Anonymize Your Web Surfing With JonDo/JonDoFox Open Source Anonymizer

imageThankfully, I live in a part of the world where Government censorship of my Internet activities is a non issue; the Canadian government does not restrict my access to any part of the Internet.

I wish I could go on to say, that I live in a part of the world where the Government has no interest in my Internet activities, But that, unfortunately, would be like wishing on a star – and, equally as effective.

Arguably, we live in highly unstable times, so Governments worldwide, take a penetrating interest in the use of the Internet by their citizens. Some, more than others, of course. But, it is fair to assume, that in a broad sense, we are all under surveillance, at all times, while connected to the Internet.

While I have no faith whatsoever, that those in power will continue to use the gathered information in a restricted, and appropriate fashion – it’s not something that I dwell on. After all, there is nothing I can do about it – so, I’m forced to slot it into my comfort zone.

But, what if I lived in a country that not only had “follow” technology in place,      but censored my access to the Internet; effectively, forbidding access to areas of the Internet, or specific web sites, that are at odds with the prevailing political status quo?

One of the saving graces of technology is – no matter the restrictions that one form of technology can put in place, additional technology exists that can effectively bypass these restrictions. Cyber criminals rely on this “truism”.

In the case of Internet censorship, the technology tool of choice, at an individual user level is, an anonymous surfing application. Interestingly, previous reviews of anonymous surfing applications on this site, have been read disproportionately by readers from Middle Eastern countries.

The use of anonymous surfing applications is not restricted to breaking through censorship barriers of course. There are more obvious reasons, you may have, for anonymous surfing, including – surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers.

In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

Once it’s pointed out, most typical PC users are amazed at the amount of information their browser provides to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have blacked out certain parameters for privacy purposes only. This screen capture illustrates “in the clear surfing”, without benefit of an anonymizer.

JonDo 1

When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. Effectively, this means the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.

The following screen capture illustrates the information that is now available to websites, and others, while running anonymously with JonDo, the application covered in the following review.

JonDo 2

Installing the JonDo application is a two stage process (for Firefox users). In the first step, you will install the main application which is then followed by installing JonDoFox.

The significant benefit here is – you will now have an additional Firefox user profile exclusively dedicated to running the JonDo anonymizer application. Your original Firefox profile remains untouched.

This setup is actually not complicated, despite the two stage process. This new profile includes a number of Firefox privacy and security add-ons – Adblock Plus, CS Lite, NoScript, DownloadHelper, and ProfileSwitcher.

The following screen captures illustrate the install process, and the resulting user profile choices you will now have when launching Firefox.

image

image

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will keep your web surfing private, JonDo is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux. Java Runtime Environment.

Download at: anonymous-proxy-servers.net

Although, I didn’t notice an appreciable lag while testing this application, you should keep in mind that like all anonymizer applications/services, you may notice a slowdown in surfing speeds while using JonDo.

Bonus: JonDo is compatible with PortableApps.

For additional information on this open source application, visit the developers site.

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23 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Portable Applications, Privacy, Software, Surveillance, USB, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

23 responses to “Anonymize Your Web Surfing With JonDo/JonDoFox Open Source Anonymizer

  1. Internet freedom is no where these days as we are actively being watched over in one form or another. Even services like these are bound to laws of the land which unfortunately go against what we are talking about here.

    • Hey Avinash,

      I can’t agree. Services such as these, are regularly used to avoid conflict with censorship in many countries – including evading the “Great Firewall of China”. Since the cascading servers are not physically located in restrictive countries, they are not bound by the restrictive “laws of the land”.

      Bill

      • Bill,

        I was talking about the cases where subpoena are used to extract information about the end user. Even though the cases are rare or we heard about them rarely, it still pose a risk.

        And The “laws of land” I talked about was only about the law of the land in which those servers are located.

        Just consider the case of blackberry in some countries. They agreed to put the servers in those countries after the governments there threatened to ban blackberry services.

        I know we are talking about Anonymizing services here and Blackberry may not be a great example but its quite relevant.

        • Hi Avinash,

          Yes, I see your point and I concede that there have been cases where a subpoena has been used to extract information about the end user. It’s worth noting however, that there are far mores cases where the power of subpoena has been rejected.

          I think the Blackberry case is relevant to this discussion, since it points out that users can not rely on static policies to ensure long term privacy of their correspondence. RIM, has no corporate courage, and is driven more by bottom line dynamics than any consideration for customer care.

          There are third party supplementary applications which will further encrypt Blackberry emails for an added layer of protection.

          Bill

  2. How does JonDo compare to using Firefox’s own Private Browsing?

    And what about browsing where you can’t download or install software, such as some workplaces, the library or other public computers? And what if you’re stuck using IE?! How do you keep that private when you can’t even control the Internet Options?

    Thanks,
    Morty

    • Hi Morty,

      Firefox’s Private Browsing does nothing more than not save data on which sites and pages you have visited, This simply means, that it’s not accessible in History. It has no effect on data collection by web sites, or ISPs.

      If you are in an environment where you have to deal with the conditions you outline, you still have options that allow anonymous surfing. There are large numbers of free, readily available, anonymous portals. For example, a Google search for “anonymous portals” returns over 700,000 entries.

      Bill

  3. Jose

    Hi Bill.
    This article cames in very handy.
    My next ISP’s Modem/Router will have an IP’s black list of Torrent sites.
    Will this service be enough to circumvent that?

    Regards,
    Jose.

    • Hi Jose,

      As you know, I’m not in favor of software piracy, but black listing torrent sites at the modem level seems like overkill. This is just one more indication of the chill effect anti-piracy organization have managed to instill. Scary.

