So You Think You’re Anonymous Online?

There are a lot of different thoughts and opinions about online anonymity. Is what we do online really private? Can we be held accountable for our actions on the web? Just how much freedom does the government have to access our private internet activities? All are interesting questions, and the answers might shock you.

How Private Are Your Online Interactions?

Not at all, we’re afraid. Everything that you do online is kept, stored and can be accessed by individuals with the right clearance. Now, it’s debatable whether government authorities can access what you do on certain websites. But what is clear is that they’ll have a full list of all your searches. That’s why you’ll often find that internet search histories are presented as evidence in court cases. For instance, a recent court case showed that the defendant had been googling murder before he killed two people.

It is also debatable whether the government actually needs a warrant to look at your internet searches or the history you have online. As we have seen from the NSA leaks, they have a lot of freedom here, and it may not always be for the good of the people they are supposed to protect.

You might think, well I always search anonymously. If you are using private searches, be aware this just means the info isn’t stored on your computer. It doesn’t stop Google recording your usage. To do that, you need to think about the advice offered on sites like With a VPN it is possible to protect your identity online and essentially, cover your tracks.


Are We Held Accountable For Actions Online?

Most definitely. Recently, new laws have been passed to criminalise trolling. Trolling essentially refers to abusing someone online. This might be through the use of images, graphic content or obscene language. If it is deemed to be offensive, it could breach the barriers of fair play online and be viewed officially as a criminal act. This is just one of the reasons why you must be careful about what you say online. If it is deemed to be offensive, you may find police are knocking on your door.

You may also want to keep those social profiles private too. You can find out how to do this on There have been several instances where people have lost their jobs due to something that they said on an online network. If you want to avoid your personal life destroying your career, there are two choices. You can privatise all your accounts. Or, you can avoid saying anything online that you wouldn’t say in a public place. It’s your choice.

Is There Any Such Thing As Online Anonymity?

Not really. Maybe in the past, it existed in some form. But now we all have a digital footprint. There’s a history somewhere of everything that each of us does online. And while there are still ways to protect your privacy, they are becoming more difficult to initiate. It may be time to accept that our online lives are not private at all.

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