Skip to main content

Clever web app obscures your browsing activity by visiting random pages

internet noise web app hp elitebook 1040  visual hacking
You know those spy movies where a character is being tailed in their car, and decides to make a bunch of seemingly illogical detours down back alleys and the wrong way up one-direction roads in order to throw off their pursuers? That’s kind of what a new internet privacy web app called Internet Noise aims to do.

In the aftermath of the United States House of Representatives’ decision to gut internet privacy rules, and allow companies to sell their customers’ personal information, programmer and activist Dan Schultz decided to do something about it — and set about coding.

His web app Internet Noise’s big unique selling point are its “noisemaker” buttons, which obscure your meaningful search history by diluting the useful (from an eavesdropper point of view) signal from the meaningless noise that surrounds it.

“The buttons search Google with random two-word phrases, and pull up the occasional random website via google’s ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ feature,” Schultz told Digital Trends.

Between the five tabs it opens and their 10 second refresh rate (each time with a different nonsense search), it won’t be long before your search history is virtually unrecognizable.

Schultz noted that there is only so much the buttons can do, however, which is why he describes Internet Noise as a “protest page” as much as a serious app. The website doesn’t stop there, though. It also features other information on how internet users can protect themselves.

“The most important thing to understand about this project is that although noise is a fine way to protest, these buttons will not do much to keep you safe from snooping,” Schultz continued. “In the same way that a person can still make out the melody of a song in a crowded bar, sophisticated advertisers and ISPs will be able to figure out your unencrypted browsing habits even if you try to throw them off. However, if you take the recommended steps listed out on the Internet Noise page — [such as] install HTTPS everywhere, Privacy Badger, explore Tor and VPNs, and check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation — you will be in incredibly good shape and your data will be essentially hidden from sight.”

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Why AI will never rule the world
image depicting AI, with neurons branching out from humanoid head

Call it the Skynet hypothesis, Artificial General Intelligence, or the advent of the Singularity -- for years, AI experts and non-experts alike have fretted (and, for a small group, celebrated) the idea that artificial intelligence may one day become smarter than humans.

According to the theory, advances in AI -- specifically of the machine learning type that's able to take on new information and rewrite its code accordingly -- will eventually catch up with the wetware of the biological brain. In this interpretation of events, every AI advance from Jeopardy-winning IBM machines to the massive AI language model GPT-3 is taking humanity one step closer to an existential threat. We're literally building our soon-to-be-sentient successors.

Read more
The best hurricane trackers for Android and iOS in 2022
Truck caught in gale force winds.

Hurricane season strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in its direct path, as well as distanced loved ones who worry for their safety. If you've ever sat up all night in a state of panic for a family member caught home alone in the middle of a destructive storm, dependent only on intermittent live TV reports for updates, a hurricane tracker app is a must-have tool. There are plenty of hurricane trackers that can help you prepare for these perilous events, monitor their progress while underway, and assist in recovery. We've gathered the best apps for following storms, predicting storm paths, and delivering on-the-ground advice for shelter and emergency services. Most are free to download and are ad-supported. Premium versions remove ads and add additional features.

You may lose power during a storm, so consider purchasing a portable power source,  just in case. We have a few handy suggestions for some of the best portable generators and power stations available. 

Read more
Don’t buy the Meta Quest Pro for gaming. It’s a metaverse headset first
Meta Quest Pro enables 3D modeling in mixed reality.

Last week’s Meta Connect started off promising on the gaming front. Viewers got release dates for Iron Man VR, an upcoming Quest game that was previously a PS VR exclusive, as well as Among Us VR. Meta, which owns Facebook, also announced that it was acquiring three major VR game studios -- Armature Studio, Camouflaj Team, and Twisted Pixel -- although we don’t know what they’re working on just yet.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Meta Connect's gaming section mostly ended. Besides tiny glimpses and a look into fitness, video games were not the show's focus. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted to focus on what seemed to be his company’s real vision of VR's future, which involves a lot of legs and a lot of work with the Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that'll cost a whopping $1,500.

Read more