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Fully Anonymous Site Usage

Shovas

Premium
I would like to request the option to only ever present an alias, not a real name, anywhere on the site, even for those logged in, and even for premium members to, aid those people around the world who may risk having aliases more easily traced back to them because of their real name usage on a site like Race Department.

I understand Real Names usage helps in races and is, in fact, needed for credit payments, and the like, but anonymity is becoming increasingly important as free and open democracies forget their values and cancel culture accelerates.

Some people have better reputations for their aliases than they do for their real names anyway.

Some context,

In Ontario, Canada, today, our provincial leader had instituted a police state style emergency action that gave police the power to detain and question anybody without reason - all in the name of covid.

The announcement was actually yesterday and incredibly within 12 hours police forces across the province tweeted out they would NOT enforce random stops.

We got lucky. And our premier reversed course only after a loud day of protest offline and online.

What it shows us is that free and open democracies are having trouble right now knowing what's right. Those brave enough to speak risk backlash, dox'ing, and cancellation.

I think it would be great if we could be one of those sites where privacy is an option.
 

GTR233

Premium
In Europe many politics want the end of anonymity on internet and especially in ALL social medias to pursue anybody who attacks other people freely behind alias because of different religion or skin color or whatever reason. Indeed, cyberstalking is a plague, especially for teenagers who can even suicide.
I don't know if such a law will arrive soon but I have heard that very often these days.
 

Shovas

Premium
I disagree with You because I'm Balazs Flossmann...or not, who knows? But still this is my RD "real" name.
Anyone can use even Dwayne Johnson as real name... No one will doubt that this is his (maybe her?) real name.
Okay, I wasn't totally sure if that premium members name change thread actually wiped your real name everywhere.

I'll do that, if so.
 

Ole Marius Myrvold

JWB 96-13
Staff
Premium
Okay, I wasn't totally sure if that premium members name change thread actually wiped your real name everywhere.

I'll do that, if so.

Nicknames are changed everywhere. The "real name" field is not being indexed by google etc.
We do require the real name for racing online, so that's a choice people have to make, but their name will not be registered by search engines etc.

EDIT: Also, I might be wrong here - but as the Premium forum is a "secret" forum, it won't be indexed either. (just like our staff forum isn't). So it would only be other premium members specifically searching for your post(s) in that thread that will see previous nickname(s) for you.
 
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Neilski

Staff
Premium
Nicknames are changed everywhere. The "real name" field is not being indexed by google etc.
We do require the real name for racing online, so that's a choice people have to make, but their name will not be registered by search engines etc.

EDIT: Also, I might be wrong here - but as the Premium forum is a "secret" forum, it won't be indexed either. (just like our staff forum isn't). So it would only be other premium members specifically searching for your post(s) in that thread that will see previous nickname(s) for you.
Spot on, @Ole Marius Myrvold :thumbsup:
 

Frank

RaceDepartment Administrator
Staff
Premium
I would like to request the option to only ever present an alias, not a real name, anywhere on the site, even for those logged in, and even for premium members to, aid those people around the world who may risk having aliases more easily traced back to them because of their real name usage on a site like Race Department.

I understand Real Names usage helps in races and is, in fact, needed for credit payments, and the like, but anonymity is becoming increasingly important as free and open democracies forget their values and cancel culture accelerates.

Some people have better reputations for their aliases than they do for their real names anyway.

Some context,

In Ontario, Canada, today, our provincial leader had instituted a police state style emergency action that gave police the power to detain and question anybody without reason - all in the name of covid.

The announcement was actually yesterday and incredibly within 12 hours police forces across the province tweeted out they would NOT enforce random stops.

We got lucky. And our premier reversed course only after a loud day of protest offline and online.

What it shows us is that free and open democracies are having trouble right now knowing what's right. Those brave enough to speak risk backlash, dox'ing, and cancellation.

I think it would be great if we could be one of those sites where privacy is an option.
I am screened by the Intelligence Services for my job in Cyber Security, RaceDepartment didn't pop up on their list. So I think it's quite fair to say what @Ole Marius Myrvold says is correct :).
 

Shovas

Premium
I'm not worried about intelligence services. They have ways around all of this. I'm concerned about about averages joes, journalists, radicals, etc., who have enough will to connect the dots and then do their damage. Just don't want to make it easy for them. Not even really concerned for myself but I'll take a stand for others. I know people on this site right now who live in sketchy, freedom oppressed countries.
 

Frank

RaceDepartment Administrator
Staff
Premium
I'm not worried about intelligence services. They have ways around all of this. I'm concerned about about averages joes, journalists, radicals, etc., who have enough will to connect the dots and then do their damage. Just don't want to make it easy for them. Not even really concerned for myself but I'll take a stand for others. I know people on this site right now who live in sketchy, freedom oppressed countries.
The average joe, journalist or radical has less power to actually connect the dots than a proper intelligence service.

People who live in freedom oppressed countries are being tracked either way, they will never be online anonymously - not even behind a proper VPN or TOR - as they are tracked by default. Not showing their names won't help them, they will leave their footprint wherever they go no matter what nickname they use.
 

UMC 22

Premium
Not true, people still access Tor from China, and it looks like VPNs can help them get out, too.

