The ever-present fascist posse in America likes to chant to every privacy intrusion that “law-abiding citizens have nothing to hide.” They discount the fact that such alleged hiding might be closer to mere prevention. When your computer connects to the internet, your status of citizen or criminal is irrelevant. You will be monitored for the glory of your dollar.

In a country where it is perfectly legal for a corporation to install software on your computer without your knowledge or permission, US computer users need to protect themselves. In a country where “traffic analysis” or behavior tracking is the data required to sell internet advertising, US computer users need to a defend themselves from becoming a product. In a country where everything is for sale, computer users need to take a stand and refuse to be marketed.

While political dissidents also need online protection, those sort of dissidents don’t live in the US. America doesn’t jail or kill political dissidents anymore. America has perfected stifling dissidents by ignoring them. In America, everything revolves around money so it’s natural that corporations do virtually all domestic spying. There’s a big empty space in New York that proves the government doesn’t do enough spying but that’s another issue.

Tor is a project sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Tor was initially designed and developed as part of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory with support from DARPA. All communications are bounced through a distributed network of onion routers. Tor sends your internet activity through random points so an observer cannot tell where you are going or where you are coming from. For the ladies, Tor will also frustrate your collection of stalkers.

While Tor makes your data routes anonymous, it does not hide your IP address and it does not make the data itself anonymous. For these two critical features, you will need Privoxy.

A web proxy is a service that allows a user to access the internet without revealing their IP address. Requested content goes to the proxy which relays a second request and returns the content to the user. Privoxy scrubs the data clean by removing javascript, html cookies, advertising and other assorted junk.

Privoxy works seamlessly with Tor. Both programs work with any web browser that supports socks4a. Installation is simple. Tor requires one line added to the top of the Privoxy configuration file. Privoxy requires adding the localhost on port 8118 to your browser’s proxy list. Run both before running your browser and you’re set.

Don’t use Tor and Privoxy for idiotic behavior. You’ll end up getting the Tor servers blocked and make life harder for everybody, particularly political dissidents in hostile environments. You will have “assclown” etched on your headstone if you use Tor and Privoxy for criminal behavior. Tor is designed primarily to make traffic analysis difficult for 99% of observers. Privoxy is designed primarily to scrub data.
There are weaknesses in both programs that can give you up. If you’re going to be a criminal, Tor and Privoxy is not your answer. Once you are a target of a federal investigation, you are fucked no matter what you are using. There are better applications available for criminal activity. If you just want corporations, government and the occasional stalker to move on to an easier observation, this is it.

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