Think Big Brother Isn’t watching?? Obama Truth Team’ Orders GoDaddy To Shut Down Website
A political website that contained stinging criticism of the Obama administration and its handling of the Fast and Furious scandal was ordered to be shut down by the Obama campaign’s ‘Truth Team’, according to private investigator Douglas Hagmann, who was told by ISP GoDaddy his site contained information that was “maliciously harmful to individuals in the government.”
Hagmann, CEO of Hagmann Investigative Services, Inc., a private investigative agency serving a roster of Fortune 500 clients, was given 48 hours by GoDaddy to find a new home for his website before it was deleted.
Hagmann was told the reason for the shutdown was because the website featured “morally objectionable” material… Hmmm guess that means too much inconvenient truth for Holder and Obama? After GoDaddy refused to identify the complainant, only saying that it was not “any official government agency,” further investigation by Hagmann revealed that the order came from a group tied to Obama campaign headquarters.
Here’s How You Can Browse the Web Without Being Tracked
Most everyone already knows when you search for things on the Web, advertisers are picking up on that and quickly turning data around into marketing to attract you. As soon you search “sterling silver necklace” for mom’s birthday, lo and behold, the next website you go to — completely unrelated to the necklace — has ads from Overstock.com featuring none other than potential necklaces you may be interested in.
This may or may not bother you, but as CNET points out, there are times when you may not want more, shall we say, sensitive searches resulting in ads. The tech blog was recently asked ”How does one browse sensitive subjects without being tracked via cookies?”
It is possible. CNET describes this as “private mode,” which is available on most Web browsers:
- In Firefox it’s called “Private Browsing.”
- There’s an Incognito mode extension for Chrome. This article tells you how to switch any tab to Incognito with one click and here’s information for using Incognito for specific sites.
- Internet Explorer has an InPrivate browsing feature, as well as offers a way for people to selectively block sites from tracking.
- Apple has had private browsing since OS X Lion.
But even this won’t completely stop ads. According to CNET, there are further “do not track” measures that can be used, including Abine’s Do Not Track browser add-on and AVG’s Do Not Track, which lets you customize what you’re blocking.
Hot Spot Shield hides IP addresses, which can be used to associate data with other information a particular website may already know about you, even if cookies have been disabled. IP addresses are often what Internet service providers are asked for by law enforcement for investigations.
For those who are what CNET calls “hard core,” there is Tor Project, which offers completely anonymous browsing over encrypted channels. This, CNET acknowledges, could be a little “overkill” for the average user but you won’t see any ads corresponding with your recent searches here.
Update: A Blaze reader called up another search engine that doesn’t record IP addresses: StartPage. There are many options out there and we can’t name them all, but this is a good start.
January 28, 2010 By Geoff Duncan
StartPage is search engine that doesn’t record your IP address, your searches, or anything about you. And now you can surf to linked pages anonymously.
StartPage isn’t exactly a new contender in the Internet search field—it launched all the way back in early 2005—but it is unique among Internet search engines in that it does not record information about its users. Back in 2006 the company began deleting all personal search details from its own log files, and in January 2009 the company stopped recording the IP addresses of its users. Where search engines like Bing are patting themselves on their backs for deleting users’ information after six months, StartPage hasn’t been recording that information at all.
Now, StartPage has added a new feature to its search service: the ability to search anonymously to found sites using its Ixquick proxy server, so users can connect to Web sites without passing any identifiable information along to them, including their IP address and information stored in cookies. Users can connect to a site directly, or click a “proxy” link below search results to connect anonymously.
“People are more concerned about online data retention policies than ever before,” said StartPage CEO Robert Beens. “We wanted to offer them a useful tool and this proxy is a logical extension of our services. A search engine is a starting point for people to visit other pages. Now our users can take the privacy they get with Startpage to the next step, and go privately to the sites they have found as well. This proxy completes the total search privacy picture.”
Well, it does and it doesn’t: while StartPage’s proxy service does prevent remote sites from setting browser cookies and recording a user’s IP address (instead, sites see the IP address of StartPage’s proxy service) plug-ins and other technologies can still get to users through the Ixquick proxy. For instance, Adobe’s Flash offers Local Shared Objects that can be used in manners similar to browser cookies; in fact, some online metrics firms, advertisers, and content companies use them as way to profile users and even as backups for browser cookies in the event a user is savvy enough to delete them to protect their privacy. Nonetheless, StartPage’s proxy service does offer users protections that simply aren’t available with any other search service: combined with appropriate client-side technologies (like advertising and flash blockers), users can take significant steps towards maintaining their online privacy.
StartPage says it has been profitable for the last five years, and earns its money through online advertising, just like any other search engine. However, the advertising is presented on the basis of Web site content compared to searches, not on the basis of users’ activity, search history, or compiled online profiles.