Real-Life Examples of Why Privacy on the Internet is Essential

An image of hand writing 'online privacy' with black marker on transparent wipe board.
An image of hand writing 'online privacy' with black marker on transparent wipe board.

It is not a wrong thing to prefer to remain anonymous online.

In discussions about our digital lives, some people question the need for strict privacy around one’s internet activity. “If you’re not doing anything wrong“, they’ll say, “Why does it need to be private?”

There are plenty of responses to this question: “right” and “wrong” are not always clear-cut, they can be redefined depending on who’s looking, and even some “right” things are just plain nobody else’s business. But instead of abstract arguments, real-life situations make the point much more clearly.

Legal Differences

One example comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, regarding the seizure of domain names by the government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This was part of a state initiative to fight online gambling, which is illegal in Kentucky. However, online gambling is not illegal everywhere. The defence for the domain owners made the case that these domain names are not property located in Kentucky, which means the state has no jurisdiction over them, even though gambling is illegal in that state.

This example illustrates how “right” and “wrong” can be very fuzzy in some cases. No matter what your personal opinion about gambling, it’s simply true that it is legal in some places and illegal in others. If a website offers a service which is legal in some jurisdictions, should the domain name be subject to legal action from a jurisdiction where that service is illegal?

Activists and Whistleblowers

If anyone needs the protection of anonymous communication, it’s whistleblowers and other activists. From human rights activists to corporate whistleblowers, these individuals and groups take on powerful organizations which often have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. With a fraction of the resources of those larger organizations, activists may rely on privacy and anonymity while they pursue their work, especially when gathering information. This gives a degree of power back to the activists, who can control when and where they will reveal their information publicly.

Trying to Do the Right Thing

Privacy isn’t only valuable to people taking on the big global issues, nor is the need for online privacy a new story. Both these points are demonstrated by the example, from all the way back in 2005, of a librarian who thought poetry contests should be more fair, and was ousted by his domain registrar.

Any person who takes a strong stand on something risks pushback. Even when there are no legal considerations, social pressure can be a strong deterrent against doing the right thing. True privacy can give people the ability to say what they want and minimize the risk of social as well as legal consequences.

Privacy on the internet is extremely important, and we take it extremely seriously. If you need anonymous web hosting or domain registration, please contact us.

Secure Offshore Hosting: A Whistleblower’s Best Friend

An image of a whistleblower's quote.
An image of a whistleblower's quote.

Whistleblowers are the only people who tell us about what is happening behind the closed doors.

Whether it is the pharmaceutical industry in the news for mislabelling a new drug or a fresh government scandal, it is clear that whistleblowers are sometime the only people who tell us about what is really going on behind the doors of power and money.

One example is Tyrone Hayes, a biologist who was hired by a large agribusiness to study one of its herbicides, atrazine. When Hayes’ research found that the chemical caused deformations in animals exposed to it, he was attacked by industry insiders and his work was smeared both within the scientific community and online:

According to company e-mails… its public-relations team compiled a database of more than a hundred “supportive third party stakeholders”, including twenty-five professors, who could defend atrazine or act as “spokespeople on Hayes”. The P.R. team suggested that the company “purchase ‘Tyrone Hayes’ as a search word on the internet, so that any time someone searches for Tyrone’s material, the first thing they see is our material”. – The New Yorker

What’s more, the Environmental Protection Agency based their conclusion that the chemical was safe largely on a group of studies done by the corporation that makes it.

Whistleblowers like Hayes are a fundamental litmus test of our freedom of speech. Usually, dirty corporate and government tactics remain hidden until someone on the inside breaks the silence. If the news is any indication, the protections that ought to be in place for those individuals are not entirely effective. Many people who expose government incompetence or corporate cover-ups are attacked and scrutinized, both through their connections online and in their private lives. A lot of web hosting services in the United States and parts of Europe that have attempted to set up secure spaces for these whistleblowers have had to face their own seemingly insurmountable legal troubles.

One this is certain: corporations and governments will spare no expense to ensure that once information leaks from within the halls of the organization, it is quickly and quietly suppressed.

But there’s a way to fight back!

OrangeWebsite is a whistleblower’s best friend and an offshore hosting service dedicated to the principles of free speech. With our secure servers located in Iceland, outside of the jurisdiction of both the U.S. and the E.U., we’re able to allow you a conduit to the outside world without jeopardizing your identity or disclosing your vital information. Whether it’s a place to hold documents or publish vital data, we’ll never expose you to outside risk.

We take the integrity of our customers’ information very seriously. That’s why we incorporate policies such as two-factor authentication and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection. Your information is not our business and we will only keep the minimum we need to administer your services, which makes us pretty unique among web hosting companies.

If you would like to hear more about ways in which an offshore server can give you the unparalleled benefits of free speech, contact us today for a consultation regarding your needs. Get some peace of mind knowing what you had published to the web will not be turned over by your hosting service at the drop of a hat.