If the government-backed agency of an oppressive regime wants to track someone's activity in their country, then they can, and believing otherwise is rather naïve. If someone it truly afraid of being "found out" then they wont be stupid enough to conduct their actions on the internet.
 

Shovas

Premium
If the government-backed agency of an oppressive regime wants to track someone's activity in their country, then they can, and believing otherwise is rather naïve. If someone it truly afraid of being "found out" then they wont be stupid enough to conduct their actions on the internet.
Edward Snowden begs to differ? :)

Unless we all want to end up in 1984 we should do our part, where possible and however small to start, to make a privacy respecting internet possible. We don't all live in wonderful countries.
 

Frank

RaceDepartment Administrator
Staff
Premium
Edward Snowden begs to differ? :)

Unless we all want to end up in 1984 we should do our part, where possible and however small to start, to make a privacy respecting internet possible. We don't all live in wonderful countries.
Thinking you are anonymous when you are behind TOR or VPN is naïve and simply put false. Snowden would disagree with your statement as he only shares confidential information in places where there are no devices around and where he is quite positive no one can get in.

TOR and VPN give a false sense of security, the nodes of which the traffic gets redirected are ALL under surveillance by Cyber Security companies, Intelligence Agencies, State actors and more. A lot of these nodes are confirmed in handling illegal activities, agencies choose to not take them down as they would lose sight of the actors.

Anyone can be tracked no matter the countermeasures you take. If you live in a opressive regime where you are actually able to use VPN and / or TOR it is because they allow you to do so. If they would block everyone from it, it's impossible for them to track illegal activity.
 
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Frank

RaceDepartment Administrator
Staff
Premium
Not true, people still access Tor from China, and it looks like VPNs can help them get out, too.
I hope you realize people from China connected to internet are still connecting from their own ISP to the VPN service. China can very easily exclude ALL VPN access from within their "Great Firewall", they choose not to because of the reasons on the post above. People forget that whatever you do you are always using your own connection to get on TOR, VPN or whatever your poison or combination is. Every route can be traced as long you have the resources and China ,for example, has.
 
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Shovas

Premium
Are you arguing we shouldn't try to improve privacy?

Of course any security and privacy solution will have strengths and weaknesses, that doesn't mean they aren't world's better than what's out there. Consider Proton Mail, Signal, etc.

Even in China, you mustn't think of the Great Firewall like the Great Wall, a physical network of routers encircling China 100%. It's more like every consumer ISP is required to filter according to government rules. I'm sure most pipes out are also firewalled but there are ways out it appears that aren't monitored. Sometimes people proxy first, sometimes some VPNs work, once they're outside of the firewall they can use regular apps.

Not every route can be traced. With VPN or Tor you may know the first IP they connect to (the VPN or Tor node) but if things are properly encrypted, you don't know where they're going after that. All you might know is that they are using VPN or Tor. One leak patched in recent years is DNS, Firefox already offers DNS-over-HTTPS.

It's not just hearsay, either, this is how people live in repressive regimes. They can and do bypass government tracking in this way and, technically speaking, it actually is not possible to know everything about a Tor or VPN connection and what it is doing 100%. You might know of the existence of entry and exit nodes (and that's not even guaranteed) but done right nothing else should be known.

This is life for people in those countries.
 

Frank

RaceDepartment Administrator
Staff
Premium
Are you arguing we shouldn't try to improve privacy?

Of course any security and privacy solution will have strengths and weaknesses, that doesn't mean they aren't world's better than what's out there. Consider Proton Mail, Signal, etc.

Even in China, you mustn't think of the Great Firewall like the Great Wall, a physical network of routers encircling China 100%. It's more like every consumer ISP is required to filter according to government rules. I'm sure most pipes out are also firewalled but there are ways out it appears that aren't monitored. Sometimes people proxy first, sometimes some VPNs work, once they're outside of the firewall they can use regular apps.

Not every route can be traced. With VPN or Tor you may know the first IP they connect to (the VPN or Tor node) but if things are properly encrypted, you don't know where they're going after that. All you might know is that they are using VPN or Tor. One leak patched in recent years is DNS, Firefox already offers DNS-over-HTTPS.

It's not just hearsay, either, this is how people live in repressive regimes. They can and do bypass government tracking in this way and, technically speaking, it actually is not possible to know everything about a Tor or VPN connection and what it is doing 100%. You might know of the existence of entry and exit nodes (and that's not even guaranteed) but done right nothing else should be known.

This is life for people in those countries.
I am not arguing anything, I am just saying that your opinions are naive. You have a lot of trust in these solutions and that’s what makes people vulnerable.
I don’t need a lecture on how it works and to how people live in repressive regimes.
There are many holes in the technical story you are telling, which I would advise you to study before using it in an argument.
 
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Shovas

Premium
I am not arguing anything, I am just saying that your opinions are naive. You have a lot of trust in these solutions and that’s what makes people vulnerable.
I don’t need a lecture on how it works and to how people live in repressive regimes.
There are many holes in the technical story you are telling, which I would advise you to study before using it in an argument.
Respectfully, likewise.

What you're saying, while wise in its skepticism, appears to stem from lack of technical knowledge.

I have much experience in software development and server and network administration so I'm relatively comfortable in what I'm saying.
 
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