Posts Tagged ‘proxies’

Monday, November 19th, 2012

In the UK there has been a series of sex scandals relating to famous and influential people.  It started with the revelations of a TV star called Jimmy Saville and every week another celebrity seems to be implicated.  Much of this is often fueled by a torrent of online gossip and speculation on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  But for those of us who do tend to gossip a little too freely online there is a cautionary tale to be told.

Last week a BBC documentary (this link if you’re outside UK) covered yet another of these allegations, with out naming the individual involved.  There were some clues however and pretty soon the rumour mill had started up and guesses and accusations were flying around the internet.  Unfortunately the information in the documentary was basically wrong, and the person implied to be guilty of a series of sex attacks was completely innocent.  The name that was flying about the ether was wrong, the accusations unfounded and the accused man very angry and hurt.

The apology came of course in the end, the shambolic investigation by the Newsnight team led to the Director General of the BBC resigning.  Damages were paid and we thought it would then disappear, but not this time.  The falsely accused individual had emplyed a team of Twitter experts to compile a list of all those who had Tweeted and spread the false allegations.  His aim was to sue them all for damages.  The list includes some TV personalities like the comedian Alan Davies and ran to thousands of names.  There was always a sense of anonymity to using Twitter but the reality is that anyone is easily traced by their IP address even if they use false details.

There is little anonymity for anyone online so you should take as much care with what you say online as you do offline.  Also remember that your audience is likely to be significantly bigger!  If you do wish to try and hide your identity then you should be careful about what details you put on any social media accounts.  Also consider investing in a privately run secure connection software which completely obscures your identity online.  There are bonuses to using these because they come with a wide array of servers you can use different IP addresses in different countries – just like these.  So you can switch to a British IP if you want to watch the BBC Iplayer, a US one for Hulu or whatever you need.  Whatever you do though, always presume you have less privacy than you think you do!

Internet Filtering – Iceland

Friday, September 14th, 2012

There is a campaign in many European countries to censor adult content from the internet.  There are debates taking place now in the UK around plans to enforce some sort of default censorship through the ISPs. Now Iceland is considering taking the same step and Vodaphone is considering making it’s own Online Filtering Service a default for all it’s customers.

People would still be able to opt out of they service but the default would be to be filtered.  Customers would be in charge of the filter through a self admin page to configure the settings.  Another ISP in Iceland called Siminn already offers the option to filter and block porn but it is off by default.

Users who are subject to these filters could also bypass them by using a proxy service which operates beyond the filters.  For instance this discussion takes place on this page – where you’ll find lots of information on proxies, VPNs and how to change your IP address when online.  The site is based mainly on American issues although the concepts are the same wherever you are, there is a bit on watching Canadian TV which some might find useful.

Free the Internet – Using Proxies

Monday, July 9th, 2012

There’s an increasing trend for companies and governments to control the internet.  Go to any major website and you’ll probably find something called Geotargeting happening.  This is  the practice of looking up your location and producing content based on your location.  Many websites block access to much of their content if you’re not from a specific country for instance.  If you’re in the US for example you’ll get blocked trying to access UK media sites like the BBC, if you’re in Europe you’ll get blocked from awesome US media sites like Hulu.

Fortunately this internet censorship is easy to bypass – all you need to do is use proxy or VPN servers to fool servers about your location.  This page for example shows how you can use a BBC proxy based in the UK to watch BBC Iplayer.  It’s simple to use, but unfortunately does involve a subscription payment to pay for the servers.  Worth checking out especially if your living away from your home country and are having problem accessing stuff.

If you’re using a mobile device like a phone, iPad or tablet the choices are a little more restricted but still plentiful.  Some of the services will work on other platforms too, this video shows how to set a VPN on an iPad and the method is similar on iPhones, Tablets and even Android phones.