Generally, when we blog on the Internet, we use our real names — people tend to take authors with genuine bylines more seriously than posts by cooldude123.
But there’s all sorts of good reasons (and a few bad ones) someone might want to host an anonymous blog. Maybe they’re in a country without American-style freedom of speech. Maybe they don’t want their thoughts accessible to any random stalker via a search engine. Or maybe they just want to keep their professional and personal identities totally separate (often a good idea.)
So if you’ve ever wondered how to completely cover your online tracks, the free-speech fighters at GlobalVoices Advocacy have put together a rather nifty step-by-step guide. For those serious about anonymity, read the whole thing, but here’s the executive summary:
- Download something called “Tor,” which makes it harder for trace where you’re blogging from by masking your IP address.
- Set up a free webmail account — Gmail (GOOG) comes recommended.
- Create a free blog on the wordpress.com domain.
- Write while offline. Turn on Tor, copy/paste your content to WordPress, and future-date your post. (Fiddling with the timestamps makes it significantly harder for a hacker to trace your connection to Tor.)
- Get a good program to securely erase your data (a PC’s normal “delete” function is insufficient), and get in the habit of deleting your web cache/cookies when you log off.
It’s really not that hard.
But we add one final plea: Post responsibly. Anonymity isn’t licence to be a jerk.