Proxy Servers

In reaction to the Trump Administration selling us all out to the big telcos, I am dedicating this blog post to proxy services, which we should all start using.

A proxy server is a computer (in the cloud) that redirects your Internet browsing and other traffic away from your ISP to a specialized service that can do a lot of things for you.

Here is how you configure Chrome to proxy your traffic to something other than your ISP.

Here is how you configure OSX to proxy your traffic.

And you will need to select a proxy service. There are plenty of free ones out there. But you get what you pay for. If you want to have a proxy that is reliable and won’t sell your data, you should consider paying for a proxy service.

Here is a good roundup of some popular proxy services.

I am sure that many AVC regulars are using one or more proxy services and I encourage all of you to share with us your favorites.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Hmm. Good interim solution.Can’t wait for the truly decentralized Web to start happening, where data/content is all over the Internet in distributed nodes, that are connected peer-to-peer and run across thousands of computers. Then, the vision of a free and equitable access to all will be achieved, with higher degrees of freedom and censorship-free content.

    1. Greg Kieser

      I like the vision and would love to help it come to fruition. So, which are the top initiatives that can make this happen? Ethereum, Golem, Storj, Uport, others?

      1. ZekeV

        I would suggest focusing on IPFS, ZeroNet, Tahoe-LAFS, and similar P2P efforts. Trust is easily solved in git-like manner, no need for application-specific tokens to “monetize” or provide incentives for general web publishing purposes. The on-chain computers are cool but not what we need for, e.g., publishing media to the web, IMHO. There is still the question of how to authenticate users on the web, while also giving them control over data portability. ie, how can you provide a universal login without giving the provider control over that user’s data? There we have a variety of pieces from sandstorm to urbit. So in other words, there are dozens of promising technical efforts underway, and I suspect we’ll see a cambrian explosion in this ecosystem, no single winner. It will get very complicated.

        1. Twain Twain

          What the Holochains team have in mind is interesting:*…The semantic tree structure is not (yet) ideal for AI in terms of getting to Natural Language Understanding.

    2. awaldstein

      nice.this is the first time i remember you referring to decentralization as a feature not a benefit. which of course it major interest in attending your one day event in ny is just that, to listen and see if i’m hearing a vision of usage and behavior that the tech serves or what I usually hear from this segment.

      1. William Mougayar

        It’s an enabling feature. Has both technical and organizational components. Users will see the benefits when apps and processes are deployed.

        1. awaldstein

          so–the vision is the democratization of information?”the vision of a free and equitable access to all will be achieved, with higher degrees of freedom and censorship-free content.lofty.

          1. William Mougayar


    3. kenberger

      I know you realize that this is exactly how the WWW was originally described to be intended to work. But in short order it became much more of a hubs and spokes model, for a bunch of economics and political reasons, which worked out better/more practical in some ways.And tons of steps back in that direction became in vogue in the late 90’s and ’00s, such as Gnutella, maybe you could even mention and SETI. But so far none have stuck in terms of actual widespread web use. File sharing is a diff story.

      1. William Mougayar


    4. ZekeV

      There are so many cool projects for decentralized web, it is hard to predict how it will all develop and interact.

      1. William Mougayar

        It’s a matter of time but the vision is clear.

    5. cavepainting

      But will this make the ISP redundant? These nodes still need to get connected to the backbone…Until the last mile is fully open and anyone can get connected to the internet without needing an intermediary, the ISP problem will not go away. And the SLAs will have to be as good as they are now, without a middleman taking care of it.

      1. William Mougayar

        Maybe their role diminishes and they become less user facing.

  2. Ali

    This is a very tricky business. The problem is if you get a false sense of privacy by using a proxy server. Even a dedicated VPN is not trivial to use correctly so that ALL of your traffic goes through. IMHO not using your ISPs default DNS maybe the easiest and most cost effective way to gain some level of privacy. You can use Google’s or level one’s or use your own.

    1. Bart Burggraaf

      they can still inspect packets right? Also, if it’s not the ISPs, several three letter agencies tap all internet traffic. And especially if you start doing stuff to try to gain privacy, you will be looked at. In my opinion the best way to keep privacy for now (while people work on improving the situation) is to hide in plain sight.

      1. LE

        they can still inspect packets right?For example someone could see what packets are going to; or whatever as well.To the parent comment’s point ‘not trivial to use’ correctly.

    2. scottythebody

      Sure, just give Google ALL of your data 😉

  3. Bart Burggraaf

    I don’t understand why everyone is so worked up about this. Platforms like FB or Google search have been selling your data for ages. So when an internet provider sells data, they would do this a. in bulk and b. anonymized.As far as I know, there is and will be no way to buy the browsing data of a particular person, nor will anonymized complete browser data for any one person be available.The type of data that will be sold will mostly be divided into segments. So lets say I manufacture basketball shoes and know my audience is into basketball, I would buy a package of basketball interest people and target them with ads.There are many other applications, and I understand those in the know would have their reservations regarding privacy, but as far as I am aware, it is clearly NOT about someone seeing which sites YOU specifically browse.

