All our activities are exposed and transparent online without protection. Advertisers, government and other law enforcement agencies can keep track of every step that we take while browsing the web. Luckily, transitioning from transparent to opaque so you disappear online requires just a few simple steps.
Step 1: Let Your Smartphone Go
Our phones are a gateway to the most invasive tracking that we experience. Internet privacy is getting compromised increasingly by the day. We are prone to spies everywhere from the very basic phone function till the use of the internet. Our phone operators can track and locate everything through the SIM card. When our phone logs into the cellular network, it gives away the identity of the device through the serial number and the SIM card. Your service providers are obligated to gather your data and routinely make it available to the government. This way hackers are also gain access through uncovered or weak backdoors.
Removing your SIM card is not the ultimate solution and is not feasible if you want to completely disappear online. This is because you can still connect your phone to a network in case of an emergency call or such. An iPad or other tablets without SIM card holders are considered to be good replacements for a phone. iPod touch also qualifies as a brilliant substitute. You need to make sure that the device’s operating system changes its MAC address so you have anonymity and the Wi-Fi networks are unable to identify you.
Finding a phone that’s right for you is undeniably hard. Most phones require you to be synced with a Google account or Apple ID, they don’t run critical software or receive updates regularly.
Step 2: Get Off the Radar – Abandon Email and Social Media
This is not particularly hard because it requires technical knowledge, but it is hard because there is no one who will leave the world of social media and follow you on this path. The extravagant advertisement-filled world of social media is addictive and hard to get rid of.
Without a SIM card number, you can’t sign up for many social media services. Even when you are covered underneath anonymity networks, every click and comment you do on social media is monitored, which gives these accounts power over you.
In this digital age, it is impossible to live without a phone number and an email account. It is almost considered that you don’t exist without the two. An alternative is to run your own email server, though maintaining privacy and security is hard.
To use an email and preserve anonymity simultaneously, you can find a paid provider who accepts cryptocurrency and tolerates connections through Tor.
Another solution might be to find yourself a vendor that offers anonymous numbers for bitcoin usage. This would render useful for any social media account you wish to maintain.
You might also be able to find a vendor that offers an anonymous phone number for Bitcoin use. This would be useful for any social media or chat accounts you choose to maintain.
Go for communication networks that do not require your email address or phone numbers to sign up. Jabber and Bitmessage network are good examples of these (though this Bitcoin-inspired Bitmessage network is still in beta).
Step 3: Encrypt Everything and Route Through Tor
Even though Tor is tedious, it is highly efficient when it comes to anonymity network. It is not the ultimate solution but it is the closest to hide you and your contacts from one another. Encryption is still necessary. You still have to encrypt your communications and it is advised to not exchange or store any encrypted data online such as emails or chats.
Inside of an operating system like TAILS, browse the web using the Tor browser. You will be shown sites that don’t allow access of content until you sign up or switch back to your own regular browser. This is a sign that you should avoid the website.
Step 4: Use Bitcoin and Cash Only
You are also exposed when you make an electronic purchase. This means that tracking is not limited to using own devices or accounts for browsing.
Paying with debit/credit card or PayPal also leads to locating you. It’s best to use Bitcoin or cash instead of cards.
Step 5: Use a VPN
Tor has a wide clientele base and to date has been able to keep millions safe. However, governments and Internet service providers still have their suspicions and reservations when it comes to it.
Best practice would be to mask your home internet traffic by buying a VPN and installing it directly on your router. This would hide your activity on Tor while simultaneously keeping the anonymity feature that we aim for.
With a secure USA VPN, your internet service provider won’t be able to see the Tor nodes you are connected to. What is visible is just a connection that is similar to any other encrypted browsing session along with the IP address of your VPN server.
It is very difficult to separate yourself from the internet in this day and age. Also, to coexist in the society, you cannot let go off your accounts and achieve digital freedom just like that. What the majority leans towards to disappear online is the use of a VPN, which we would definitely highly recommend too. After all, the majority is an authority!