The World Wide Web has something for everyone, except for privacy.
And in our digital age plagued with surveillance and tracking, hiding your IP address is a must in order to protect your online identity.
Let’s see why that is.
Your IP address reveals a lot about you
In real life, your ID card holds some of your most valuable info. Online, your IP address does the same.
Every time you’re online, your IP address lets web servers know where to reach you. It’s how you can visit websites, for example.
However, your IP address includes a lot of details, like:
- Your country
- Your region
- Your city
- Your ZIP code
- Your longitude
- Your latitude
You probably wouldn’t share such info with strangers, yet you’re doing it online all the time.
Your ISP is not your BFF
One of the biggest trackers of your digital life is your Internet Service Provider, ISP for short. Since your IP address is uniquely assigned to you, they can easily keep tabs on everything you do.
In most countries, ISPs are legally required to store logs on your digital activity and browsing history. They can even be forced to monitor traffic and throttle speeds when you’re on file-sharing or streaming platforms.
When dealing with ISPs, authorities and law enforcement agencies can generally access everything without a hitch, and your consent as a user is not needed. And because of how browsing databases work, the information is often handed over in bulk.
This way, even if you’re not under investigation, your data can still get to the authorities if another ISP client does something shady.
And if you’re not already worried about your privacy, let me add one more thing: many ISPs dabble in selling your data to advertisers.
You should hide your IP address
The only good news in this article is that you can hide your IP address, becoming a stranger online.
You have two ways of doing this:
- Use Tor
- Switch to a VPN
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Use the Tor network
Tor is a great anonymizer developed in the 1990s that works by taking you on a convoluted encrypted journey. The Tor browser connects at random to one of the publicly listed entry nodes, bounces that traffic through a randomly selected middle relay, and finally spits out your traffic through the third and final exit node. This makes it difficult for snoopers to keep track of you.
However, using Tor comes with some downsides.
For example, it’s notoriously slow. Unless you’re visiting websites that rely exclusively on HTML, 1990s-style, you’re going to have to wait for webpages to load.
As expected, this also affects media, such as pictures, gifs, and videos. So, podcasts and streaming services are slowpokes with Tor.
Switch to a VPN
A VPN is a secure way of accessing the internet and keeping your connection private. Short for Virtual Private Network, it hides your IP address, cloaks it with a different one, and drives your traffic through an encrypted tunnel.
As opposed to Tor, VPNs have fewer limitations. After connecting to a VPN server, you can simply browse the web as you would normally do. There’s no need to change browsers or risk using suspicious exit nodes.
A good VPN can help you:
- Bypass geo-restrictions and unblock content
- Torrent safely
- Securing your digital transactions
- Getting better online deals
- Protect your digital identity
But remember, it’s essential to find a VPN service that has a strict no-logs policy, to ensure that your anonymity is genuinely protected.
New threats on the horizon
Social media sites are notoriously famous for their data-mining practices. From your IP address to your personal information, likes and dislikes, everything about you is recorded and stored.
While a throwaway account can somewhat protect you, it’s not going to save you from analytics, location trackers, and personalized ads.
A new entry on the list of tools chipping away at your digital privacy? Audience growth tools.
Yet another blow to your privacy
One startup claiming to help publishers connect with their audience is GetEmails.
We identify your anonymous web traffic, and get you emails you don’t already have.
GetEmails on their website
That’s a less spooky way of saying they have the tech to identify website visitors by names, email addresses, and even home addresses! And they’re ready to sell such data. Yikes.
This tool is marketed as a way for publications to retain readers. And they do so by sending unsolicited newsletters or subscription offers to people who have visited a site but didn’t provide contact details.
Obviously, there’s no opt-out for their service for website visitors and a complete disregard for privacy.
Digital privacy has been under attack for many years now, and the methods are getting more and more aggressive and invasive.
You can’t just rely on sites and social media platforms to respect your privacy when they’re after turning your data into profit.
Hide your IP, encrypt your connection, and stay safe from prying eyes. Don’t let your digital footprint be a backdoor that links directly to you.
How are you keeping snoopers and digitals threats at bay? Let me know in the comments down below. ⬇️
Until next time, stay safe and secure!