    1. kenberger

      They can, in many typical ISP setup cases, easily figure out exactly what sites you are browsing and know at least which household is doing the browsing.However, in recent times, at least the particular pages within a site that you visited are tougher to track, since many of the top websites have finally implemented using HTTPS, including the following notable one:

      1. Bart Burggraaf

        Ok but you are talking about what ISPs can see, but thats a different data set from what they would sell… and that also is the case whether or not they sell data.

        1. kenberger

          If you’re comfortable with that notion (and maybe it’s even true), great. I’m not.Your point here– and I do respect it and appreciate it, thank you for bringing it up– reminds me a bit of the argument “If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t need to worry about [X,Y,Z] seeing your info”. And I agree with the many arguments easily findable on the web that this turns out to be a very dangerous belief.

          1. Bart Burggraaf

            That wasn’t my point at all. I am also uncomfortable with all of this. My point is A. it is not as bad as people make it out to be, nothing is served by hysteria and B. this has been going on for years and you are not losing (much) extra privacy by ISPs selling your data.

          2. kenberger

            I continue to respect and appreciate your argument.

          3. Bart Burggraaf

            I continue to respect and appreciate your respect and appreciation.

          4. LE

            reminds me a bit of the argument “If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t need to worry about [X,Y,Z] seeing your info”I wonder if those same people would consent to talk to the police w/o an attorney present.And before Eric Schmidt there was Scott Mcneally with his ‘You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.’

      2. Jeff J

        Agreed. Google actually partially led this charge by demanding that websites use HTTPS for all connections. Your ISP can see you went to a specific site, but they can’t tell what you did there as the connection is encrypted.

        1. kenberger

          wow, i didn’t know that re Google.

    2. kidmercury

      the NSA is already monitoring everything, so i find it tragically humorous that people shrug in indifference to that but get so worked up about this. but with regards to the difference between apps doing it and ISPs doing it, the standard argument is that ISPs have a monopoly of sorts so the rules should be different for them. though i don’t know how that argument can hold true in the world of mobile apps, where the flow is controlled by apple and google — arguably that world is less free than the ISP world.

      1. Bart Burggraaf

        That’s exactly my point. It’s like people are screaming about a fly on their nose when their pants are on fire (that feels like it should be a saying). The whole system needs to be reworked if you want true internet privacy.

      2. Erwin

        “mobile apps, where the flow is controlled by apple and google”No, not correct. When a mobile app requests data over the internet, that flow is controlled by the ISP.ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. It is the company that provides Internet Service, which is the service that allows your device to connect to the internet.Absolutely every bit of data your device sends and receives is carried by the ISP.Of course the operating system running on the device, which is controlled by Apple or Google, processes that data on behalf of the apps. But that is an entirely separate mechanism and system than the subject of this thread. Here we’re talking about the company that has access to all the bits your device sends and receives.

        1. Bart Burggraaf

          Google and Apple hypothetically have access to every bit your device sends and receives by virtue of their operating system.

        2. kidmercury

          sure, your semantics are correct and mine were not, though my point was that if one wishes to use mobile apps, their choices for accessing apps are very limited — in fact even more limited than their choices for accessing web apps. and google and apple have access to all this data. society seems to have accepted that as the way it is, but for some reason objects to ISP behavior, when the end result is the same.

      3. ShanaC

        not really, and not well, and don’t ask how I know that

    3. Jaco Pretorius

      Do you really not understand it? Or are you being facetious?Yes, Google and Facebook and Apple have your data and can sell it. But you can also just not use those services. There are alternatives. If all our ISPs are selling our data we don’t have alternatives.That’s one part. The second is that legislators sold out their constituents. You would be hard-pressed to find 10% of constituents who agreed with the law, but congress just went ahead and passed it anyways and the president signed it into law. It’s the whole premise of democracy – elected officials are representing their constituents, but instead they ignored their constituents and tried to line their own pockets at the same time.Do you *really* not understand it?

      1. Bart Burggraaf

        Google, FB and Apple – would you say its an overstatement to say that it would be hard for a normal person to avoid getting tracked by those companies in some way? And surely there are/will be ISPs that don’t sell data.As for the second part, people really do not understand what it is they are against. Its a difficult argument to make because obviously we should be all for democratic decision making and everyone should be doing a better job communicating.Anyway, I just want to point out I am not Pro ‘ISP selling Data’, I’m just saying that considering the scope of everything else tracking you it’s perhaps cherry picking to be outraged about the ISPs selling data in some form, and that people should be outraged about it all if they value their privacy.

        1. Jaco Pretorius

          It’s not an overstatement, no. There are alternatives. Instead of using Google you can use DuckDuckGo, StartPage, Privatelee, etc. And you can always choose what you want to share on social media sites – with an ISP you don’t have a choice.Dealing with the here-and-now: there are no ISPs which are pro-privacy (that I know of). They all spend millions of dollars campaigning for this bill to pass – let’s not be naive.

