Privacy vs. Anonymity

There is often some confusion (to be honest I am fairly certain you can find examples on this very site) about Privacy versus Anonymity.

Wikipedia has got the following two descriptions:

Anonymity: Anonymity, adjective “anonymous”, is derived from the Greek word ἀνωνυμία, anonymia, meaning “without a name” or “namelessness”. In colloquial use, “anonymous” is used to describe situations where the acting person’s name is unknown. Some writers have argued that namelessness, though technically correct, does not capture what is more centrally at stake in contexts of anonymity. The important idea here is that a person be non-identifiable, unreachable, or untrackable. Anonymity is seen as a technique, or a way of realizing, certain other values, such as privacy, or liberty.

Privacy: Privacy (from Latin: privatus) is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes. When something is private to a person, it usually means there is something to them inherently special or sensitive. The domain of privacy partially overlaps security, including for instance the concepts of appropriate use, as well as protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity.

The important distinction here is that anonymity is when you are non-identifiable whereas privacy deals with your ability to seclude yourself selectively.

Cloak as a device can help your privacy.  It can be a tool to become anonymous, but it will by itself not guarantee anonymity.

When using Cloak traffic will go from your Cloak device, via an encrypted tunnel to a random relay (not the final destination) on the Tor network.  It will continue to pass through multible relays until it reaches it’s final destination.  It will be encrypted as long as it is on the Tor network, but might pass in clear text if it exits through an exit node.  In other words, nobody can monitor any of your traffic until the traffic leaves the Tor network, at which points it will be impossible to determine where that traffic originated.

Yesterday, Facebook announced that they now operated a hidden tor service.  This is a great example.  Obviously if one uses that Facebook Tor service, one would not be anonymous.  But the Tor service will help your privacy – as in you only reveal your information on Facebook to whoever you decide to.  Someone in between – say your Internet Service Provider – will not have a clue that you are on Facebook and they won’t be able to track which pages you visit there and Facebook themselves will not know which IP address your traffic originated from.


I am Lars from Bright Things UN Ltd.. I am responsible for maintaining the Cloak firmware. My profile on .

Posted in Anonymity, Cloak, Privacy
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