L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

09 April 2009 Blog Home : April 2009 : Permalink

A Little Sand in the Database Engine

The British government, bless their hearts, have decided to insist that all UK ISPs will track and store data about where their subscribers have surfed. The idea seems to be to that this is the first step in the creation of a monitoring system to rival the great firewall of China (and it seems like they are busily 'blaming' Brussels as a way to divert attention).

Anyway the current solution is apparently rather simpler just tracking IP addresses of where you go, which means that the mischevious may wish to add a little grit to the records being ground into criminal innuendo. One obvious way to do this is to follow the advice of Raedwald and use Tor to access the internet, this makes it hard for the Government to work out who you're doing to what or vice versa. You can download a Tor plugin for Firefox which seems like a really nice idea and if you've got a reasonable amount of bandwidth and (ideally) a home server you might want to help Tor out by becoming a relay yourself.

Another way to fight the system is to add a lot of junk. The way to do this is for lots of people to appear to visit random sites that may or may not be under suspicion. The pervious link includes a python script that will do the trick but, unfortunately, many people don't have python. On the other hand they usually do have web browsers and web browsers can be told to go and apparently visit all sorts of places. Hence I have come up with a webpage that visits random places on the web and downloads the favicon. I call it the idle visitor page. What you do is simply open a browser window from a browser that doesn't use Tor navigate to the page and leave it sitting in the background - minimized if you wish - all the time. People who run Microsoft Windows and sensibly use Firefox/Tor for their secure browsing could use Internet Exploder to load the idle visitor page. By the way you are strongly invited to save the page, link to it, copy it, modify it, improve it and, of course, tell everyone you know about it too.

PS I've put a sitecounter at the bottom to scratch an itch about how popular it is, if you make a copy don't feel obliged to leave that in, and note that the sitecounter is counting more than just this one page.