          1. Bart Burggraaf

            Let’s hope the free market provides. And using the services you mentioned instead is not reasonable for a ‘normal’ person, neither will it help much on the whole since there are so many other companies tracking things.

          2. Conrad Leonard

            > “Let’s hope the free market provides”Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Like the free market provides you in the US with fast affordable broadband.Yep

          3. Jeff J

            Actually Sonic Net (a California based ISP) has made a pledge to not sell or otherwise monetize it’s users data. But very few ethically run ISPs like Sonic exist. In NYC I currently have exactly 1 option for ISP.Also prior to October of last year the ISPs already had the right to and did sell our data. Verizon Wireless gave each unique user an unique identifier and could specifically sell discrete user data. Pandora’s box was wide open and closed for a few months. This legislation has taken us back to the world we lived in 7 months ago.The real issue is that most of us live locked into monopolistic control of our access to the Internet, a service that we pay for at least twice (home and mobile). These unethical monopolies simply want new revenue sources from existing clients

    4. ZekeV

      The distinction is that the ISP sits in front of EVERYTHING you do. One can choose not to use Google, FB, or any other specific service. It is very difficult to avoid using your ISP. This point is occasionally driven home to me when my ISP, Cablevision, actually delivers ads or surveys to interrupt my browsing session. If my ISP can return a survey instead of the website I was looking for, what ELSE can they do? Theoretically, they could insert arbitrary data into any file I’m trying to download, and I’d never be the wiser unless I use a checksum.

      1. Bart Burggraaf

        It’s hard to not be tracked at all. Almost impossible in fact, and you would give up much comfort for doing so. ISPs should be neutral and havens of privacy, I agree, let’s hope someone sees all this outrage and starts an honest company.

        1. Bart Burggraaf

          or perhaps the government can step in (lol!)

          1. ZekeV

            Yes, well you know, socialism is looking better and better by the day. These companies are practically begging to be nationalized.

          2. Twain Twain

            You want Trump’s government to have even more control over AT&T and Verizon?

        2. ZekeV

          I lived in Potsdam NY in the late 90s. We had a local telecom that got into the ISP game, and is still going today. Now I live in suburbia, north of NYC, and have been searching for a similar local or regional option. Nothing — just Verizon, or Optimum Online. It seems quite strange that there is such a data desert in the NYC area.

    5. Erwin

      It seems naive to make assertions about what a for-profit company will or will not sell. If the ISP has personally identifiable browsing history, someone is willing to pay for that, and there are no rules against it, why wouldn’t they seek to maximize their revenue?Ethics? Right. Even if 100% of current ISP leadership would never sell individual data, what about their replacements? Competition and self-interest means all profit channels will eventually be maximized.Capability? What is not being done today is no barrier for what can be built tomorrow. ISPs have the data, the rest is just packaging, delivery, and billing.Publicity/public opinion? There is no requirement that any company publicly post the entire breadth of their services. While an ISP may have an online price list for bulk/anonymized data, their premium, high-margin, lucrative, individually targeted, custom, browsing history report subscriptions could very well remain by-invitation-only for quite a while. That is, until the public grows to accept the concept, then sure, those services might be marketed more broadly.Arguments that rely on what is publicly being done today (retrained by current culture and policy) are simply not relevant to what this rule change allows in the future.

      1. Bart Burggraaf

        If they would do that they would be breaking the law in many countries Erwin (not 100% sure about the US – perhaps you know?). So while I agree with your sentiment, to not do something because it might be abused by criminal elements (who happen to be corporations with a not great track record) means a lot of things are off limits. Like bitcoin or the dark web to name the exact (?) opposite.

    6. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I don’t think anyone has replied yet about another important difference btw my ISP and a service like FB: I already *pay* my ISP for their product.FB and Google are free, and I as a consumer understand that they do have to pay the bills somehow.Having an ISP is almost non-optional these days. It’s virtually a utility. I don’t want the gas company selling my information. I don’t want my ISP selling my information.

      1. Bart Burggraaf

        Sure, good point and when possible you should certainly let your wallet speak and join a ISP that gets it (in absence of legislation). The original reason why I wrote this is because many of the headlines/people on social media take it as ‘someone is going to know what sites I visit’.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Mmmmm and what ISP would that be for most of us that only have one choice?

