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.
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.
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.
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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