See also: Information | Anonymity | Steganography | Security

The condition of being difficult to see, find or search for, understand or use; a face in the crowd. To obfuscate is to deliberately make hard to find. Privacy and obscurity are closely related as one is often not possible without the other.

Relating to the online world, this would mean obscuring one’s online identity to make it difficult to either relate to real-world information. One could also use obscurity to make it difficult to relate different personal identification information. For example, while your bank knows your address, telephone number and banking information, some would find it prudent to not tell them one’s e-mail address(es) or cell phone number.

Related issues to obscurity include the legal enforcement of privacy. Many find it necessary to restrict information from public dispersal by restricting the release of information to only what is necessary.

Other Uses for Obscurity

  • Obscurity as a safety or secrecy measure is security through obscurity.
  • Governments try to obscure communications so that there is less debate. For example they might choose to release information to the public on a friday night or just before a holiday.
  • Propaganda as a method for hiding the truth.
  • Steganography is the hiding of data inside other data.
  • Some file sharing systems use obscurity to prevent from being shut down by never working to become mainstream or popular.
  • Using a Pseudonym instead of one’s real information.
  • Promoting obscurity to prevent price fixing for individuals such as this case with eBay.
  • NW – Name Witheld – Not logging in is a way of obscuring one’s identity, but it is not anonymity if it is linked to one’s login name.

Commercial Links

TakeDown.NET -> “Obscurity