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.
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:
- How to blog safely by the Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Anonymous blogging with WordPress and Tor by Ethan Zuckerman – and also by Ethan: A Technical guide to anonymous blogging
- Hints and tips for whistleblowers – covers everything online and offline
- How to communicate securely in repressive environments by iRevolution (thanks Lisa Lynch)
- How to hide emails from government snooping by Jack Schofield
More links and tips welcome. My Delicious bookmarks on anonymity are at http://delicious.com/paulb/anonymity