      2. LE

        FB and Google are free, and I as a consumer understand that they do have to pay the bills somehow.Yes it’s true what you are saying. But by the same token in theory if your ISP makes money other ways and doesn’t have a monopoly they can then offer you a product at a lower cost. I am not saying they would do this at least not typically but economics and pricing wise it can and does happen in other industries.Want an example in reverse? All of those fees airlines charge that they never charged before. As a result of years of competition and losing money that forced them to push the balloon in to find other revenue sources and charge for things they never did before back in the day. Food. Bags. Seat preference. Boarding (@philsugar what am I missing?)I’ve done this in a few businesses. Started to charge for things that I never did back when the business started because the competitive landscape was different.So my point is charging and making an adequate profit are not the same thing. If my ISP selling data allows them to make more money it could keep my bill at a more reasonable level.Think I am kidding?Well Comcast just jacked the office internet access up $50 per month a few months ago. When I called them they said ‘you were on a contract that actually expired in 2011 and had a promotional rate and the promotional rate expired’. This is comcast. That isn’t what happened. They are a well oiled machine. What happened is they needed to make their numbers (because of cord cutting) and decided to figure out ways ‘push the balloon’ to get more revenue from thin air. In the end I got them to lower it a nice number but I had to sign a contract again. They also tried for a long period and caved on that as well. I don’t begrudge them for trying though. Not at all. And I am getting subsidized by people who don’t put up a fight which is great for me. [1][1] Why I like how car dealers operate as I have said in the past.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I fly so much I don’t pay any fees, so I don’t know. Changing tickets, extra bags, heavy bags, changing flights, paying to redeem miles, are some I think apply, but not to me.I think the issue though as I’ve said is you really don’t have much of a choice on ISP’s. That is why they should be regulated. I have a choice of one at home and two at work.I can say screw off to most other things but an ISP has become like electricity. I know everyone would like to charge for how you use but they gave up that right because they were given the right to wire lines on public access, no different than my electric company.Kid says below that NSA has Huuuuge monitoring rights. He is right. If I were going after something and I was Trump and wanted to make a bombastic statement I would do that.

      3. Richard

        Note: Google did not support the original FTC order.

      4. PhilipSugar

        ISP’s are utilities.They gained right of way access for their lines or airways over public property.I think the proper analogy is I don’t want the electric or water company knowing what I am using their utility for, or charging me more or slowing me down based on what I am using their service for.Bits, watts, or gallons. I pay and use how I want. Now I don’t have a problem if you charge me how much I use,but again since you use public right of way you get regulated on that.

    7. fredwilson

      i pay my ISP for service. i don’t pay Google.

      1. LE

        I don’t think that distinction matters as much as you think that it does. The fact that a product is free doesn’t mean all rights are lost and the fact that it costs ‘something’ doesn’t mean that all opportunities to profit are lost.

      2. Bart Burggraaf

        If you are a believer in the free market, that also means a company will step in and target this privacy concerned niche to get a bunch of customers. What’s more, all data is already available in some form or another, all this legislation does is make it possible for ISPs to compete in this regard.

      3. Ciaran

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but to highlight that it’s not necessarily the strongest point, you presumably pay for your groceries as well. But if you buy them from a supermarket (at least in the UK or Australia, not so sure on US), they are likely selling your data (aggregated and anonymised) to their suppliers to.

  4. Candyman

    Are there downsides to using these services? I’ve tried some in the past and found that some sites didn’t work and/or content didn’t quite behave as it did without the proxy. I’m also wondering if there might be performance trade-offs as well.

  5. kenberger

    Albert had a good post on this:…The technical issue I have is around performance/lag. My team at HP used to study this in the mid-90s, and proxies, VPN’s, firewalls usually suffered significant realized performance hits, but I don’t know the situation today.Anyone? Bueller??

  6. Tom Labus

    It certainly feels like we’re all under attack these days. Let’s hope that this part of the political cycle is brief!!

  7. felixc

    A proxy service is a step in the right direction.One problem: How do you verify that the proxy service isn’t logging and selling browsing and traffic data?

  8. jason wright

    Is this Peter Thiel at his worst?

  9. Steve_Dodd

    Thanks for sharing this, Fred! I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses and the unforeseen “damage” that may be caused. What I’m finding most fascinating here is the rapid rise of overall privacy concerns (real or imagined). We’ve seen the rapid growth of adblocking and ghosting which has had an impact on the overall monetization of the internet. Now, a suggestion that further privacy action is needed through the use of Proxies. I looked at a few of the suggestions made and many provide Adblocking as part of their services.By launching this new legislation has the government inadvertently added fuel to the privacy fire? And, as an unsuspected consequence, added to the breakdown of the advertising business model which is based on the ability to track consumer activity?Maybe I’m reading this all wrong (wouldn’t be the first time) but I find it equally fascinating that this guidance is coming from a VC firm who over the years has made substantial gains from the internet advertising business. This comment is not meant to be any kind of criticism, just an observation of how things (and attitudes) can change in a very short time.As always, people must remember, if a service is free you are the product. As we continue to fight (with proxies, adblocking, ghosting etc.) this entire business model could break and leave us with some very undesirable consequences.

  10. Mike Geer (MG)

    Thanks for highlighting, Fred!To touch on a few points in the the post and comments below:1. There is no such thing as “Anonymized” data. It is sold in pieces to companies that take data on you from several sources and then reconstruct it and effectively de-anonymize it.2. Many of today’s VPNs do sell your Anonymized data, including several listed on the site Fred shared.I help run AnchorFree. Our mission is to provide a secure and uncensored internet to the world. I joined because I saw the importance of these issues during our fight against SOPA and PIPA. One of our main applications is Hotspot Shield. Happy to give premium service to our community here, as it has given so much inspiration to me. Just ping me on mgeer at anchorfree dot com.

