous surfing to completely "hide their
identity" online without the possibility of tracking. Legitimate
situations might include expressing a political viewpoint in opposition
of an unjust government, or communicating factual information that might
attract retaliation from a physically or financially dangerous party
But honestly, how many times in an average person's life do such situations
arise? In all my years, I have never personally found myself in such
However, if I did, I must say that I don't think I would trust any
online service with my life. That's right, there is not one single "anonymous
surfing" service that I would bet my life or anyone else's life
on. Instead, I would probably:
- Drive several miles away from my home.
- Use my laptop computer at a busy public library that doesn't require
a login (as most don't).
There you go -- that's about as 100% anonymous as web surfing can possibly
get (IN MY OPINION). And it costs nothing.
In my less-than-perfect mind, the next best thing to the anonymous
surfing idea above would be a service that:
- Relays Internet traffic through multiple independent servers (owned
by different parties) in multiple countries.
- Encrypts connections between the user and first server, as well as
between all intermediate servers.
- Does not require payment of a fee for registering.
- Covers any and all Internet applications and connections, meaning
no possible leaks.
Personally, I am not aware of any such service. However, a good start
in that direction can be found in the Tor
Project. As far as I'm aware, the only shortcoming is that Tor does
not protect all Internet connections. Therefore, it is extremely important
that you either disable or configure all non-browser applications and
plugins that might connect to the Internet. In other words, to be 100%
confident in your anonymity, you must be 100% confident in your ability
to monitor, disable, and/or firewall all possible leaks. Given that
requirement, I would also not trust this solution with my life.
However, Tor is probably more than adequate for most legitimate uses.
On the other hand, that word ("legitimate") raises another
issue -- what percentage of Tor's "anonymous surfers" do you
think are using the service for fraud, hacking, or other unlawful purposes?
I personally have no idea, but I do know that the demand for such anonymity
by criminals is probably quite high. And that raises the question: do
I mind sharing IP addresses with criminals?
So what kind of anonymous surfing is iPrivacyTools suited for? As mentioned
above, our standard service is focused on the "change IP address"
and "hide IP address" crowd. Being able to mask one's IP will
allow you to surf "anonymously" on most websites,
and participate in most online communities, without exposing
your IP address to parties that might want to track your location or
hack your system. However, it will not allow you to break laws with
immunity, as legal processes can be used by courts and law enforcement
to reveal your true IP.
Our standard service is also perfect for the many users who wish to
"geospoof" their IP location -- perhaps the traveler or expat
who wishes to maintain a virtual presence in their own country.
iPrivacyTools also offers a deluxe service
which caters to those users who are concerned that their communications
are being monitored unlawfully, perhaps by their employer or school.
This VPN-based service encrypts communications between the client's
computer and our server, which renders such surveillance virtually impossible.
A higher degree of anonymity is also achieved by the fact that the VPN
connection places an "umbrella" over all your Internet connections,
so leaking of your IP through 3rd party applications or browser plugins
is extremely unlikely.
However, this service still does not promise "untraceable"
immunity for illegal activities. That's just not the type of service
we're interested in providing.
Do you have any "anonymous surfing" input that you'd
like to add to this page?
Please let us know, so that we
can keep this information fresh and useful.