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Every minute of every hour has an online news publication somewhere breaking a story. Google News indexes over 4500 of them. The biggest ones require registration. Sometimes even minor ones require registration. Individual media outlets want to convince you that you are getting a deal. Just give them a few pieces of personal information and you'll earn the privilege of reading their unedited, over-editorialized crap that passes for journalism.

If the entire online news world consisted of simply the Washington Post and the New York Times, maybe registration wouldn't be a problem. To illustrate the problem, visit Real Clear Politics. RCP is a daily anthology of selected editorials throughout the media. At the time of this writing, 17 op-ed pieces were linked to their sources. Eight out of those 17 articles required registration to access to opinions as bland as white-bread and as common as whores.

Exactly why do we have to trade in our personal information? The media thinks you are dumb. Apparently, most people have no problem registering for 150 news sites. Individual outlets are still deluding themselves with the idea that you are loyal to them and therefore have only one password to manage. If you have any concept of individual liberty, the only thing you should be giving the media is your middle finger.

Download and install BugMeNot. It's available for Firefox and Internet Exploder. After installing the plug-in, you'll probably have to close your browser and open it again. From that point on, you can cruise media outlets in complete anonymity. When a site requires you to login, just right-click on the login ID textbox and choose “BugMeNot” to proceed with your existence. Media outlets are aware of BugMeNot and some sites, particularly the New York Times, actively fights BugMeNot users. All this means is that on the day it no longer works correctly, check BugMeNot for updates.

The BugMeNot community has liberated almost 40,000 sites and people are _definitely_ throwing flowers over this particular liberation operation. Using BugMeNot is not stealing. The personal information that media outlets want is for advertising and you will likely see those advertisements anyway unless you are among the truly angry hardcore anti-commercial types. BugMeNot does not work with sites that explicitly require a fee for access like ESPN Insider. BugMeNot is just about telling media advertising researchers to fsck off.

Keep your privacy and enforce your liberty. Use your time for something besides opening yourself up to spam and viruses.

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