    1. Bart Burggraaf

      Thanks for what you are doing!FB, Apple, Google and so on all have the capability to de-anonymize you for real. And this data that you say is used to effectively de-anonimize you can be bought right now from other providers. Not that I believe this is a widespread and invasive issue right now besides criminal elements (perhaps some examples if you disagree?), cause 99.9% of online data for sale is just used for simple ad targeting. Ie one might buy demographic data and layer it over sports lovers data and target this smaller group for some relevant product.

      1. Mike Geer (MG)

        Thanks, Bart! I appreciate your thoughts and you point out some good arguments around the privacy issue. To speak more directly to a couple of your points:- BlueKai is a good example of how this “anonymized” data is aggregated and then resold to so many companies that there is literally no way (currently) to keep any control on what is done with it. So it needs to simply be know that anonymized data does not stay anonymized and it is no exaggeration that anyone can then buy your personally identifiable data. Here is a good link explaining it a bit:…- The question is not whether you (Bart) care about what happens with your data or what the companies do with that data later on. The question is whether you deserve a choice who and what gets access to your personal data. Most society has come around to say that you do deserve a choice. Then there is the harder question of what constitutes consent. Does using a service like Facebook constitute consent? Some would say it does. Many would say it doesn’t. However, when we talk about ISPs where many people have very little choice or have to jump through many more hoops to avoid using the one that is already plugged into their apartment, a majority of people now think that using them should not constitute consent to share my data.- Is it terribly hard to keep any company or government from grabbing some of my data? Yes, yes it is. Much harder than it should be. Does that mean I shouldn’t protect myself when and where I can? I would propose, no. You need to increase your level of protection and reduce the data leak wherever you can.But again, in the end, it should be your personal choice.

        1. Bart Burggraaf

          It seems you misinterpreted what I wrote, let me try and clarify:- Bluekai et al is what I talked about when I said this kind of data is available from other vendors right now. Again the point was that adding ISP data doesn’t change much. Also Bluekai is used for advertising. Other more nefarious uses are against the law.- In the era of big data and 100% tracking no-one – without exterme discomfort – can escape the big companies tracking you. The point was and is that whether its ISPs or online companies, both are hard to escape completely. To make a change we need all players to change, I agree with the argument that companies need a level playing ground and you cannot have one set of rules for one type of company and another for another set.- Yes you should protect yourself as you see fit. The problem is when people start to be hysterical about ISPs when other companies and governments already have all data. Its a bigger picture issue and this recent storm about ISPs selling what sites you visit is disingenuous.

          1. Mike Geer (MG)

            Yes, just to touch on your last point, is that any large problem such as privacy rights can only (or at least historically has been) be won by winning and adding up a bunch of smaller non-comprehensive battles, until you reach a tipping point where the war is finally won. Conceding battles because many other battles have not been won yet, is a sure fire way to lose the war. I think many of us are not so ready to concede this one.

          2. Bart Burggraaf

            Fine keep fighting ofcourse, I don’t think the general public knows this is but the tip of the iceberg though. And making it about ‘someone will see what sites I visit’ doesn’t help anything imo.

        2. ShanaC

          I’m weirdly not anti-blue kai after having some really odd ads (bonobos) run against me on dating sites back when I was single (I’m a woman with hips, I don’t wear men’s pants)The question is what is the right middle ground to not annoy people, get targeting right, get campaign qualities right, ect. And I get the feeling that the entire ecosystem has to change a lot, since it’s been based on a DR model for a long time (which is a bad model to build a system on)

  11. Mario Cantin

    What’s​ the general thinking with regards to using TOR? Too clunky? Or does it raise suspicion even if nothing nefarious is going on?

    1. LE

      All of the above. Plus in theory entry and exit points could be run by someone who could compare traffic. I don’t know to what extent that’s theoretical or practical but apparently it is possible.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Thanks. I’ve been lurking for the last several months, but always checking in. Hope you’re well.

  12. Tyler Mullen

    Ignorance over here – why should I care if my browsing history is being sold?

  13. LE

    If you want to have a proxy that is reliable and won’t sell your data, you should consider paying for a proxy service. …. I am sure that many AVC regulars are using one or more proxy services and I encourage all of you to share with us your favorites.My favorites? The ones that I operate myself.

  14. DJL

    It is easy to just pounce on every Trump Executive action as the end of the world as we know it. Like many things, the ruling is much more complicated than just “selling out” your privacy. (That will be the refrain for everything for 4 years – selling out to “big oil”, selling out “big pharma”, selling out to “big telcos”, etc. etc.) Is that it?In fact, most of these companies are required by privacy laws already to protect your information. The question is whether or not you want to pick winners and losers based on a set of rules that do no apply fairly to all businesses. Government often uses “privacy” as the gateway to more control and costly regulation. When you look at the problem that way, you can step away from the “selling out” mindset.Here’s the deal: The Obama Administration spent 8 years enacting anti-business regulations and executive orders. Trump is going to undue most of them. So every time one happens I will expect the “selling out” stories. But it really does a disservice to the complexity of these topics.Get ready for “selling out to the big banks” because Dodd-Frank is going away next.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. total Kleptocracy. for sale signs everywhere.

