Blocked from a Website or Video? Protect Your Privacy with Proxies!
Surfing the Internet these days can be risky business. You give up a great deal of information when you visit a web site such as your IP address, the city you are in, your browser info, your operating system; sites may also leave tracking “cookies” on your PC…or worse.
Do not fear, all is not lost. There are ways to protect your privacy and to avoid giving up information that you do not have to provide, such as what country you live in, the name of those porn sites you last visited, or the fact that you’re using Windows ME (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone!).
(trying out a new HD set up.. sorry if the video is out of sync a bit .. make sure to go FULLSCREEN if you want to follow the tutorial!)
One way to do this is to use a proxy server. This is a system that routes and filters between two networks. They can act as firewalls, routers, spam filters, etc. In this video I show you how to use an open HTTP proxy server to surf the web anonymously, and to access sites or videos that may be restricted by location or other filters (that work on information which you don’t have to provide).
Article 12 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
So why would you want to go through the trouble? You can use a proxy to protect the information we have talked about, to block unwanted sites from communicating with your machine, or to circumvent regional restrictions. A lot of popular websites like Youtube, Pandora, and other content sharing sites will make certain videos or text unavailable for people from varying countries. Have you ever seen this?
In the video I show you a simple way to do this; the “poor man’s proxy” if you will. You can use Google Translator or Google Cache to act as a proxy and take a look at sites. This is not an ideal solution, but it is quick and easy, and may be useful if you are restricted (such as being unable to edit the browser connection settings).
The more complicated way that I show you is to find an open web proxy and manually set it up as your HTTP proxy within your browser. This is more reliable, but you’ll need more access to the applications on your PC and a bit more technical knowledge.
Unfortunately these are not foolproof. For instance, some organizations such as schools may block sites or services based on keywords or other criteria, and proxies may not be able to solve the problem for you. But in many cases you can be surfing along in no time without The Man breathing down your neck.
UPDATE: The Tor Project
[Yet another option to hide your identity, thanks Keb for this input.. nobody could explain it better than you did!]
Tor (not TOR) is an anonymizing proxy network that will be useful if you really need to be anonymous and don’t just want circumvention, though it can be used for the latter as well. http://www.torpoject.org It is used by activists and whistleblowers as well as oppressed folks around the world, and investigators who want to hide their identity.
Note that if you use the Adobe flashplayer plugin in your browser, the plugin may bypass the proxy and send info such as ip address directly to the website. Sites such as Hulu take advantage of that and also block many proxy services. There are ways around that too but check the TorProject website for details. [taken from comments page]