In this chapter, we’ll look at a few classes of programs that you can use to safeguard your privacy while using the Web. Collectively, these technologies are frequently referred to as privacy-protecting technologies.
For each major section in this chapter, we have attempted to introduce the broad program category (blocking ads, crushing cookies, anonymous browsing, and secure email), give a few examples of programs in the category, and then finally show one or two of these programs in action. Because the Internet is a fast-changing place, it’s quite possible that some or all of the programs discussed here will no longer be available by the time this book appears in print. It’s also possible that new programs will be introduced that are not mentioned here. That’s why you should use this chapter as a survey of the kinds of tools that are available for enhancing web privacy, rather than as an actual buyer’s guide.
If you are interested in protecting your privacy from web advertisers—or if you simply want to see fewer advertisements when you browse the Internet—then you will find yourself in something of a quandary. That’s because the companies that are developing web browsers—Microsoft, Netscape, and Opera Software—have all developed business units that make money by showing advertisements to consumers. Browsers have become programs for delivering ads (see Figure 10-1).
Figure 10-1. On today’s Internet, ...