Protect your privacy online

YOURLifeChoices member Alan wants to know how to prevent his online data from falling into the hands of the Government.

Q. Dear YLC,

I have become increasingly concerned by the reports in the newspapers of Government agencies around the world requesting and tracking our every move online. While I certainly have nothing to hide, I understand there are programs which I can download for free to make it hard for my online history to be tracked. Are you able to suggest one?

A. Hi Alan,

I read the newspaper every day, mainly for all the technology based articles, and have also noticed a steady increase in the number of articles reporting Government agencies around the world requesting individuals’ data from companies such as Yahoo. I don’t think anyone would judge you for wanting to protect yourself from having your internet usage profiled and data mined, so I have suggested a few programs below which are free to use and will get the job done.

You should start by downloading and installing Google’s free internet browser program Google Chrome. This program should become your day-to-day browser and whenever you browse, you should use the incognito feature (hold down CTRL + SHIFT + N) which doesn’t store the history of any websites you visit or leave any tracking cookies on your computer for future visits to those websites.

Now that we have you set up to protect your privacy at the computer level, the next step is to download a program to route your data so it is incredibly hard to track.

Tor is a software program originally developed to protect government communications. Today it is used by a wide variety of people from the military to law enforcement officers, and office workers to journalists to add an additional level of security on the internet.

So what does it actually do? Tor is a network of virtual tunnels, which change each time you complete an action, such as loading a new internet page. This means that any website you visit will be given incorrect information about who you are and where you are from.

Tor is a free program and can be downloaded from

How do you remain anonymous online? Do you use a program which could be helpful for Alan?

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).