Open Anonymity
How it works
Diploma Thesis
Thesis: Open Anonymity - Anonymity in indicated data networks

This project was part of a diploma thesis done at the university of applied sciences Hagenberg/Austria. The thesis copes with anonymity on the internet, the technical part is called OpenAnonymity. OpenAnonymity consists of a module for apache 2.0 Webserver and a framework that enables you to control search engine spider indexing on a word level, contrary to on file level as in Robots exclusion. OpenAnonymity could force Spiders to follow this rules by let the requester first pass a turing test done with captchas.

What is the Problem with personal data and search engines:
Nowadays the power of search engines is rapidly growing. Try to ego-surf in Google and you will find a lot of information related to your person, sometimes expected, sometimes not. In my case I could find my name, my address, a picture of mine, my C.V., lots of postings in newsgroups, currently and formerly used email addresses up to the private telephone number. Surprisingly, it is independent from which data you start. Insert the telephone number in Google and you will find all of the other data - even though my number is private and not in a public telephone register. So one could say he's no terrorist, he has nothing to hide - a purely blind argument! There are a lot of efforts to prevent online-shops and advertisement sites from data-mining and many laws talking about data economy. But there is no need for collecting all data directly at the shop-page when you simply can search for it in Google! Make a customer profile, combine it with other sites' data and with all the info you find on the world-wide internet -- a customer made of glass! And worth a lot of money!

So the goal of this thesis is to make clear the endangerments, to inform interested people what it means to be indexed in any search engine, publicly accessible or not. The thesis will show the current status of data protection discussions related to internet. It will cope with legal issues, especially with retrieval and storage of personal data and will cover technical prospects to allow anonymous actions on the net.
Furthermore, one of the main goals of this thesis is to find a method to prevent search engines from indicating data you want to anonymize, mainly your name, pseudonym, email-address, street-address, telephone number or any other signature, without hiding all the other useful information you want to publish to the web-community. To put it bluntly, its not about doubting the usefulness of a search-engine!
The technical goal is to implement an apache module that filters sensitive data of static or dynamic HTML-pages and to find a method to mark this sensitive data. When a search engine spider requests a page it gets only the harmless content. A human can not see any changes and can access the pages as before. This technical part of the thesis, the technical implementation, is called Open Anonymity

Mathias Kimpl
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