Why You Should Be Anonymous (Especially Online)

Right now Anonymous serves more purposes than the general public understands. Anonymous represents a black privacy curtain pulled across the internet. Once you pass behind this privacy curtain, you become one of the infinite voices of Oz. While you may or may not agree with the path some followers of Anonymous (called Anons) have taken, you can’t deny that anonymity is an important aspect of your life. If you have a lock on your house, car, smartphone, or tablet, you understand the need for the personal privacy of your belongings and information in the physical realm. The digital equivalent of this is the black curtain of Anonymous.

The masks may seem silly to you. If you’re comfortable using your real name and face online, more power to you. Not every citizen has to serve in the military to understand the importance of their presence though. You don’t wear a mask in the physical world, so there’s no need to wear one in the digital world. You also don’t walk around with the contents of your purse, wallet, and smartphone printed on your clothes or tattooed on your face. Without anonymity, you’re doing exactly that online.
Anonymous seems scary to some of you because it’s unknown.

For that I’m going to teach you a few secrets of anonymity so you can see how easy it is to become Anonymous.

1) Create a Private Network Like a CEO or Government

There’s a lot of ways to do this, but my personal favorite is downloading and installing Hamachi and Privoxy. Hamachi creates a private network in your home that you can access over any wifi connection. No matter where you are, you’re browsing from the security of your own home. Privoxy teachers your web browser to connect through your Hamachi server. When both of these programs are utilized together, you can always stay connected to home. If you’re not comfortable installing the software, Lifehacker has a fantastic guide.

2) Send Secure Emails With PGP/GPG Encryption

The first thing you need to do for secure email is get away from Hotmail and Yahoo. Thus far I’m using gmail, but you never know what’ll happen in the future. That aside, download the free Thunderbird email application. It’s an alternate Outlook or Lotus Notes made by Mozilla (the people that make Firefox). This application allows you to utilize the same military grade uncrackable email encryption used by Governments and Corporations worldwide: GPG/PGP. Check out Lifehacker’s guide for the rest of the installation instructions.

3) Browse (Somewhat) Anonymously

Depending on your browser or device, this is a bit difficult. Lifehacker has a great guide on simple tricks and add-ons you can enable to lock your doors and windows online.

4) What You Download Is Your Business

Download Bittorrent. Then download PeerBlock. These programs will allow you to download as safely and securely as possible. Simply run PeerBlock and allow it to update the list of advertisers, etc that may try to track you. Then search online for whatever you want to download. The easiest way is to search “(File I’m Looking For) Torrent” with any search tool. When you download the torrent, it automatically opens in Bittorrent and downloads the file you’re looking for. This works for anything you want.

If you take 2 hours out of your day to set these things up, you’ll be well on your way to online anonymity. When you understand how important it is for you to stay as safe and secure online as you are in real life, you’ll understand why Anonymous is Anonymous. It’s not a bunch of kids and criminals. Anonymous is nothing more than a symbol to unite under; a symbol of freedom for everyone…

Brian Penny Versability Anon Now Anon LaterBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance consultant, and troll. He’s a frequent contributor to The Street, Cannabis Now, and Fast Company, Huffington PostMainstreetLifehack, and HardcoreDroid.


Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

3 thoughts on “Why You Should Be Anonymous (Especially Online)

  • November 22 at 2:04 pm

    OK, but that doesn’t really answer my question, and it contradicts what you’ve said in your article. I don’t have a pressing need to be undetectable, but I’m curious about how much can be concealed by using relatively simple methods, or by accident.

  • November 10 at 7:37 pm

    I have a question: when I didn’t need a super fast or reliable internet connection, I used a mobile broadband hub, which did two things that I think contributed to my anonymity – although I wasn’t specifically looking for this benefit. First, no matter where the hub was (it was usually just in my home, but I took it travelling), Google believed I was in Greater London based on my IP address. Second, my IP address was not fixed, seemingly making it even more difficult to track me.

    But I’m not all that tech-savvy, and so I don’t know if the privacy afforded by this type of connection could be gotten around. The connection was tied to a mobile number (which never made calls or texts, just the transfer of data), and I don’t know if that is traceable. Anyway, my question is how useful and secure a means of concealing one’s identity is this? Is it a useful layer of protection to employ, or actually pretty worthless?

    Thanks for your consideration!

    • November 22 at 1:41 pm

      The balance of convenience and security will define the next generation’s war for privacy. You have to choose between them. The more a company knows about you, the better they can serve you, and you’re feeding your information into a useful system. That system is also often used for bad, and you can’t be fully transparent for operational security. Honestly, I gave up even trying to be secure exactly 8 years ago today because of the law of big data. They have enough to see even what you don’t show them. For example, over a decade ago, Facebook asked me to identify a friend in my pics who wasn’t on Facebook. I refused, but they just asked everyone else until they found out. If they want to find you, they will.


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