Privacy, Security, Anonymity | What’s the Difference?

Privacy, Security and Anonymity are important to understand when doing anything on the internet.

A breakdown of what each means and the overlaps they have with each other.


freedom from damaging publicity, public scrutiny, secret surveillance, or unauthorized disclosure of one’s personal data or information, as by a government, corporation, or individual.

Privacy in terms of your online life is about keeping your information private from the world. Only allowing those who you authorize to view/access your information.

Example: You access your health records from your medical provider. You login with your account and view the web page showing your information. These pages you view are private to only you and you are using security (password & web page encryption) to keep them private.


precautions taken to guard against crime, attack, sabotage, espionage, etc.

Security is about putting controls in place in order to prevent unauthorized access.

Protection mechanisms like passwords, face id, fingerprint scan, encryption, door locks, home/car alarms, are all security controls.

The reasons for using security controls can be for both Privacy and/or Anonymity.


the state or quality of being anonymous.

Anonymity is about being hidden from everyone on the activities that you do. Almost everything we do online can be traced back to your identity. Any website you access with an account, they site knows your identity. If you use an iPhone or a Android phone, Apple & Google know all of your activity.

Examples of becoming more anonymous:

  • You browse the internet and visit websites without logging in. This hides your identity from the website.
  • You use a VPN to hide your identity from your ISP
  • Use different web browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave) for different activities
    • YouTube & Google Search with Chrome
    • Safari for Apple stuff
    • Firefox or Brave for everything else

When you access information anonymously, you inherently are more secure because you masking your identity.

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