I must confess I’ve been quite lazy for the past few weeks — as well as busy on the WritingInn and AUGNG websites. I’d almost lost interest in continuing the series until Nino of Akopo asked if he could translate it into French. I figured that if my miserable attempt is worth translating into French, then it’s probably worth continuing.
I know how much almost everyone (including yours truly) hates long posts, but I’m going to ask you to bear with me as I intend to post the last part of the bulk content in this post. We’re going to be discussing anonymous blogging, as well as pings and pingbacks. Grab some coffee or some other stimulant as you’ll be spending a while in terms of screen time.
If for some reason you know the risks of blogging about your workplace and still want to do so (like Mini-Microsoft) or simply want to open up and talk about yourself, revealing potentially embarrassing information, then anonymous blogging might be for you.
Anonymous blogging has been around for quite a while and the longest-lived anonymous bloggers have been those who take security very seriously. Bloggers like Zoe Margolis have found out the hard way what it means to be unmasked. You should be aware that if you’re paranoid enough to want to hide your identity, you should be aware that curiosity is a human trait and there are people paranoid enough to go to any lengths to track you down.
Here are some simple rules to follow:
Create a new identity
Anything, however remote that can connect your anonymous and real personas should be eliminated. Build a new identity from scratch — birthday, name, email address, MySpace profile, ‘bio.’ Even your writing style can give you away. Just make sure you don’t develop a multiple personality disorder :-P.
Use Misleading Information
Throw in misleading pointers every now and then, especially when recounting an incident. Change locations and names but don’t lose yourself in the moment and give out information someone could piece together. Don’t worry about mixing up information — it tends to confuse anyone tracking you.
Use public terminals or blog by E-mail
The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Some people ‘accidentally’ leak their identities just by having their IP addresses traced. I would recommend blogging from random public terminals (Cybercafés, libraries, etc). The second option, blogging via email (Blogger and WordPress both support this) is appealing. You still have to visit your blog [and other blogs!] to make comments and could still leak your identity this way.
An alternative would be to use Tor on your home computer.
I haven’t exactly covered all the aspects of anonymous blogging. For the truly paranoid, there are two excellent articles at Global Voices and EFF.
At other times, you might maintain a ‘semi-anonymous’ blog which means friends and relatives are free to discover who you are, but you still don’t post your contact information. Just make sure you don’t give anything away, and be careful about what you blog. To minimize scrolling, the next section is on page 2.