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How can I host an anonymous Wordpress blog, and not get unmasked?
July 1, 2008 11:38 AM   Subscribe

How can I set up and host an anonymous Wordpress blog? I want to write about stuff, and I don't want other people to know who I am. How hard is this?

I have read the EFF guide to anonymous blogging, I've got tor, Portable Firefox, and all that stuff... what I am concerned about is the actual domain registration and hosting.

The blog has the potential to get some real traffic, and to have some fairly determined people trying to figure out who I am. Or maybe I am just deluding myself, but I want to be very careful regardless. I'm not going to be doing anything illegal, so I don't need to be subpoena-proof, just amateur-sleuth-proof.

Do you trust regular wordpress hosts, or do you think I should go to some shady offshore host that won't ask me for any identifying details?

Do you think is there anything else I'm forgetting?

Email me at anonymousblog-askmefi@gmail.com if you want... thanks very much!!
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 


THe EFF has a pretty good page on this.
posted by pete0r at 12:03 PM on July 1, 2008


You've asked some intriguing questions.
I've thought about this for a bit, and what keeps coming to mind is the way we first get our identity on the internet. Name fields, email addresses, facebook pages, so much is disposable and holds no bearing on verifiable identity.
There are three basic conduits through which someone could identify who is creating a blog.

1)Creation of the blog. The IP address, and information used to sign up for hosting of a blog
- easily masked due to the nature of proxy services etc.

2) The email address used to activate the account and interract with the blog, blog hosts, and the readers of the blog
- back in 1995, anonymous smtp relays were open all over the place, and things were easlier. in today's antipam world, a coherently functional email host is required for email to come and go with any certainty. You'll obviously want to use a free email host. Use your proxy service to connect to and sign up for an email address. If possible, I would use a service hosted in a country well outside the jurisdiction of any government that might want to milk the email host for access and records etc. Ie *.ru


3)Any method of payments.
- this is the trickiest one. If anything is safe-guarded with proof of identity, this is it. I don't know of a way of paying for something online without risking exposure of your identity. Any organization willing to issue a temporary credit card will be obligated to divulge your personal information to prettymuch anybody, under anti-fraud laws. I would think that in no way would you want to deal with anybody that requires payment at any time. It might mean that you'll have to give up some preferred blogging features, but the point of such a blog is information, not bells and whistles.

some tips
- I would not post directly to the blog. I would set it up at a free host, using a proxy service etc. From there, I would set the blog to be able to post from incoming email ie: random.word.yourblog@bloghost.com. I would use my difficult to track email account to submit my posts.

-I would back up every post to the blog, and have a backup account at another blog host ready to receive each post, so you have a quick way to switch to a new host if your main one suddenly is suspended.


Just some food for thought :-) good luck.
posted by upc_head at 12:08 PM on July 1, 2008


The original request of "[not] subpoena-proof, just amateur-sleuth-proof" seems to set a much lower bar.

Google / Blogger, etc. will readily give up IP addresses in their (brief) logs to law enforcement requests or validly issued subpoenas. Keeping your "true" IP address away from them is complicated but if you don't need that level of security then things become a lot simpler.

So if you just care about amateur sleuths, I think it's usually a matter of concealing your IP address and other personally identifiable information (ie, watching what you say). Receiving reader-submitted email that automatically loads inline images could allow someone to narrow down your IP address (if you don't use a proxy server, etc. etc.) Less sinisterly, I recall that anonymous bloggers sometimes find their IP addresses exposed by access logs (ie, what IP address is hitting the admin-only pages on the blog)? But if you're correctly using TOR to access to the host that is probably enough to mask you from most eyes that don't have access to legal process (or the big stick of law enforcement).
posted by QuantumMeruit at 1:11 PM on July 1, 2008


Remember, if you do a bunch of writing elsewhere, studies have shown that it's not impossibly difficult to determine an Anonymous writer based on comparing writing styles. There've been past posts on metafilter about it, can't find them right now though.
posted by inigo2 at 1:41 PM on July 1, 2008


Yes to inigo2. It might be useful to try role-playing a little bit as you write. E.g., don't write as the jaded tech support guy you really are, but as the gung-ho IT manager. Same content but different voice.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:32 PM on July 1, 2008


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