      1. Twain Twain

        Have you read this in ‘The Week’?”Take the recent rise of so-called “fake news.” What caught many by surprise should have been completely predictable: When the web became a place to make money, algorithms were built to maximize money-making. The ease of news production and consumption — heightened with the proliferation of the smartphone — forced writers and editors to fight for audience clicks by delivering articles optimized to trick search engine algorithms into placing them high on search results. The ease of sharing stories and erasure of gatekeepers allowed audiences to self-segregate, which then penalized nuanced conversation. Truth and complexity lost out to shareability and making readers feel comfortable (Facebook’s driving ethos).The incentives were all wrong; exacerbated by algorithms, they led to a state of affairs few would have wanted. “For a long time, the focus has been on performance on dollars, or clicks, or whatever the thing was. That was what was measured,” says Doshi-Velez. “That’s a very simple application of A.I. having large effects that may have been unintentional.”*…Investors in the Valley as well as the tech giants themselves are also responsible for enabling Trump and bad AI.

      2. DJL

        We all know that Google and Facebook (friends of Obama) were involved in creating this. Why did you fund Duck-Duck-go? Because for Facebook and Google to survive they must sell my browsing history.

        1. Salt Shaker

          When you use a free service like FB and GOOG you forego privacy as their biz models are ad rev dependent. Third-party access to user browsing comes w/ the territory. It’s a personal choice to play or not to play by their rules. When you subscribe to an ISP, where in many instances there’s a monopolistic, predatory dynamic, a sub should be able to opt out of data sharing. Freedom of choice is not an option. Completely different biz models, and it’s wrong to conflate privacy and access between the two in a similar vein.

          1. DJL

            I agree there are two different business models. But I don’t agree that Facebook and Google are innocent in exploiting personal data for their own gain. Do you think the average person has any idea how to use a proxy server or opt-out of re-targeting ads? They are experts at exploiting privacy for profit and then only improving when they are caught. Google and Facebook are now essentially monopolies. You cannot even use your phone without them.I’ll use duck-duck-go again, why did USV fund them?

          2. Salt Shaker

            Don’t disagree on exploitation. Caveat emptor. AVC funded DDG presumably to provide consumer choice, not, in and of itself, necessarily as an indictment of GOOG.

          3. DJL

            Yes, but when Fred plugs it he always references the privacy aspect as the main differentiation. So with respect to privacy – it is an indictment of GOOG.Don’t forget – you cannot use an Android phone without using Google. It is not “by choice” anymore.

    2. Conrad Leonard

      > Trump is going to undue most of themundue: adj, “unwarranted or inappropriate because excessive or disproportionate”That’s a great slip of the keyboard there.You radical free-marketeers are as magical in your thinking as traditional Marxists, basing your beliefs on theories of the market efficiency (or historical imperative) that have been disproven by experience a thousand times. Corporations don’t operate within idealized toy models systems of producers and consumers, they’re lead by and patronized by real people who are as greedy and short-sighted as often as they are generous and perspicacious. There is such a thing as too much regulation. There is also such a thing as too little.

      1. DJL

        How do you justify calling me a “radical free marketeer”? You know nothing about me except for what I post here. I am proposing another viewpoint other that just agreeing with Fred all the time.Liberals want bigger government and more control over everything and do it all under the guise of “protecting people”. Its a lie and always has been since the beginning of Johnson and Great Society. Trump was voted in to “undo” as much Obama damage as possible.

        1. ShanaC

          the great society was FDR

          1. DJL

            No, it was Johnson. It was the beginning of the social programs that have kept poor people poor for 50 years. He is at this time quoted as saying about blacks “we’ll keep them n*ggers voting Democrat for 50 years”.

  15. Muneeb Ali

    Using a proxy or VPN is great (I’ve been using a personal/custom VPN for 3+ years) but I’d like to point out the limitations of this approach.When you’re using a proxy or VPN, you’re redirecting the problem from trusting the ISP to trusting the setup you have with the proxy/VPN and the provider you’re using. It’s completely possible that your proxy provider (or the datacenter where your proxy is running) is collecting similar data as your ISP.Google, other search engines, or centralized services like Facebook get to collect a lot of information on you anyway. For example, any website that has Google analytics enabled is sending data about your visits to Google. ISPs are new to this game. We should consider the broader problem that can only be addressed by a truly decentralized internet.In a truly decentralized internet, you’d make DNS lookups locally/privately and can fetch content over encrypted channels (this is how Blockstack works for example). We’re much closer to this reality than most people realize.

    1. LE

      When you’re using a proxy or VPN, you’re redirecting the problem from trusting the ISP to trusting the setup you have with the proxy/VPN and the provider you’re using. It’s completely possible that your proxy provider (or the datacenter where your proxy is running) is collecting similar data as your ISP.100% correct. It’s also possible that the VPN provider is operated by someone using it for nefarious purposes.Nothing at all prevents someone from operating as a VPN provider other than the knowledge to set one up. You could even offer a below market cost to gain market share if subsidized by the right bank account.

