Anonymity is not an easy task to accomplish in the digital age. Cell phones, computers, CCTV, and even shopping centers track persons and personal information. The data keeps piling up and people are unsure what channels of communication are safe for private conversations, but the more information that comes out regarding surveillance programs, the more bleak anonymity appears. There are successful technologies in place, such as burner phones, encryption, and proxy networks(TOR), but even these tools are under attack by surveillance programs. The current state of anonymity depends on being off the grid.

What is the current state of anonymity?

Encryption, Burner phones, Burner laptops, and the normal tools from the past- fake credit cards, fake identities, unlisted phone numbers, coded language(primitive encryption). As technology moves toward computer based communication, so will the tools of anonymity. Encryption is leading the way in terms of guaranteed anonymity, but burner phones are equally tied when compared to real world uses of anonymity. If you want to stay anonymous, stay off the internet and don’t use a cell phone.

What type of technology is used to obtain anonymity?

Don’t use technology if you want to obtain anonymity. This is not an easy task for anyone, so the majority of people who need a level of anonymity with their communications use encryption. If you do not intend on using a computer, tablet, or internet connected phone, then a burner phone is used to obtain anonymous communication. Changing one’s appearance and going “off the grid” is another method to obtain anonymity, but there is no technology involved with this method. Both have equal pro’s and con’s, but the ease of technological anonymity is appealing when compared to going off the grid.

Can a Burner Phone be tracked back to it’s owner?

In some cases, yes. However, a properly purchased and used burner phone highly increases the likelihood of maintaining anonymity. There is no foolproof plan for anonymity because we leave traces of ourselves everywhere we go, and that is why companies like offer services specifically aimed at tracking burner phone owners. Breaking the veil of anonymity is a business as much as creating the veil of anonymity is a business.

The future of Anonymous communication is under attack by Congress and Law Enforcement, but this is nothing new. Governments have been attempting to break encryption and coded communications for ages. Currently, burner phones and encryption top the charts for successful anonymous communication. There will be advances on both sides of the spectrum, for example the FBI and CIA have purportedly penetrated the TOR network, rendering proxy networks vulnerable. Only time will tell where the future of private, secure communication ends.