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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Now Blog Anonymously

With blogs becoming an increasingly popular vehicle for sharing opinions and information, a Paris-based media watchdog has released an ABC guide of tips for bloggers to sneak past Internet censors in countries from China to Iran. Reporters Without Borders Handbook for Blogger and Cyber-Dissidents is allegedly partly financed by the French government and includes technical advice on how to remain anonymous online. It was launched at the Apple Expo computer show in Paris on Thursday and can also be downloaded from RSF's Web site in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, English and French. With a view to inspiring bloggers, who they think are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure; the 87-page booklet gives advice on setting up and running blogs. It also advises how to use pseudonyms and anonymous proxies, which can be used to replace easily traceable home computer addresses.

The advice reportedly varies depending on the user's level of paranoia - from changing cyber cafes to sending cryptographically signed messages via specially formatted e-mail. The guide explains circumvention technologies that can break through government filters but warns bloggers to check how severe the penalty will be if they are caught using them. Interestingly though, the freely available handbook advises bloggers to be ethical and warns that the tips are not intended for terrorists, racketeers or pedophiles who use the Internet to commit crimes.