Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Surf the Web Anonymously with IP Privacy

Online privacy is a hot-button topic. There are numerous services that we use every day that keep track of our IP address. Unless you use dial-up Internet, your  IP address is like your real, physical address. It is a fixed address that is associated with you and can be pulled up by web masters. Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable walking around with their home address printed on their shirt, but that is what you’re doing when you browse the Internet.

The solution to this is to use a proxy web server. A proxy server acts as a barrier between you and the Internet. When you send a request for information, say, you visit fredshead.info, that request first goes to the proxy server and is then routed to the final location. This disguises your IP address. The only problem is that using a proxy can be a real pain in the butt for users who are not very familiar with how they work.

That’s where IP Privacy comes in. This utility enables one-click proxy web surfing.  When you first open the program, you will be greeted with the main screen, on which there are two big buttons. For now, we are only going to touch on the top button, labeled Enable Online Anonimity.

Above that button you will find a drop-down list. This, when opened, shows a list of proxy servers that IP Privacy has made available for you. Selecting a server will open a testing window. Press the Start button to begin testing the proxy server, it should only take a second.  If the test is successful press Done, if it is not successful press Cancel and select a different proxy.

By pressing the Start button you have already enabled anonymous online surfing.  Websites will no longer see you by your real IP address but will instead see you by the IP address of the proxy server. You can of course turn your anonymous surfing on or off by pressing the big Enable/Disable Online Anonimity button.

Now let’s talk about the second big button labeled Enable Privacy. Pressing this button enables global privacy settings for your computer’s web browsers. No matter what web browser you use, your privacy settings will apply. By default, the privacy settings block invasive Javascript that might be used to collect information from your computer. The settings can also be adjusted so that ActiveX is blocked.

Finally, IP Privacy has global web browser history settings. You can delete information from your web browser’s history including Internet history, typed URLs, temporary Internet files, Internet cookies, autocomplete forms, autocomplete passwords, and favorites. The history will be deleted at user-specified intervals. The default setting is every five minutes, but you can adjust it as you desire.

IP Privacy is an excellent privacy utility for any Windows computer. It takes a task that is hard for the typical user and makes it very simple to achieve.

Click this link to download IP Privacy from http://www.privacy-pro.com.

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