      I haven’t tested the scenario you describe, but I can’t think of a reason as to why anonymity would be affected. Which of course would mean, bypassing the black list.

      Best,

      Bill

  4. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Anoymizer services are becoming more and more important, as governments try to spy on us. And it’s not limited to Middle Eastern countries anymore, as we all well know. These types of apps give us back some power. Personally, I use Hotspot Shield when I want to go “incognito”. It’s nice to know when I’m using it that not even my ISP can know what I’m doing, and so it should be. But as you point out, there are many thousands of hits on Google for Anonymizer services, so there is a smorgasbord of choice for people who want to use this type of app.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      Totally agree on the value and the need for anoymizers.

      I quite like Hotspot Shield – it’s fast and very dependable. Still, I’m going to alternate with JonDo for a while, since there are no ads and it doesn’t have to run in the background, or at startup – although I don’t really allow it to do either.

      Best,

      Bill

  5. I gave Privacy Choice , a privacy bookmarklet,(privacychoice.org) a try. It claimed to opt me oout of tracking by 100 ad companies. Instead SuperAntiSpyware said 50 new cookies were installed – by ad companies.

    When I uninstalled Privacy Choice they went away.

    Same thing happened when I installed the Firefox privacy addon Abine (getabine.com), execpt it was 62 cookies.

    I think the advertising companies are taking advantage of the public’s privacy fears and creating “privacy tools” that are anything but private.

    I also discovered Yauba (yauba.com), a search engine whose entire privacy policy is: “We do not keep any personally identifiable information. Period.” They say they don’t assign cookies, store your search history, or any related personal data. They also say they use an ‘anonymizer privacy filter’ to prevent 3rd party websites from accessing your personal details. I haven’t played with it long enough to have an opinion, but I’m a bit of a skeptic, so we’ll see.

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  7. Like you I’m concerned about privacy, or maybe it’s anonymity I’m after. To that end I’ve played with a number of tools.

    I gave Privacy Choice, a privacy bookmarklet, (privacychoice.org) a try. They claim they will opt me out of tracking for over 100 ad companies. Instead SuperAntiSpyware said 50 new cookies were installed – all ad companies of course.

    When I uninstalled Privacy Choice they went away.

    Same thing happened when I installed the Firefox privacy addon Abine (getabine.com), except it was 62 cookies. They went away when I uninstalled it too.

    I think the advertising companies are taking advantage of the public’s privacy fears and creating “privacy tools” that are anything but private.

    I also discovered Yauba (yauba.com), a search engine whose entire privacy policy is: “We do not keep any personally identifiable information. Period.” They say they don’t assign cookies, store your search history, or any related personal data. Then it says Yauba uses an ‘anonymizer privacy filter’ to prevent 3rd party websites from accessing your personal details. I haven’t played with it long enough to have an opinion, but I’m a bit of a skeptic. We’ll see what happens.

    I do use the NoScript and Better Privacy Firefox addons, as well as rotating with Sandboxie. I like them all.

    I need to try Hotspot Shield, and Tor.

    Thanks for the post Bill – great info as always.

    • Hi Dave,

      I have two comments from you that are essentially the same, so I’ll respond to this one.

      I agree with your point – “advertising companies are taking advantage of the public’s privacy fears and creating “privacy tools” that are anything but private”. Your experience with Privacy Choice and Abine, is an indication that you’re on the right track. You and I have been around long enough to know, that a business that doesn’t produce revenue has no chance of success. Unquestionable, both Privacy Choice, and Abine, are in business to make money – so, users data is being manipulated in some fashion to produce that revenue.

      I had a bit of a chuckle when I read Yauba’s statement “”We do not keep any personally identifiable information. Period.” The English language, being as imprecise as it is, leaves a lot of room to wonder just what they do with the data – other than “not keep it”, of course. 🙂

      Yes, give Hotspot Shield a try. It’s definitely worth taking for a spin.

      Always great to see you drop by. I trust all is well in the land of the Gators.

      Best,

      Bill

  8. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve been using ZoneAlarm ForceField for a while and also have FF BetterPrivacy and Taco addons installed.

    Like you I don’t see why it’s anyone’s business what I do online as long as it’s legal. Obviously this type of software is also available to criminals, which is why I don’t think any application will be completely foolproof. There needs to be a way of tracking those guys and no software can distinguish between those, such as you and me, whose use is above board and those with criminal intent (in which I include piracy).

    Having said that, I can’t resist giving JonDo/JonDoFox a try!

    Kind regards

    John

  9. roberth

    Good Morgan, just downloaded Jondo & Jondofox, and have lost my bookmarks, any idea if I can get them back without uninstalling this? Too much German for me to know whats going on with this program. thanks,
    robert h

    • Hi Robert,

      Following installation you should have two Firefox profiles – your original profile which remains untouched, and the new JonDoFox profile. When launching Firefox you choose which profile to use. The JonDoFox profile does not include any settings from your original profile.

      The developers site that I referenced in the article, is entirely in English – https://anonymous-proxy-servers.net/en/index.html

      Bill

  10. robert h

    Thanks, now I get it, just had not restarted it yet to notice the two profiles, pretty slick having the choice to use the proxy in unsafe settings, thanks again for the info.

  11. jjolla

    How do the proxies work? Do they pass SSL through to the end-point, or do they act as a man-in-the-middle?

    If the latter, then we need to trust the JonDo proxies as a master CA … and by passing your requests and data to these proxies, we are relying on an unknown group of individuals to not snoop on them. How do we know this information won’t be misued? .