Off-shoring Your Internet Identity
06 August, 2013
The world recently found out that the NSA and other governmental organizations are massively spying on citizens worldwide. This is to fight terrorism. We do not claim that terrorism is not a threat, but in the Western world more people die from falling down stairs.
Information that is being scanned is also used for political and commercial ends.
There are some steps you can take to prevent unwelcome guests from nosing around in your private affairs.
Off-shoring your email
Many people happily use the free emails servers like Gmail, Outlook etc. The problem with these services is of course that they are not free. They sell your data to advertisers and bombard you with pop-ups and other commercial bells and jingles that compete for your attention. These companies are also America based and are not shy to hand over your data to the authorities, all under the lovely Patriot Act.
An alternative to this is to use a paid service with an email server that is located in a jurisdiction where personal privacy is protected. For example Switzerland.
Examples of services like these are:
Based in Switzerland.
Based in Switzerland.
Based in Norway, which has strong privacy laws. Cheap and quality option.
Parent company is incorporated in Hong Kong with servers located in Switzerland.
When you run a company you will need a website. And when you have a website you will most likely have a .com domain. This is the most commonly used. However, .com domains are registered by a US based company. And the Immigrations and Customer Enforcement agency claim jurisdiction of ALL websites ending with .com, no matter where the domain is hosted.
This can have significant consequences. When you upset the American justice system they can seize your domain name and they can even call for extradition.
Read the wiki of Richard ODwyer, who lived in the UK, hosted a site in Sweden but found himself in trouble with the US government simply because of his .com domain.
The solution to this problem is to have your domain name registered in a jurisdiction where these limitations do not apply.
Examples like this can be:
These domain names are so called ccTLDs (country code top level domains). These are contributed to a country and will normally primarily appear in the search engines of this country.
However, the .bz and .co are so often being used that Google is starting to approach them as international domains, with even .co ranking as a TLD (top level domain) like .com and .net.
The ranking of .com and .co in search engines is heavily debated on the internet. With both arguments stating that .com domains still rank better and others stating that is does not matter. But without a doubt, a .com is better marketable and recognizable than .co
Other URLs that you see appearing are: .me (Montenegro) and .tv (Tuvalu)
Finally, when registering your URL you should always use a Whois guard. It prevents every random person to simply look up your contact details and home address simply by checking your URL with Whois.
When surfing the internet your unique IP address can easily be identified and located, leading to all sorts of privacy infringements. When you want your surfing behavior to be anonymous, make sure to hide your IP address.
The first option is Tor. Tor provides an anonymous Internet connection through a randomized proxy where your data is stripped of information that identifies its source.
This can also provide you with an opportunity to access certain internet site that somehow has been blocked in your geographical location.
A second option would be to use a so call VPN. This is a paid service that provides a secure connection to its server from where you can surf the internet freely.
Our highly digitalized world has brought us tremendous freedom. Unfortunately, the stream of data we produce provides a lot of information for advertisers and governments, which they use for their own ends.
Luckily, there are a number of options available for us to decrease our digital vulnerabilities and increase our privacy. Because we at Freemont believe that privacy is a fundamental human right and absolutely essential for a decent working free market economy.
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