HOWTO be more anonymous in your anonymous blog

Andy Baio explains how he tracked down a trolling "anonymous" blogger who revealed his identity by using a Google Analytics ID that was incremented one up from his public blog. He uses this as a springboard for offering practical advice to people who want to blog "anonymously" (or, at least, as anonymously as possible):

1. Don’t use Google Analytics or any other third-party embed system. If you have to, create a new account with an anonymous email. At the very least, create a separate Analytics account to track the new domain. (From the “My Analytics Accounts” dropdown, select “Create New Account.”)

2. Turn on domain privacy with your registrar. Better, use a hosted service to avoid domain payments entirely.

3. If you’re hosting your own blog, don’t share IP addresses with any of your existing websites. Ideally, use a completely different host; it’s easy to discover sites on neighboring IPs.

4. Watch your history. Sites like Whois Source track your history of domain and nameserver changes permanently, and may archive old versions of your site. Being the first person to follow your anonymous Twitter account or promote the link could also be a giveaway.

5. Is your anonymity a life-or-death situation? Be aware that any service you use, including your own ISP, could be forced to reveal your IP address and account details under a court order. Use shared computers and an anonymous proxy or Tor when blogging to mask your IP address.

Andy Baio: Think You Can Hide, Anonymous Blogger? Two Words: Google Analytics


    1. Tell that to those who have been tortured and dismembered for speaking out against the Mexican cartels.  Just a thought.

    2. Right… because “embracing transparency” will do oh so much to help protect people escaping abusive relationships, people being stalked, women who get harassed simply for being female… the list goes on.

      Transparency is not a cure-all, and people calling for it are displaying their own ignorance of the wide range of reasons why it isn’t.

  1. Ah, Google Analytics… I’ve heard of that, probably because it happens to be active on this very page right now. Let’s see what else might be watching us here right now on good old (based on Ghostery):

    24/7 RealMedia Adify Admeld AdNexus Bizo Chango Chartbeat Collective Media Comscore Beacon ContextWeb Datran Disqus Doubleclick Federated Media Google +1 Google Adwords Conversion Google Analytics Google Custom Search Engine Invite Media Lijit Media Innovation Group Microsoft Atlas OpenX Quantcast Revenue Science Right Media Turn

    I find it rather ironic that if you want to really dial in your Ghostery privacy app, this is one of the best places to do it.

  2. Generally informed thread on the merits of privacy and transparency.
    Transparency often will not do “instead of” privacy, but while the latter is required in extremis and as a backstop when society needs those who will speak truth to power, the former is an absolute requirement for society to stay genuinely healthy and conduct wide and deep debate to obtain consensus on morality and politics. Both have their place, both should be defended.

    My personal take on G+ profiles: Google should allow “filtering” by real names at all levels (e.g. allow you to block everything (including read rights against your posts) to people without real names… BUT should absolutely allow accounts to be created anonymously. I can’t see that would appreciably harm their monetisation model either, unless I’m missing something.

    My 2c.

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