Why do you want to be anonymous?

The primary reason behind this blog is to discuss and investigate ways of remaining anonymous online, that is to protect your privacy.  All the other stuff  you can do by surfing anonymously like watching media sites and bypassing blocks, firewalls and filters is just a rather nice bonus !  But not everyone thinks that privacy is important, in fact some people actually look very suspiciously on this behavior.

Anyway I thought I'd ask two writers with differing opinions on this subject to post their views on  this blog, firstly here's a writer called Caliban with the Pro anonymity argument in his words......I'll post the other article later this week.

Why do you want anonymity ?

One of the biggest objections people have to the idea of anonymous web surfing is to ask what you're doing that you don't want anyone to know about. So I just come right out and ask them: "Well, why do you want to know what I'm doing?"

And they cough and splutter and make excuses about how anyone, anywhere, could be up to something criminal. So if I can be anonymous, well, so can everyone else - like criminals, and terrorists, and racist hate groups, and murderers. And then how will we know where those people are?

But this argument is just ridiculous. You've already admitted that you don't know where to look. You're no more likely to be looking at the terrorist doing something dangerous... than at me, doing something you disapprove of.

Everybody knows there are people out there who have all kinds of personal agendas, who want to tell you how to think and how to act and what you're allowed to do. Just look at China.

It's not that I'm doing anything terrible, it's that there are people out there who think perfectly normal things are terrible. Who might visit my house, or talk to my wife, or even my boss.

Haven't you heard about people whose wives left them, or whose bosses fired them, because of something embarrassing? Something that wasn't really wrong, but that these important people in their lives didn't understand and couldn't accept?

It's absolutely normal to protect the people in our lives from the things they can't handle. Sometimes that means they never know certain things about us.

Maybe you can't stand football, but your significant other loves to sit and watch football with you. If you said you hated football, it wouldn't be fun anymore, and you'd lose that special thing you have together.

What kind of horrid person does that to the people they love?

The reason we need anonymous web surfing isn't because the legitimate authorities might be looking, but because some snoop who has no business looking is looking anyway. These people aren't going to be kind and considerate about your life and your family and your job.

The people who don't want you to be anonymous are just making excuses. They don't really want the government and the police to see whether you're breaking the law. They just want to see for themselves whether you're cheating on your wife, or downloading porn, or pirating software, or whatever else they think you shouldn't be doing.

These are the kind of people who sneak over to your computer and look at your search history when you're in the bathroom, and then go tell anyone they think might "have a right to know" that you were searching for midget pornography.

Or maybe divorce laws. Your wife might have this big tearful breakdown about when you were going to tell her something was wrong, when all you were doing was comparing notes in some idle thread on a forum. How long does your state say you have to be separated from your spouse before you can file for divorce? If someone you know is looking into that for real marriage-breakup reasons, you still might look it up yourself just to see what your state's law says.

The principle here isn't that what I am doing is terrible and I need to hide it, but that people in this world are rude and want to snoop into my business. I close the door when I go to the restroom, not because I don't want anyone to know what I'm doing, but because I expect them not to watch me doing it. I'll happily tell you why I went to the restroom, but why would you ask? What's wrong with you that you want to know?

It's the same thing when I browse the internet. Sometimes I don't mind if you watch what I do. Other times, I want some privacy, not because what I'm doing is somehow wrong - but just because it is none of your business. There are parts of my life that I don't want you to know. It is none of your business what they are.

Maybe I just don't want my tough guy friends to know I hang out on knitting sites. Sure, all they'd do is make fun of me and call me a few names, but I still don't want them to know.

And when you come down to it, shouldn't I have that right? I mean, just because we share the same internet connection doesn't mean you get to see everything I do - just like sharing the same house doesn't mean you get to come into the bathroom with me. Why is that wrong?

Privacy isn't reason for suspicion.