7 ways to blog anonymously {updated}

Following today’s landmark judgement on one blogger’s right (or not) to anonymity, I thought it might be useful to post the following tips on maintaining anonymity online.

1. Use an anonymous email account to register your blog. Hushmail is one free service that provides encrypted accounts; RiseUp is aimed at activists; MintEmail gives you a 3 hour temporary email address and FilzMail gives you one that expires after 24 hours. You could also use these to post to your blog via email. Posterous is a great blogging service that allows you to do this.

2. Make sure your IP address isn’t logged when you register or post to the blog. You could use something like Anonymizer or Tor or Psiphon. Other services that mask your IP are listed on this forum.

3. Or you could use an anonymous blogging platform. Invisiblog was one but no longer exists. BlogACause claims to be “anonymous” but I’m trying to find out exactly how UPDATE: here’s how, apparently. In the meantime, this post recommends WordPress and something like Tor.

4. Use a pseudonym that you don’t use anywhere else. If you use a pseudonym, don’t use it on other services as well, as this will make it easier to trace you. If you’re struggling, this Random Name Generator will create one for you.

5. If you’re going to register a domain name do so anonymously with a service like The Online Policy Group.

6. Be careful what information you include. Although police blogger NightJack changed or did not include names in cases he was involved in, the details were specific enough for a journalist to track him down.

7. Don’t win awards. Or book deals. It’s safe to say that a major newspaper would not have been interested in the identities of NightJack or Girl With A One Track Mind if both had remained cult underground heroes. So just pretend you’re sub-literate, OK?

For more information, the following guides go into much more detail:

More links and tips welcome. My Delicious bookmarks on anonymity are at http://delicious.com/paulb/anonymity


38 thoughts on “7 ways to blog anonymously {updated}

  1. jimspice

    Also, re: #4. It’s not particularly reassuring that in visiting The Online Policy Group, one is informed that the site’s SSL certificate is no longer valid.

    1. AffiliateSwitchblade

      SSL is sort of a hoax in that everything is tracked and monitored these days. Privacy is gone for good! Welcome to the 21st century. It is also worth noting that All the anonymity measures mentioned here make it HARDER to be discovered but there are police and governmental organizations that specialize on internet crimes so there really is NO WAY to be TOTALLY anonymous. As a side note check out a free software that finds blogs on first page of Google that allow comments.

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  4. paulbradshaw

    He did use WordPress. At the end of the day, he could have used all the technology in the world, but it was the detail in his posts which (it is claimed) led to his being traced.

  5. JacktheSmilingBlack

    Reside beyond HMG jurisdiction. An Internet cafe in downtown Vientiane looks promising. “I say, does anybody here speak English?”
    Problem is, to have a whistle worth blowing; you have to be where the action/corruption is. That said, time spent in research is never time wasted, as the truth is almost always out there on the Web.
    But bottom line, Authority has been wrong footed and out flanked by the spare-bedroom blogger and mobile phone camera operative. So assume YouTube will be in the frame for “terminate with extreme prejudice”.

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  8. Hibbo

    This is absolutely brilliant advice, thank you so much. I mean, surely no-one wishing to blog anonymously would have thought of such revolutionary ideas as to use a pseudonym or not include details that might give you away.

    I hope the oppressed of the world may read your technological and cutting edge tips.

    A triumph!

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  10. Nell Darby

    Hibbo, why resort to unnecessary sarcasm? You may be the world’s expert on anonymous blogging, but many people – myself included – aren’t aware of all the ways to try to avoid being identified.

    Paul, thanks for the useful links. Nightjack’s identification has extensive ramifications for anyone who blogs, and it’s helpful to know what mechanisms are out there to aid anonymity.

  11. RadioElectric

    Actually, I’d advise against using that online pen name generator if anonymity is what you want. Or at least if you do then don’t put your real name in it to start with! It gives the same name back for your input each time, so somebody taking a guess at your real name could use that to confirm it.

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  17. Al

    I worked for a very small property management firm, the strategic plan is to increase the number of management accounts by way of building a solid reputation.  The current plan entails: maximizing the value seen by  current account holders while marketing the managing services to gain new accounts.

    Currently we are bringing in a new management account through use of a current account as a reference.

    Sent from my iPad

  18. Rob

    Thanks for the useful tips. Sometimes, I just want to ditch my online persona and go “off the record.” I used to use a pen-name, but I make something better! — http://Lettur.com is an anonymous blogging site. I created it so that everyone can generate beautiful web pages, totally anonymously, in seconds without the hassle of registering. If you give it a try, please be sure to let me know what you think!

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  21. Anonymous Caig

    Maybe I am missing the point and I understand your right to not revealing your identity. But does this somehow detract from the point of the necessity of posting openly commentary and opinion online or in hardcopy? My reasoning is related to the right to post, and freedom of the press. And does the individual have the right equally as does the press to express in words, or text their point of view, or whatever else? Which is a concern at the point the individual is not considered as an equal and would allow denying of posting commentary online by the individual because of arbitrary reasoning. This is my point of view, my perspective in my opinion.

    1. Paul Bradshaw Post author

      I hope I understand you correctly, but my post wasn’t arguing one way or another but rather providing some resources if an individual feels anonymity is necessary.

      There’s a long history in journalism of protecting your sources, but internet technology and surveillance actions by both states and commercial organisations now mean it is not solely up to the journalist to protect their source: the source has to protect themselves.

  22. Angelo

    Amazing blog! Do you have aany hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my owwn website soon but I’m a little los on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid
    option? Theree are so many choices out there that
    I’m totally confused .. Any recommendations? Thank you!

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  25. Anonymous Tracey

    One other tip, don’t SHARE the same analytics account with other sites you own, even if its just a WordPress blog. It’s really easy to use free tools online that see what other sites are using the same account – and the chances are they’re yours too!! I learned this the hard way!

  26. Joseph Giddings

    If I were to become popular, but never accept book deal, never talk to journalists, and never go to into detail about my life, would I still need to worry?

  27. Matthew Turner (@matewturner)

    I’ve came to a decision after making my own research. Simply don’t use the popular websites like WordPress and other blogging platforms as they have an access to your data and VPN or proxy don’t always work on 100%. And if you’ve chosen to be anonymous blogger, it means that can be a disaster for you. Check applications like Utopia p2p https://u.is/ as it seems to be the most secured and anonymous one. Never provide any personal data if you want to remain safe and here it doesn’t even required.


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