fravia @ Paris Ecole polytechnique, 6 February 2001
You smear traces everywhere ~
Anonymity matters and efficient tools
Relative anonymity is better than nothing (hiding in the crevices of the system)
Yep, when you travel around the web you smear your data all around. It does not look nice at all.
A first intersting question for you. You know very well that there are "free" page hosting services,
anyone can publish his rubbish for free, in return having finally to accept some crappish and
(soit dit entre nous) easy to eliminate advertisement
banner. You know that on the web there are tons of
"free" email addresses, of free "agendas", free "filedepots",
free messageboards, free maillists... and so on
and so on.
Now the question is: WHY?
In your opinion: why does someone go through the hassle of delivering you mighty search engines
like Altavista, or Google, or Fast?
You think it's done in order to get some money through advertisement? False.
You think it's done to demonstrate the power of a given hardware structure? False.
What could it be... what could it be?
The real and only reason so many different 'providers' are 'providing' you with these "free" search engines, email addresses,
messageboards and so on is that YOUR
DATA ARE USEFUL!
Of course every goddam search you do is registered and analysed.
Of course every email you send through yahoo is grepped.
Of course every "free homepage depository" is continuosuly checking and grepping the
whole material that has been fished.
Imagine you're Altavista, or yahoo or your own future search engine proprietor.
And you'r (of course) grepping the data you get.
Now let's say that -all of a sudden- ten million bozos look / search / email / chat about
-say- akamai (just an example, don't worry: once learned how to
search you'll easily find out what akamai is).
Let's say that three million bozos write during the same afternoon an email to their pen-pals saying "Heya,
tomorrow i'm going to buy some akamai shares!" (or 'sell', for data gathering purposes
it doesn't matter a crumb which way the zombies are going).
You dig it?
Insider trading is NOTHING in comparison.
Yes, your emails, your personal pages, your searchstrings... EVERYTHING you do on the web
is used for (somebody else's) profit purposes. The same applies in everday life as well
of course... see for instance the
supermarket's 'advantage' cards, which are only a cheap way of gathering all possible data
about somebody for profit maximizing purposes...
only on the web it's easier and cheaper... and more rewarding.
I'll explain this better:
I have on my own sites a very nice and powerful local engine:
namazu, that allows people to
search my site for specific keywords they might be interested in.
And indeed my visitors do search a lot -oh boy- they do.
Now I can tell you that even on such a relatively small scale the targets
of their searches can -at times- be pretty important for me: for instance a special new software I
didn't even know existed, but someone presumed I would have been dealing with. Or a
project I never knew about, but someone just wanted to see if I
had written or gathered something about it...
and so on, and so on.
You dig it? All these 'free' offers are just made in order to
fish your own data out of the
web sea. You'r like a tuna fish for them, and the more creative
and clever you are, the better for those hosting your emails and pages.
A relative degree of anonymity
A relative degree of anonymity is of paramount importance on the web. You cannot
be completely anonymous, of course, but the more you are, the better.
Each time somebody asks you for
some personal info... do a mix from the following:
NEVER give real info, no matter how pressing they are - unless
you really - and I mean REALLY -
know what you are doing. You can bet they are going to use those
data / sell them / throw them to
ALWAYS lie so much that your falsehood cannot
possibly be outdone. It's great fun and, as you will see, it is
useful - surfing today's web.
To begin with, you should already have found some
"alternate" personalities -
best choice: somebody that 'almost' really exists: fetch
data from any of the zillion
personal pages on the web... see geocities and fortunecity for
hundreds of ready-made "dull" lives, you'll
get delivered -on a silver plate- their "visited schools",
"year of birth", name of the beloved one, even
everything else... those personal homepages are
real goldmines in order to fetch valuable lusers' info
and whatever else you need to get -if needs be- a faked bank
account in Groenland... ahah, I'm just kidding: faked bank accounts
are reserved for entrepreneurs and politicians.
The oldest trick for generating false credible data
is indeed quite effective: just take a book from
your library and
have a look at what's in there. I'm sure you dig
it: find three-four LOCAL (adapted to wherever you live) COMPLETE
ADDRESSES and learn them by heart. You 'll be (on the web) one of those
You'll use the faked identity from now on for EVERYTHING you do on the web,
unless you are really compelled to give out your real name (which
should NEVER happen if you are
clever enough :-)
First thing you do with your new "faked" identity: you
open half a dozen addresses on -say- yahoo.com and/or
other "free" email providers. You'll not need to give much info
away (you'll give faked info and access
them from a proxy anyway) Note also
that webcafés are WONDROUS places
for 'anonymity mayhems':
no questions asked and -believe me- one hour is cheap and more than enough in order to retaliate against anyone
that dared annoy you and does not have defending bots...
using googlerian searchstrings like +subscribe NEAR
+maillist +religious (or, maybe even better, +erotic :-)
you will calmly slowbomb all
your enemies for the eternity, sitting down in a nice webcafé
and happily typing your revenge among ruminative and extremely placid web-zombies :-)
Don't believe that 'faked identities' will really protect you when you use email services:
they will find out who you are nevertheless
THROUGH THE EMAIL YOU WILL WRITE and THE CONTENT of your activities (duh).
Of course no one here is so naïv to believe that 'free' email
providers provide email
possibilities for altruistic reasons... of course they are
"reading" everything you write (actually
grepping: no human but your addressee
is ever going to read what you write in this phase)
is not -by far- "real" anonymity, it is just a "preparation phase".
To begin with, just play
with them. Use those "free" email addresses (chained or through
the autoresponder / autoforwarders)
feedback for page providers or sites that require you to have a "working" email
address. Let a LONG trail of faked or half-baked addresses. The more smoke, the better.
You should ALWAYS give completely faked credit card
numbers when you do not buy anything: use an ad hoc program if
you don't know how to fake credit card numbers on the fly by yourself (the
algos are very easy to crack).
In general I have found Eurocard/Mastercard numbers with a "valid
thru" date 4-6 months from your current time to
You should NOT feel bad in the least to lie like a madman
to anyone who dares asking
your data: such people are
just scum that will use EVERYTHING you will tell them for profit
the very moment you do, and they don't even have the decency of admitting it.
Screw them black and blue, such clowns
deserve far worse than that: their
'privacy - pleads' about
how they will "never use your data" are just cheap
Alternatively, when you (have to) "choose" some options
from a menu ("Your income", "Your profession", Your
"State" and so on) ALWAYS choose the first option you encounter,
whatever it is: State=Afghanistan, Income=less than 15 USD per year
and so on.
Screw them. If you want to play with them, there are some funny
options like "American Samoa" "Fortune and Wallys Islands" and so
possible option "other" that you may find on the menus is also a great choice,
because you will get
the commercial webmasters thinking hard
about updating their options'
palette, adding even more idiotical crap to the possible choices.
An exception to the above: When you decide to use a bogus
identity (i.e. for
instance Nescio N. Nomine, 11711,
North College Avenue, Carmel, Indiana, 46032, United States),
then keep COHERENT with the (faked)
data you give, stick to them. This will make things even more difficult for
those that want to steal and sell your data.