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Communicate privately Print E-mail

We show you six ways of protecting yourself against the tracing of your communications. Some of your options are easy to implement, others require more technical knowledge.

1. Switch your provider

Some Internet access providers log the dynamic IP address assigned to their customers when using the Internet. In combination with other data your every click can be traced. Choose a provider that does not retain logfiles containing IP addresses assigned to customers.

Some telephony or e-mail providers log communications data beyond legal requirements. Switch to a providers that logs as little data as possible. If data retention is required in your country, you may be able to use a provider based abroad (e.g. e-mail services).

2. Communicate anonymously (mobile phone, e-mail)

Your name, address, birth date and other data registered with your providers can be looked up by law enforcement agencies. You should avoid identification when signing up for a mobile telephony service or an e-mail account. You can buy anonymous prepaid SIM cards or register them using a fantasy name. You should also register free e-mail accounts using fantasy data.

3. Restrict e-mail retention

If you keep e-mails in your mailbox for too long, you risk that others could access them. Choose a short retention period. If you are using an e-mail client (e.g. Outlook), you can have your mails deleted from the server automatically after every transfer. Change the settings of your client accordingly. 

4. Use the Internet anonymously

Web sites often register every click and every search term you enter in a personally identifyable way. Especially US based companies such as eBay and amazon log your surfing sessions for an indefinite period of time in the US and thereby enable US authorities to access your data. The following countermeasures are available:

a) Avoid logging in

Log in to web sites only if it cannot be avoided. Log out as soon as possible. While you are logged in, your actions can easily be retained in a personally identifyable way and can be used to profile you. When you register for a free service, do not enter your real name, address or other personal information.

b) Delete cookies

Set your browser to delete cookies at every restart (Firefox: Tools > Options > Privacy > Settings). Cookies allow web sites to identify you.

c) Use anonymization services

Anonymization services prevent web sites from logging your IP address. However, they may slow down your Internet access. Free services at your disposal are JAP and TOR. The XeroBank Internet browser comes with TOR preinstalled and is easy to install and use. Commercial anonymization services are faster to use, e.g. Relakks, JonDonym, Trackbuster, Steganos, Safersurf, Perfect Privacy.

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