There are a number of buzzwords used to describe new internet products and services, such as private, anonymous, secure, open-source, safe, and encrypted. Words have meanings, and the language used to describe something may give you a good idea of what that object is good at.
The terms “privacy” and “anonymity,” or “private” and “anonymous,” are commonly used interchangeably to signify that no one is observing you or knows what you are up to. In fact, though, these two phrases signify very different things. A web service is not anonymous just because it is private, and vice versa.
However, just because someone claims something is private doesn’t always mean it is, right Google?
So, what’s the distinction between privacy and anonymity? Which one is superior, and why? What do the phrases signify, and why is it necessary to understand the distinctions before signing up for a new web service?
Let us simply remove the mask of privacy and anonymity! This is all you need to know about online privacy and web anonymity.
Defining Privacy and Anonymity
Let’s start with some fundamental definitions. According to Merriam-Webster, privacy is the condition or state of being separate from company or observation, as well as the freedom from unlawful interference.
Privacy is the condition of being alone, unseen, and uninvaded.
According to Merriam-Webster, anonymity is the attribute or state of being anonymous, as well as being anonymous. Anonymous authorship or origin is unknown, it is not named or identified, and it lacks originality, distinctiveness, or recognizability.
The state of being unknown or unidentifiable is referred to as anonymity.
Everything appears to be straightforward, so why is the contrast between the phrases important?
What Is the Distinction Between Privacy and Anonymity?
As previously said, privacy is not synonymous with anonymity, and vice versa. A service or online environment can be both private and anonymous, be private but not anonymous, anonymous but not private, or neither. So, why is the distinction important?
Whether looking for an online service or being invited to join up for one, it’s critical to investigate if the service is secure, reliable, and protects your data. You may notice that the firm claims to “keep your data secret” or “everything is anonymous” without conducting any investigation. Understanding the distinction between the two phrases allows you to quickly determine whether the type of service is worth the risk.
Interestingly, there are several levels of privacy and anonymity. Some aspects of life are more private and anonymous than others. However you may argue that there are no variances and that anything is either private or anonymous. These phrases have been bent to express a wide range of literal meanings in our current environment.
This may be confusing, but it essentially implies that a service can be more or less private and more or less anonymous, but privacy remains distinct from anonymity. Got it?
Internet Privacy and Anonymity
Now that we’ve covered all of the semantics, how can we use this knowledge in the actual (or digital) world?
While utilizing apps or web services that contain or require access to your personal information, privacy should be your first priority. You should consider privacy while providing information such as your complete name, email address, credit card information, phone number, location data, and so on.
More precisely, whether utilizing social media platforms, mobile applications, messaging, email services, and browsers, you should maximize your privacy experience.
Since many of us share personal data online through social media and various other methods, anonymity becomes important in practice when dealing with sensitive material and themes. Being entirely anonymous is a good idea in a variety of scenarios, however it is up to you to decide when.
What About Security?
Do privacy and anonymity have any bearing on security? In a way. It’s impossible to have complete privacy and real anonymity without strong security, but it’s not always necessary.
According to Merriam-Webster, security is the condition or state of being secure, such as freedom from danger, worry, or anxiety, as well as the possibility of being laid off. It is also something donated, deposited, or committed in order to perform a duty (like a surety). Security can also refer to steps made to protect against espionage or sabotage, crime, attack, or escape, as well as an organization or department tasked with security.
The condition of being protected, as well as the activities taken or executed to assure protection, are referred to as security.
Essentially, security safeguards your privacy and anonymity. The higher the security (aka cybersecurity), the less likely your privacy or anonymity will be violated.
Let’s put what we’ve learned together by looking at Terrapixel, a business that takes pleasure in its privacy and security.
How Do You Establish Anonymity?
To obtain real online anonymity, you must shield your IP address from being disclosed. When you connect to the internet, you are connecting to a server. This server might be a web browser, a mail server, or a server for a virtual private network (VPN). Without investing in operational security, the server you use will have total sight of your IP address, which might be available to other internet users.
Investing in a VPN is the greatest approach to secure your online privacy. A VPN is a virtual private network that transforms a public internet connection into a private network.
Alternatively, browsers such as Brave or Tor, assist in skewing the IP address in order to shield you as well.
How Can You Get Privacy?
Obtaining internet privacy necessitates a variety of methods. The following are some of the good techniques for enhancing your online privacy:
- Social media: Go in to your social media accounts and verify your privacy settings. You need total control over what you publish publicly and who can see it, which is why it’s better to make your accounts private or choose the people with whom you want to share information. Another method is to use a Facebook comment moderation tool to control who may view comments on your posts. Again, even when utilizing social media accounts privacy settings, many big tech firms still utilize your data in a variety of methods.
- Keep your data safe: You should not save your data on sites geared for exchanging information. Tools like Google Docs, for example, allow for the fast sharing of live documents. It would be disastrous for your security if you unintentionally shared a list of your passwords.
- Look for encryption: Only use messaging and data-sharing applications that have end-to-end encryption. If a third party acquires access to the data, it will be rendered illegible.
- Maintain proper password care: under no circumstances should you reuse passwords, as if one password is hacked, a third party will obtain access to additional accounts. Only use strong and unique passwords. If you have trouble remembering your passwords, you might consider investing in a password management service that works as a digital vault for your passwords and alerts you if your password is hacked.
- Keep your software up to date: software updates eliminate vulnerabilities that existed in previous versions. You should maintain your software up to date to guarantee that there are no vulnerabilities that a third party may exploit. To secure any private data, it is also necessary to comprehend why identity theft prevention is beneficial.
- Using a VPN: A virtual private network (VPN) is a method that allows a secure connection to be established between a computing device and a computer network, or between two networks, via an unsecured communication channel such as the public Internet. This way your IP becomes skewed and not as easily traceable as if you just went online, “like that”.
Finally, it is critical to understand your security needs. If your business is aiming to improve its security, you must evaluate the influence of the technology you install on security. For example, if you employ a PSaaS (physical security as a service) provider to provide cloud-based physical security, you must ensure that those technologies interface with your cybersecurity software to achieve security convergence.