I’ve been looking at a few ways to hide my tracks while I’m online. It’s not as easy as you would think. Advertisers can track your every move. Google knows who you are, where you go, what you do. Is there a way (or, two) to avoid being tracked while you’re browsing the web?
Yes. But it’s easier said than done.
Browsing In The Dark Isn’t Always Free
Among the anonymous browsing solutions I’ve found and use is NetShade. It’s an anonymous proxy app for your Mac, and one of a number of solutions that help your online whereabouts become more transparent.
A proxy server acts as an intermediate server between your Mac and the rest of the world wide web.
Set up correctly, a proxy server hides your online activities. With the NetShade app you can browse the web through a public anonymous proxy server, or use NetShade’s dedicated proxy servers (additional cost).
What you get is as close to anonymous online browsing and internet usage as you can get, which makes it next to impossible for typical tracking sources to follow your whereabouts online.
That means you can browse the web and use other internet services without be tracked (at least, easily).
NetShade makes it easier for Mac users to anonymize online activities with an app, but there are other solutions available.
If you don’t mind slow, there’s Anonymous Browser Pro on the Mac App Store. As with other services, this one works with most web sites by using a proxy service, clears caches automatically, and is simple to use.
Half the time I couldn’t get it to work (on many typical sites).
Anonym is an anonymizer that hides your real public IP address using a proxy server, and comes with publicly available proxy servers you can connect, too.
Also free is the Tor Browser Bundle, a toolset for anyone concerned about privacy and security. Your online connections are bounced around a network scattered in various countries. That prevents you from being tracked while browsing or using other internet services.
Most of these apps will set you up with a proxy connection with just a few clicks. Though the price tag ranges from free to rather expensive (what’s the price of privacy and security?), they all have one thing in common.
Slow internet connections. All that bouncing around from one proxy server or relay to another means your web browsing will be slower than anything you’ve experienced since dial up modem connections.
What you get in return is a way to prevent Google or other online advertisers or internet snoops from tracking your activities when you’re online. That means more confidentiality, more anonymity, more privacy and the only price you pay is a relatively slow internet connection.