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So is the NSA spying on you? Probably not. Is your Internet Service Provider (ISP) spying on you? Yes they are. And there’s no doubt about it. This article in PC World quotes Dan Auerbach, a Staff Technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying that if your ISP chooses to they can “see what pages you looked at on that Web site you visited, and what you wrote in that e-mail”. Even if your ISP isn’t watching your browsing activity in real-time, they are certainly logging it because by law they have to in order to comply with any court ordered subpoena that could at anytime be served on them by any Federal, State or local law enforcement agency and yes even the NSA. Not only is your ISP tracking and logging your every move on the Web and storing your email in their servers, they are also collecting all of your meta-data so they can sell it to marketeers. All ISP’s have been doing this for years.

So who besides your ISP is spying on you? Google is storing mountains of
information about everything you do online even if you’re not logged into your Google account. Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Apple are spying on you and so are dozens of Internet snoops like StatCounter, Woopra and Google Analytics. And like Google, all of these companies are sharing with governments worldwide but most particularly the U.S. government. According to information released last week by Google the U.S. government made 10,918 requests for 21,683 user accounts during the first six months of 2013.

Plus there’s this. Every time you visit any website it’s like you’re sharing your identity with that website’s administers and anyone else who has access to the files on the servers on which that site is hosted.

If all that’s not enough to make you a bit paranoid, here’s something else to think about. There are literally thousands of highly skilled people employed by
hundreds of companies who are working every day to create the type of software that will bring your online identity into sharper and sharper focus. And they’re not just looking at you, they’re tracking your kids too. So, is there anything you can do about it? Yes there is. You could choose to become invisible on the Internet.

The best way, by far, to become invisible on the Internet is to start using Tor rather than IE, Safari, Firefox or Chrome to browse the Web. The Tor Web browser was born as a U.S. Navy research project in 2002. The Tor browser makes it impossible for anyone or any machine to determine your IP address as you surf the Web and therefore you are totally anonymous.

Here’s how Tor works. The Tor browser runs on a network of routing points that randomize your path through the internet, making it next to impossible to track what sites and services you use. Web sites can’t track you because they can’t see you. Even your Internet Service Provider is unable to track your movements once you’re on the Tor browser. The only thing your ISP can determine is that you are on the Internet and using software that is very likely to be the Tor browser. And as Tor says on their home page: “You are now free to browse the Internet anonymously”.

To download and start using Tor go here and read the literature and follow the instructions.

I’m @Scoroncocolo on Twitter.