As a Portland criminal defense attorney, I am often asked how one can maintain their privacy online. A pseudonym is a good start, but any person on the internet with a fake name is usually still able to be located by their IP address. Luckily, the internet and its users truly do have an answer for everything.
“Tor” was initially a project of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, designed to protect government communications. However, it’s popularity has grown into a large network of anonymous users made up of military personnel, journalists, and political activists. Though the Tor Network has been linked to online drug markets and child pornography, it has also played a large part in the success of political activists in authoritarian governments. In countries like Tunisia and Egypt, citizens are using Tor to engage in political dissent and organize protests. Access to Tor is theoretically blocked in Iran and China, yet network bridging and other techniques are allowing users to find their way online despite these governments’ efforts.
The Tor Network isn’t limited only to those who are wishing to engage in illegal activity or avoid government surveillance altogether. For example, a person on a shared computer may not want to leave behind an internet history or risk having any contact info or passwords saved in a browser. Other users may simply prefer to browse without the constant collection of data that occurs anytime a person accesses the Internet.
With the ever-increasing amount of information people provide and store online, it makes sense to take precautions to limit the exposure of that information. Those looking to learn more about privacy on the Internet can start by learning the basics about Tor and PGP encryption. Furthermore, if you are facing charges or other allegations that deal with the Internet or other online activity, our firm is well-equipped and knowledgable in defending these types of cases.
As privacy continues to emerge as a significant concern among Internet users, it is up to each individual to ensure they are aware of what information they are sharing and how it might be tracked by businesses, governments, and even individuals. While it’s a wonderful thing that the Internet has become so ubiquitous throughout the world, it also requires us to be aware of how others are using it and how we can protect ourselves from those looking to take advantage of unsophisticated users.