Discussion: How do “Normal” people remain anonymous on the internet?


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BlurA recent article by privacy expert @TroyHunt (creator of https://haveibeenpwned.com/) is discussing ways to help “normal” people remain private and anonymous while on the web.

In this post, we’ve taken some of the comments directly from his article, in addition to the comment thread from Hacker News, and addedour comments highlighting – we admit selfishly! – how our solutions address some of these issues.

The theme of a number of the discussions is how to make online privacy practices easy enough for average users (e.g. not super-technical).  This is a key mission of Abine.    

hacker-newsUser comments and our responses: 

One user discusses using “honeywords”. This technique is used to correlate different emails with different online activities (e.g. john.doe+shopping@riseup.net,  john.doe+gaming@riseup.net, john.doe+correspondant@riseup.net).

User craigds writes: “I don’t see the point of using honeywords. I mean, I’ve used them a bit, but any spammer is going to strip them immediately, so they’re useless for identifying which provider leaked your address, right? And now to login, you need to remember the honeyword you used to register, which is a big inconvenience for anyone not using a password manager. (Use a password manager!)”

Our response: Blur doesn’t use “versions of your real email”. Blur uses completely new emails so you can track EXACTLY who is spamming you and selling your email.

masked emails

User Ben Basson writes: “Understanding what data you’ve given to different websites and having proper tooling to manage that data would be useful….It seems like it would be ideal to store these details in-line with your password entries (assuming you craft an identity per-site, which you may as well do if the tooling is good enough).

Our response: This is exactly what Blur does! Blur allows you to choose when and where you share your real information. You can create “Masked” email addresses for each new website that you visit, and pair that along with a secure password that is generated for you (e.g. gM!9nw2>wP). Because Blur is built on a password manager foundation, it will automatically remember these unique email addresses and their respective passwords. And, the next time you visit these websites, Blur will auto-fill this information for you.

User descript writes:  “It is so difficult to balance productivity/convenience and privacy/security.

Only recently did I stop worrying about privacy/security, and frankly my online experience is much better. I can now participate in any services/apps that catch my eye, I now save CC data at some sites, don’t have a VPN/Tor slowing traffic and giving me cloudflare walls/”im not a bot” verification, don’t have noscript/ublock/privacy badger breaking most sites, can sync across devices and backup online.

Having both secure & private online behavior is a massive inconvenience. You basically can’t participate in the online world as it exists. (There are definitely opportunities to create secure/private versions of existing tools)”

Our response: The main focus of Blur is to alleviate the stress and inconvenience that “normal” people face when still trying to remain private and anonymous when browsing online. Blur is 100% customizable based on your personal preferences. For example, where other crude “Ad Blockers” break many websites, you can pick and choose which trackers you want to allow using Blur, keeping it from constantly breaking the webpages that you visit.


User Mikhail Shilkov writes: “Is there a way to protect the identity while doing online shopping for physical goods? I always hate to give away my identity, address, phone etc, but they need to deliver – what can we do about that?”

Our response: Yes, use Blur’s Masked Cards feature. Masked Cards are very similar to virtual credit cards that may already be offered by your bank. Masked Cards allow you to remain anonymous when shopping online, because the online merchant will only ever see the information that you give them in their checkout form. When using a Masked Card, you can use any name that you want, and you use Abine’s address as the billing address. By using Masked Cards, your information will not be at risk to being leaked or sold to the highest bidder.

Masked cards

User pdkl95 writes: “Anonymous transactions happen all the time with cash…If cash isn’t possible, misrepresentation is the only option.”

Our response: Exactly correct! With Blur, combining a Masked Email with a secure password, along with a Masked Card using Abine’s billing address when shopping online, makes it nearly impossible for companies to compile your data and build a profile about you. Blur gives you the power to choose when and where you give out your real personal information. Of course, it is against the low to misrepresent any information to a bank.

[Check out the full article here]

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2 Replies to “Discussion: How do “Normal” people remain anonymous on the internet?”

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the useful article Will.

  2. Donald says:

    This was a helpful article Will. Much thanks.

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