By Preston Gralla, PCWorldNov 25, 2009 5:35 am PST
Large swaths of the world are subject to censorship, or else track their citizens’ use of the Internet. Free program Freenet lets you anonymously browse the Web, share files, chat on forums, and more–no matter where you are. Download and run the software, and you become part of a decentralized P2P network that uses encryption and other tools to keep you hidden and anonymous. As you browse, your data is encrypted and sent through a series of Freenet nodes, making it very difficult to track you.
After you install Freenet, you’ll go through a brief setup procedure in which you answer questions about the level of security you want. Once you do that, you can begin browsing. You’ll notice that browsing is slow, because of the nature of the way that Freenet works. The higher the level of security, the slower your performance will be; there can be a noticeable lag when browsing the Web. Over time, though, as you connect to more nodes, your browsing speeds up so that the lag is not particularly noticeable.
Freenet is most useful for those who need to get around their governments’ control. But even if you live in a free country, you might want to use it to protect your privacy. If you and want to protect your Internet privacy without having to do any special setups, Freenet is well worth the download.