Internet Anonymizers

Lance Cottrell

I would like to explore certain sites that advocate extreme political views. How can I do this and keep my identity secret?

If I may, I’d like to answer your question with another question:

Q. What do nude volleyball and the Web have in common?

A. Both offer the same amount of privacy.

– Original Website, early 2000’s.

Internet anonymizers are services that make your web browsing (and sometimes other uses) as anonymous as possible. Email anonymizers are discussed on the remailer page. Web anonymizers set up a secure connection with your computer, surf the sites you wish to visit on your behalf, and then pass back the results so no one knows which sites you visited or what you’ve read or seen.

The first Internet anonymizer was, invented in 1997 by Lance Cottrell during studies towards a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of California, San Diego. Cottrell is a noted privacy advocate who also invented the widely used Mixmaster remailer, and established the Kosovo Privacy Project enabling individuals to use anonymizer services to report from within the 1999 Kosovo war zone without fear of retaliation. Many other anonymizers have since been developed, many with free services. The following sections provide more information.