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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 18:53 GMT
How to blog safely across the world
Kenyan students on the web
Blogging is becoming increasingly popular in Africa
Thousands of people are taking part in virtual protests against countries accused of censoring the internet.

The first Online Free Expression Day has been organised by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF has launched the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents, which gives bloggers tips on how to blog safely and evade censorship.

Here are some of their top tips.



If you are afraid that using your real name will put you in danger, then always use a pseudonym.

Set up an email account using a pseudonym with a free host such as Google Mail, Yahoo or Hotmail.

Do not use fill in any information - name, address, workplace - which can be linked to you.

Do not set up or access your email and blog accounts from your home or work computer as your IP address (the number that identifies your computer on the internet) can be traced. Use a public computer in a cybercafe.

Sign up on a free blog hosting service - Blogger, LiveJournal, Blogsome - using your new pseudonym and email account.

Set a good, strong password (at least eight characters, include at least one number or special character) for your email and blog accounts.

Do not use a paid account for either email or blog hosting as the payment will link the account to you.

Be sure to change frequently the cafes you use so you do not become a familiar face in case cafe staff are interrogated.

Remember never to sign your blog posts with your real name or name your friends and family members.


RSF advises downloading software to hide your computer IP address

With some basic computer knowledge, you can hide the location of the computer you are using.

Set up your internet browser to access the web through an anonymous proxy when you access your email and blog accounts.

To do this, change the internet proxy on the preferences section on your internet browser to an anonymous or public proxy.

You can pick from a list of anonymous proxy servers from websites such as Public Proxy Servers and Samair. However, be careful as there is no guarantee that the information on these websites is accurate.

It may not be possible to modify browser settings in public internet access locations such as libraries, internet cafes and workplaces.

You can also download a programme called Tor - a very sophisticated network of proxy servers which hide the IP address of your computer.

When you access a website through Tor, you are using three different proxy servers to retrieve each webpage.

You might need to set up new email and blog accounts through Tor to ensure you get the most secure protection.

Ethiopia has been added to a list of so called "internet enemies"

In several countries, governments have blocked the public's access to specific websites and blogs.

It is possible to secure your blog against, or work around, censorship and surveillance using several circumvention technologies.

Care must be taken to implement technologies that are both discreet and secure and be aware if there are any penalties on the use of these technologies.

You can download circumvention technology programmes or use free web-based services - installation of web-based circumvention software can require some level of technical expertise and appropriate resources (a web server and bandwidth).

You can also download anonymous communications systems which ensure anonymity by shielding the identity of the requesting user from the content provider.

As you can only use anonymous communications systems if you have can install software on the computer, this is not feasible for people who use public computers at cybercafes or at work.

Freenet is free software which lets you publish and obtain information on the internet without fear of censorship. It is entirely decentralised and publishers and consumers of information are anonymous.


If you compose your blog posts offline, on your home or work computer, delete any copies saved on the hard drive. You should also delete any copies stored on removable devices such as CDs or USBs.

It is also important to clear your internet browser history, cookies and passwords.

You can set up your browser to do this automatically every time you close it.

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