    2. ShanaC

      how much does your personal vpn cost you (if you built if yourself)

      1. Muneeb Ali

        I use OpenVPN which is free (but requires a Linux power user to deploy her own server) and I just pay a monthly bill to my cloud provider which is fairly small. A $5 per month Linode server is enough for this use case for example.

  16. Humberto

    Was going to jump in and make a comment, but looking at the level of responses, I realize this forum is significantly more advanced than what my potential contributions. What a great crowd!

  17. jmorf

    This is a far better guide to VPNs/Proxies (I have no affiliation with them). It’s the best one I’ve managed to find and I refer people I know looking for one here.Simple(r):https://thatoneprivacysite….Detailed:https://thatoneprivacysite….

    1. fredwilson


    2. ShanaC

      also, reddit has a thing where people review vpns

  18. Michael Brill

    Seems like a beefed-up, browser extension version of something like http://ruinmysearchhistory…. would have the intended effect. Would destroy any value an ISP could get from monitoring activity… plus it would consume extra bandwidth which would work against the ISP’s interests. Feel free to track me – the 90 year old child dentist fashionista amateur zoologist!Maybe there are technical, not regulatory, solutions to the problem.

  19. Camilo Jiménez

    I think the problem relates in great part to expectations. My hypothesis is that we don’t expect companies to make money with our information. So, what if these companies built a shared revenue model with us? Time for a new startup? My debate points at comparing money with ethics :D, and a second proposal to make the most out of such a situation…

  20. creative group

    William Mougayar:is it possible for the feature that allows a contributor to block annoyances to not only block them but prevent the blocked to view who is blocking them posts?Is that an option that could be considered?Thanks in advance.

    1. ShanaC

      we’re not in control of such things.

      1. creative group

        ShanaC:we didn’t view your response in time.Thanks for the response.

  21. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:We have viewed the expected excuses, reasoning away, etc. regarding anything Trump and the ammunition POTUS (DJT) provides willingly for any opposition.The outrage on Executives Orders (Steve Bannon) which are designed as low hanging fruit to distract from the major Executive Orders that everyone who is human should take exception too.1. POTUS (DJT) signing H.J. Res. 38, which disapproved the rule known as the Stream Protection Rule, published at 81 FR 93066-93445 (Dec. 20, 2016). That quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.We could cite a few others but this particular one and the excuses, lack of outrage and reasoning away is indefensible.…The return of the obfuscators who post misinformation, disinformation and recycled talking points are attempting to migrate back into the Blogs mainstream. The Progressives are just too damn polite and cultured to address them directly.What is actually being auctioned off as Republican agenda is actually Libertarian (in name only). There are influences to 1500 Pennsylvania Ave. that are not American born and agenda is not the preservation of the American Democracy. (Conspiracy theory not required)#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  22. scottythebody

    A proxy doesn’t necessarily protect you from this “attack”. I know for sure that we are using client->proxy traffic to figure out what websites people go to (at work). Also, when I was last in the US, I checked, and the ISPs I had to use (mainly for mobile stuff) actually inject stuff into your traffic already (I saw it happen). They are especially fond of literally injecting HTTP headers and HTML whenever they can. So your only protection is actually encryption and signing your traffic (VPN). And even then, your VPN provider and their upstream ISP can *still* gather data on your traffic.The only solution to this is hard core privacy legislation. No market is going to save our privacy from what I can tell. Unfortunately, corporate interests that control the party in power are going to ensure that we get no legislation anytime soon.

  23. EmpireInDecline

    Why not close your social media accounts? At least how about you don’t provide your true name, DOB, address (location), your high school, college, and who your mother is…I think the user has a lot of power when dealing with what is available over the web.

  24. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!(SWAMP ALERT)Blackwater founder Erik Prince (Secretary Of Education Betsy DeVos brother) held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel. This is hideous!https://www.washingtonpost….

    1. DJL

      When will you start commenting on the Susan Rice admission that she authorized spying on Trump and his associated right after he become the nominee? That is the real story here. (And she lied about it – but that is par for the course for Ms. Rice)

