Maintaining privacy when browsing the Internet is a very important factor. It is essential to avoid problems that could put our personal data at risk and even affect security. However, this is not always possible and we present more information than we would like on many occasions. In this article, we are going to explain what data anonymization consists of and why it is a useful option for online privacy.
What is data anonymization
The word anonymization inevitably leads us to think of anonymity. It basically consists of that, in hiding or modifying certain real information so that it is not available to third parties. This can be done simply by not displaying certain data or even if it is modified in such a way that it cannot identify a user.
Our personal data has a great value in the network and that means that there are many methods by which they can collect certain information simply by entering a website, registering on a page or using any program. For example, when registering on a platform we can give our personal data such as names, ID, email, telephone number …
Therefore, the anonymization of data is precisely to prevent all that from being visible. But that anonymization or way of making a user anonymous can be higher or lower. For example, it could happen that all this data is hidden or modified, but it could also happen that basic data such as the name and nothing else are simply available.
This will eliminate the chances that a person can be identified as a specific individual. If we go back to the example that we have registered on a web page and they want to use data for statistical purposes, they would not really see who the person behind that user is and they would only see one more individual, anonymously, without the ID showing. , phone number, etc.
In other words, with anonymization, these data are no longer considered personal. They will be altered or hidden in such a way that they could never serve to identify someone and would only act as one more number. For example, X number of users who have registered on a platform and who are between 20 and 30 years old. They will be able to analyze the number, the figure, but not know the name and surname of each person.
Why anonymizing data is sometimes useful
So is data anonymization really useful? The truth is something that is interesting for both private users and companies that need to deal with user data. This will avoid certain problems and will bring important improvements on certain occasions.
Protect individual privacy
The first and most obvious thing is that data anonymization will help protect privacy on an individual level. At the end of the day we are hiding data such as our ID, telephone number, email … Even our personal name, on certain occasions.
This will prevent all that information from ending up in the wrong hands and being used for malicious purposes, such as including us in Spam campaigns, Phishing attacks to steal passwords, etc. Privacy will be protected at all times.
Have a lot of information
On the other hand, this will also help companies to have a large amount of data to analyze. Due to data protection law, in many cases it is not feasible to obtain personalized statistical information. However, this is solved with data anonymization.
For example, a web page will be able to offer statistical data on the age of its visitors, their origin, etc. All this without the need to really know the name and surname of each user, as well as data related to the address, telephone number or ID.
Can a user gain anonymity on the network?
After explaining what data anonymization consists of and why it is useful, we will explain how we can gain anonymity at the user level when browsing the network. This will prevent our personal information from being exposed and thus be more protected.
But what can we do to gain that anonymity? We are going to give some interesting tips that we can easily put into practice. The objective is to be able to navigate without having to give real personal information or that our data could be exposed.
Use a VPN when browsing
A very useful option to gain anonymity when surfing the net is to use a VPN . This type of program allows us to connect to the Internet and hide the IP address, as well as the real location. It is very interesting to access certain sites that may be geographically restricted or simply improve privacy when browsing.
There are many alternatives, but we recommend avoiding VPNs that are free, as they do not always maintain privacy and can sometimes even be dangerous. Some examples of interesting programs that we can use are ExpressVPN, NordVPN or ProtonVPN.
Create a throwaway email
This is yet another alternative to being anonymous on the Internet and avoiding exposing our personal data. If, for example, we are going to register on a web page that we do not fully trust or simply want to prevent them from sending us advertising, we can create a disposable e-mail.
This type of email allows you to send and receive emails, but without exposing your personal address. They also have a specific expiration date and sometimes we can even configure it. For example we can make an address expire after 24 hours, a week, an hour …
There is nothing easier to be anonymous on the Internet than using pseudonyms . Let’s say we are going to register on a page or forum to ask a question or to learn something. Do we really want our real name, postal address, or even email to be leaked?
In this case, what we can do is use a pseudonym, in addition to joining it to the advice of using a disposable e-mail or an address that we create only for this type of records and thus avoid putting the real one.
In short, data anonymity on the Internet is an interesting option to avoid certain problems. We have also given some advice on how to be anonymous online and thus prevent personal data from being leaked.