Best URL shortener for quick, anonymous use

Best URL shortener for quick, anonymous use

13.Sep.2021

The writer of this article has made the error of assuming that an anonymous URL shortener is best.    The argument can be made that a daily/weekly use website should take privacy very seriously, but let's learn why this is not so for most people. 

The Pro-Privacy Argument:

Shortening your links may not give away information directly, but it does give away information indirectly.   On TinyURL, if you provide an email address for account registration, that is not anonymous and therefore the site has access to all your previous links as well as which ones are clicked on.    While this may be a fear of many Internet users, they should fear more what could potentially happen with this "anonymous" data.    It's important to have a secure anonymity protocol so that websites cannot identify you by tracing your IP address or something similar.

The Pro-Sharing Argument:

One of the best parts about URLs being shortened is being able to share them quickly and easily from anywhere on the web. For example, I might tweet a link from my phone without having to go through and write a full, complete and long URL.    The downside of anonymous shorteners is that one would need to copy and paste the link into their browser or store it in their phone's memory for less than the time they'd use an identifiable SMS-shortened link.

Many users on Twitter may not even know what TinyURL is (let alone how to get an account), which means most new users would be deterred from using it because they wouldn't know about its security flaws without looking into it beforehand.

The Pro-Custom Link Argument:

Another great function of shortening your links is being able to customize them and turn them into a "vanity" URL .    For example, you can take mybitcointips.com and turn it into something like this, which is much easier to type out.    This feature is only available if you have an account on the shortening website.

The Con-Loss of Data Argument:

Every time you shorten a link, that data stays with the site owner. For example, if I shortened mybitcointips.com 10 times, then someone else came along who wanted to use/remember that link but didn't want to go through the entire process of typing in 10 urls... all they'd see would be 1 tiny URL where before there were 10.     The other 9 links are "forgotten" by TinyURL after they are visited or not clicked on a certain amount of time (which is usually about a week).

The Con-Data Retention Argument:

Another problem of shortening your links through TinyURL (or any other known anonymous URL shortener) is that they retain all the data on their site; meaning if law enforcement decided to subpoena them, they would have records of every link you shortened and who it was sent to.    This can become very dangerous if you use this platform for exchanging files with friends or finding new music and never cleaning up after yourself by deleting those old URLs.    If some sort of Google-like search algorithm were created, then everyone's information could be compromised at once.

An Alternative: Bitly

Bitly is an alternative for those concerned with privacy as it doesn't require an account to shorten links.   It also doesn't retain the link after it has been unshortened/seen, which means that if you use it in combination with password protection for your browser, then your page is only available to people who enter the correct access code.

Full Article:    Why You Shouldn't Use TinyURL's 'Secure' Anonymous URLs - How-To Geek Blog

*** This comment was posted anonymously on our blog and may contain information for which HUB Publications is under no obligation to keep confidential and/or accurate. ***

This article seems like an odd choice when compared with what you've published about anonymizer/private browsing tools before... e.g., see this .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

About the author: You can contact Anonymouse to ask or answer a question about privacy tools.

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(Articles like these will be deleted immediately with little or no warning.) Please avoid copy/pasting comments that have been pre-written elsewhere without attribution to the original source.

 

(Then please explain what problem this article is trying to solve. What's broken about the current best-in-class shortener?

There are a lot of URL shorteners out there, but here is a list of the reasons why you might choose TinyURL over all others: [this information belongs in an "info box" or in a different section - not at the end of the first paragraph.]

 

-Short URLs: If you want your URLs to be shorter than they would be with other services, TinyURL can help. For example, if you specify http://tinyurl.com/2f32wv5 as the destination for your new shortened URL and someone saves this link to their account or bookmarks it, they'll be able to get back to your original page by simply going to https://tinyurl.com/2f32wv5 and logging in with their account information (or not, depending on the settings you choose when creating a new shortened URL).

This paragraph makes no sense because there is no other service that generates longer URLs than others.

 

-Anonymous use: With some TinyURLs, you can remain completely anonymous if you would like. You have two main options here: [explain these options]

-Advertising free: When using a basic account at TinyURL, you don't need to worry about advertisements popping up while browsing through your short links or being forced to see them while creating new ones. [this sentence makes no sense.]

-Branded domains: If you have a website, TinyURL allows you to set up your own domain name so that shortened links can easily be sent directly to people who are familiar with it. This means that Emily's blog at http://tinyurl.com/2f32wv5 could become https://emilysblog.com if she were using her own TinyURL account.

You don't need an account to use TinyURL -- this is explained in the first sentence of the article!

 

-History: Although you don't need an account to use TinyURL, if you sign up for one, you can see a history of all your shortened links.[over

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