How to stay anonymous online, after government announce snooping charter

4 November 2015

spy spying Home Secretary Theresa May is showing off the new Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, which in short, means the government can spy on you.

For a slightly longer answer, May thinks that some websites are 'safe havens' for criminals, and now she wants to see new laws which give authorities the chance to access everyone's information. It looks like she'll want to get rid of encryption, and that all your internet history would be recorded, so authorities can look at it whenever they want, without having to get permission from anyone. They want to keep everything you do online, on record, for a year.

They also want to be able to see who you've texted and emailed too. If your messages are encrypted, the company keeping your messages private, must hand over data to authorities if asked.

With the hacks and leaks that have been doing the rounds lately, there's just concern about anyone holding all this private information on everyone with an internet connection.

The draft bill underlines a want for powers for the bulk collection of large volumes of communications and other personal data by MI5, GCHQ, MI6, and for the introduction of "equipment interference powers". This all means that computers and phones can be hacked whenever they want, in the name of  national security.

Of course, the stupid thing here, is that actual criminals won't be arranging serious crimes on Facebook Messenger or anything like that, so it looks like they just want to snoop on everyone else, which is going to worry many. It won't worry the kind of people who say "well I've done nothing wrong, so they can look through all my stuff if they want", but you can't do anything about those people.

The Home Office has published the Investigatory Powers Bill in the House of Commons, which means it'll be examined both Houses of Parliament. There'll be a final vote on the whole thing at some point in 2016. We suspect there's be some legal action thrown at the government before then.

How To Stay Anonymous Online

If you want to browse the internet anonymously, the first place to start is with the free Tor Browser. We won't bore you with the ins-and-outs of the whole thing, but basically, it puts your web traffic through Tor's network, and makes it anonymous and encrypts the shit out of it. It isn't wholly anonymous, but it isn't far off.

You can send emails through web services in Tor Browser too, but you'd need an email account that doesn't reveal any personal information about you. One to look at is Guerrilla Mail.

As for instant messaging, there's Pidgin, Wickr, and Tor who have just released their own. You know how to work a phone or search engine, so get on those. As for your phone itself, there's an app called Orbot that runs Tor on Android.

If you want to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network), then click here for a VPN how to guide. There's loads of tutorials online, if you want to vanish from the eyes of the government.

TOPICS:   Technology   Privacy   Government

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