      1. creative group

        DJL:”When will you start commenting on the Susan Rice admission that she authorized spying on Trump and his associated right after he become the nominee?”That statement is mendacious at the very least! Susan Rice made no such admission! The former administration were surveillancing Russian operatives (Spy’s) who happened to be communicating with guess who? Trumps transition team members. The Rightwing’s playbook of deflect, state counterfacts/alternative truths, attack and change the focus will not work while we view this blog.You are attempting to intentionally deflect, deceive and post erroneous talking points from POTUS (Trump, his usual) thinking your comments will not be fact checked or challenged.This is Susan Rice’s denial, current and former Republican and Democrat Intelligence members stating she didn’t do anything illegal.…Your deflection and counterfactual comments on everything Trump is exposed and addressed!Your outrage is like the Police kicking down the door and finding a person murdered but the outrage is with the kicking in the door to unmask the murder.I see your BS clearly. The Progressives are much too wealthy, cultured, educated and polite to even engage in your deceptive, deceiving, fallacious and spurious comments to defend Trump and his minions.And if Susan Rice’s actions are found to be illegal under the law (Not by the deflector and liar in Chief) she needs to be prosecuted. (See how being Independent works). Don’t defend the indefensible because it is your political party.Here is your liar in Chief normal deflection to divert from the obvious without the normal evidence. (Birther BS, Obama directly ordering wiretapping)…Suggest you and your ilk take your show of deflection, deception, lying, fallacious and spurious comments on the road to the following blogs were it will be better received. Not so much here.1. Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds)2. Hot Air (Michelle Malkin)3. RedState (Erick Erickson)4. Power Line (John Hinderaker)5. Free Republic6. them know we sent you. That should keep you entertained until the end.There wIll be Progressives fake outrage telling you to stay and ignore this post. The Kumbaya (The Seekers 1965) in public but hoping like hell you all disappear.“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?” (Rodney King 1992) HELL NO!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

        1. DJL

          How obnoxious can you possibly be? You are spewing fake news taken from your Liberal echo chamber and then tell me to go somewhere else? “Let them know we sent you”? You speak for everyone in this blog? I don’t think so.If you can’t have a conversation without losing your mind and spewing insults I suggest you don’t engage in blogging.

          1. creative group

            DJL:we assumed you would attempt the fake news angle your handlers and talking points of Fox News would lead you.In the words of the Deflector and Liar in Chiefs own mouth.No need to use someone else words. (We realize you already are aware and are using the deflect, defend, lie program)Trump on the lying birther claims he promoted…Trump in his moments: Will build a wall and Mexican will pay for it.…All from his mouth! (9:50) Is it fair to say you sometimes exaggerate?Trumps answer: I don’t think I exaggerate (Lie) anymore than anyone else. (Shameful)We realize posting his claims that were proven flat out lies willonly have you double down on something unrelated verses addressing the videos in his own words they some how is Fake News. Correct Fake News from Trump and his minions.

  25. Luca Bonmassar

    Proxies can be /easily/ intercepted (if they are http proxies and non-https proxies) by an ISP or if the traffic is full http and non-https. If you want to be shielded, either go full VPN or, even better, use TOR – Tor is now super easy to download, install and use it – also for non-technical people. It’s very hard to attach, and ISP do not have the capabilities to de-anonymize it (only very sophisticated attacks are possible, requiring state-level actors and pretty good resources. So unless you are trafficking in child porn, terrorism or some other highly illegal activities, you should be good to go).

  26. ShanaC

    If I am not mistaken, it might be cheaper to just set up your own proxy

  27. rajeet

    Always good to read comments, but no one seems to have read Fred’s last line. “I encourage all of you to share with us your favorites”.

  28. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!Amazon takes over NFL Thursday Night Football from Twitter….…Crickets….

  29. Mark Edward

    Better solution but Tor would be more appropriate I guess as it is free. One can’t simply rely on unpaid or free VPN. Free Hola VPN users already became the victims of that as it sold users data and will be selling many more times.

  30. Swatick Majumdar

    Does FB and Google know your habits?…yes and all the App you so innocently download follow you? Yes……I’m not going to go down the road on govt agencies as their motivation may not be commercial. So why the big reaction to the latest repeal of the privacy protection for internet users? Damn it!! because, It’s like saying if a burglar wants to break into my house, the burglar will find a way, so why lock the house. Sorry, maybe not the best analogy but I hope it lends itself some credence to what Pres Trump just signed. Who is initiating these activities as Trump is not a tech savvy or an internet person. What are the motivations beneath all this? What is next on the block? Net Neutrality. With numerous world changing events facing this administration; I’m quite disappointed that those agendas are still smoldering.

  31. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:If Fred and WIlliam Mougayar could do a podcast interview with Tim Berners-Lee (2017 ACM Turing Award Recipient, Considered the Nobel Prize of Computing, Inventor of the World Wide Web) it would be compelling.https://www.technologyrevie

  32. awaldstein

    well said.

  33. DJL

    I get it. Freedom is bad. Unbridled government power is good.

  34. DJL

    This is my point exactly. Your understanding of this issue is “big bad corporations stealing our privacy.” (Echo chamber) That is a limited and one-sided characterization of the issue. Notice how the big tech companies that love the Democrats (Google, Facebook, etc.) are not impacted by this at all. If the corporations are friends of Obama – they are never mean or evil. They cheat the US out of billions on tax dollars and then position themselves as benefactors. And this is totally ignored by Liberals.They are all the same. Why do you think the big tech industry wanted and still wants Trump destroyed? This is pay for play.

  35. LDM

    Without our system of government we have no freedom. You may choose to blind yourself to the objective realities of the society in which you live, but your freedom doesn’t grow on trees.