I just saw something on the alt.privacy newsgroup that has managed to confirm once again that most people don’t have a clue when it comes to protecting their anonymity.

The writer was talking about how they had tested a “tips” box near the bottom of the page that has the heading: “SEND NEWS TIPS TO DRUDGE [ANONYMITY GUARANTEED]”.

They put TESTING ANONYMITY in the box and hit send while running a packet sniffer sniffer to see what was transmitted.  The result was, of course, quite predictable and included their IP address as the point of origin for the data along with the time and other information such as user-agent strings & standard http headers.

Here’s what they apparently didn’t get.  The only anonymity that something like this can EVER give is their promise not to reveal information from their server logs unless required by a court order, national security letter or big beefy guys with black suits and rubber hoses & brass knuckles.  That level of anonymity will keep you from ending up on a direct mail marketing list but will it protect your identity?  Never.

If you want to protect your identity on ANY website, the thing to do is use an actual privacy tool such as the TOR browser bundle which, if it is used properly, gives you high degree of privacy.  Oh the form will still send all the same information but that information will belong to the TOR node your traffic exited from instead of yours, making you VERY hard to track down.

Technorati Tags: drudge report, anonymity, anonymous tips, anonymous browsing

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