Why using JonDonym – Benefits
Any communication on the Internet leaves all kinds of digital traces which can be automatically acquired, saved and analyzed. Some companies have thus specialized in creating individual user profiles from surfing related data. These databases are of high economic value since they allow an enterprise to comprehensively profile their costumers. This process is called data accumulation or data enhancement in data mining lingo.
There are many reasons why one should avoid leaving digital traces when surfing: part of the data collected advects into scoring systems which are used to evaluate loan requests, to create individually priced offers or to decide on eligibility for C.O.D. service. Employers may be generated a character profile of their job applicants from traces on the Net prior to hiring them. Freedom of opinion is limited by governments or institutions where they trace individual surfers that use or edit certain web services or deny them any usage at all. Companies may recognize employees of other businesses or even those of their competition and subsequently annoy them with promotional calls or email spam. Browser related data exposes vulnerabilities in the surfing machine. An hacker may subsequently contact the computer directly and attack it.
Further problematic is that these traces are collected, saved, sent and processed without your consent and most widely unnoticed. Decisions not being understandable by you may be based on this information.
Search engines and statistic-services are recording your surfing-behaviour
Search engines, like Google, Yahoo and MSN, are recording your IP-address and your queries for several months or even years. Companies concerned with statistical services or advertisement like Phorm, Doubleclick, Google Adwords or Google Analytics may record your IP-address or web sites visited by you as well. These services are distributed of millions of web sites and may be even used by your Internet provider.
Your surfing-behaviour can be recorded almost completely
Big service providers, like Google and Microsoft, are able to merge both statistical and query data to a detailed profile of your surfing-behaviour. Depending on how much you are surfing the Web your behaviour may reveal a lot about your life, your interests, your businesses, your relations, and your problems.
Password- and identity-theft
If your are using unsecured Internet services your password, account information and address can be read out. Now, a third party would be able to order things in the Internet-shop using your data, as well. Besides, your e-mail-passwords could be intercepted and then your conversation by e-mail could be read along, until you are changing your passwords again.
Loss of confidential information
Your private messages can be intercepted and, later on, be used against you or your company. Are you writing a message to your wife and afterwards to your mistress? Are you sending business documents to a colleague which outsiders are not allowed to get?
Web sites of your competitors "are playing around" with you
Employees of competitors are able to observe your IP-address while you are visiting the web sites of them. Because of that they may present wrong or no information at all to you. They are even able to show a special career-page in order to headhunt your employees.
Data-leaks bring your behaviour to the public
Due to a huge data-leak all queries using AOL were published in 2006. Thanks to digital reproduction everybody is able to reproduce the query history of all users now. People who are sick or mentally unstable could easily be unmasked for the public
Prohibiting free information
Besides direct Internet censorship, which is aimed at prohibiting access to specific web sites technically, there is a indirect censorship as well: the fear of suffering disadvantages just because one is consuming unpleasant contents.
Journalists are not able to inform themselves freely
Internet-censorship is impeding free journalism. In the scope of investigations journalists must be able to access censored contents as well, because they have to judge whether these contents are relevant to the public or not.
Citizens are not able to form their own opinions
In the real world there is usually not only one single truth - but many. Due to direct censorship or fear of reprisals citizens full of age are not able to get all the necessary information in order to judge the facts properly.
Just retrieving unpleasant contents is punished
The "Operation Himmel" (operation heaven) was praised in Germany as a big success of the investigators: But just a few of the suspects were actually guilty and the short clicking on web sites destroyed the social existence of innocents.
Anti-censorship-services are selling your data
Beware of anti-censorship-services: There are some which are collecting and selling your data: probably even to censors!
No freedom of speech for blogger and activists
Blogging is a kind of "diary-journalism": Blogger are posting their experiences and views on the Internet in order to inform as much different people as possible of them. Many blogger are writing anonymously in order to avoid punishment, disadvantages at work or ostracism because of their freely expressed opinion.
Business partners are deterred
Someone is observing your connection to your anonymous blog. He recognizes, that you are defending certain political and religious views there. Provided this information comes to the public, your business partners may be deterred to cooperate with you.
Excessive liability concerning the own opinion
In case it comes to negative portrayals of companies and VIPs liability suits are often quick at hand. In authoritarian states blogger are furthermore prosecuted because of unpleasant political and religious opinions. Since your blog-provider must reveal your IP-address in case of an official order, you are only able to express your opinion in a limited way.
Punishment of political and human rights activists
Activists contacting web sites of political organizations can be observed and punished. However, in a free society it should be possible to inform oneself about political opinions without any punishment at all.
Whistle-blower reveal themselves or are betrayed
If not-anonymized messages to and from whistle-blowers are sent over the Internet and are intercepted, or if a mole in an agency is forwarding the IP-address of a particular whistle-blower, then he is unmasked.
Online-investigators are unmasked
The IP-address contains direct or indirect information regarding the own organization. But often online-investigators of the police have to mask themselves in order to get important information.
On suspicious web sites investigators are recognizable as such
Some forums- and chat-systems show directly the IP-address of every user. The owner of a particular web site notices the IP-address of the user as well. An IP-address belonging to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is not really trust-enhancing then.
Mistakes made by employees unmask secret net-structures
Employees of the German Intelligence Service (BND) have already unmasked themselves on our web sites due to the fact that their browser contained a referrer to internal BND-sites. Now, we just could have saved the corresponding IP-addresses (something we have not done as a matter of principle), and the range of BND-IP-addresses (or that of the Federal Crime Police Office (BKA) because its proxy was used in some cases) could have been analyzed step by step.
Staying in contact in a hostile environment is dangerous
If employees of a secret service want to contact computers in their head quarters, this communication can be intercepted. And if, furthermore, the contacted IP-address is known as one belonging to the secret service, the employee is unmasked.
Operations cannot be kept secret
Investigators may use proxy- or VPN-services to anonymize themselves. As far as these are controlled by a single organization, the investigators must nevertheless reckon on the organized crime observing their steps. Criminals may operate the services themselves or bribe employees in order to be able to follow the actions of the investigators.
Proxy- or VPN-services which are controlled centrally can be operated by an enemy of a secret service. It is quite conceivable that secret services are deploying such computers under false names in order to eavesdrop on the data traffic of employees belonging to other secret services and that feel themselves save using these proxies. This is quite a inexpensive opportunity of espionage. Probably, one can even earn some money setting up a commercial service which is faked using this proxy/VPN-service.
Investigators are suspicious if they are surfing noticeable insecure
If investigators surf on sites where users normally anonymize themselves they attract special attention being unmasked.