KGSUsers Guide/ Anonymous Access

Sub-page of KGSUsersGuide


What do we mean by anonymous access? Well, certainly, one can access KGS already anonymously -- simply don't tell anyone who you are. If you already have, well, create a new account! But even then you are building an identity, and people will identify with your online login at the least.

So the next step is to use a guest account, and a different one each time you login. That would do the trick. However, you would find that KGS users do not accept games readily with guest accounts; so, you are back to square one.

Additionally, all of these methods may help protect your identity from KGS *users* but does nothing to protect it from the KGS server.

To be truly anonymous would be to have the server not be able to identify who you are in the real world. Additionally, we *should* use a random guest name each time we login. However, to realistically get games, we will have to make the concession of using a registered account.

What we can gain is as anonymous of an online identity as possible -- KGS will not know who you are, and users will not know either, because you will not tell them.


The key piece of technology needed to do this is an anonymizer service, such as Tor. Tor is a service that will receive your network traffic, send it randomly around the internet, and then finally send it to it's intended destination. The destination will see you coming from one of the many Tor servers, located throughout the globe. And each time you connect, the server it sees you from will be randomly choosen.

Thus, you will appear from KGS's point of view to be globe-skipping. Of course, they could investigate and realize that you are using the Tor service, because all the IPs match to the publicly know Tor servers. However, this will do them no good at identifying yourself.

So, armed with the Tor client software, we aim to connect to KGS in a truly anonymous way.


If KGS supported HTTP or SOCKS proxies already, our job would be a little easier. As it is, we will need the Tor client *and* another tool known as tortunnel.

1. Getting the Tor client: [ext]

Install the Tor client, you should probably also install 'torbutton' a firefox extension ([ext] It will allow you to also use tor when webbrowsing. Additionally, it will make it easier to test that Tor is working.

2. Testing the Tor client:

To test, make sure tor is running (Windows and OSX users should make sure the 'Vidalia' program is loaded). Then, load up firefox with the torbutton extension installed. There should be a small onion icon, or a label at the bottom of your browser (it will say 'Tor Enabled' or 'Tor Disabled'). Clicking it will toggle Firefox's usage of Tor. Enable it, and then try navigating to Google: [ext] .

If it works, most likely you will see Google in some localized version. For instance, Chinese or German. This is because Google has seen you coming from one of these countries and assumes you'd like to have a personalized experience! If it did not work, you simply will not be able to load Google. See the Tor documentation for further help: [ext]

3. Getting tortunnel: [ext]

Tortunnel should be unzipped into a folder, that's all there is to installation. Since KGS is a Java program I will assume you have Java running already -- which is what tortunnel is written in.

4. Setting up tortunnel:

Unfortunately tortunnel has very little to go for it in terms of polished user experience. To setup tortunnel for KGS, edit the tortunnel.ini file that you will find in the folder you extracted to.

Edit it's contents to look like:


Save the file, and you are done.

5. Running tortunnel:

To run tortunnel, just click on the tortunnel.jar file. A dialog box should popup telling you what settings are currently in effect -- do not close this window until you are done using KGS and tortunnel.

6. Setting up KGS:

On the opening KGS screen, choose the Configure button. Where the window lists 'Host:', change the host to 'localhost' or ''. Choose OK.

7. Running KGS:

You should be good to go, run KGS normally, but remember not to use your old login.

8. Registering a new account?

Registering a new account requires you to provide a valid email address. This will, of course, expose your identity somewhat. The simplest thing to do is to get a new hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc. account, and then never use that account again after registration.

Are we done yet?

Yes! All you need to do now is remember to turn on the tor client, and run tortunnel before accessing KGS. If you wish to login non-anonymously then you can revert the host setting in KGS back to .

Summary --or-- Great, why did we do this again?

The importance of privacy or anonymity is part of basic rights and freedom (some would attach political aspects to this, which would be accurate, but this is actually a philosophical point). It is, of course, KGS's right to deny that anonymity, though their "Term of Use" do not explicitly deny this -- regardless, IANAL.

Of a simple practical importance, diplomats, professionals, or others with sensitive positions may or must be judicious with their internet usage. By simply logging in to a server they give away their identity to someone, and that may be important or even vital to them. This page outlines a way for them to enjoy go games without compromising their identity.

--A Nemo?

KGSUsers Guide/ Anonymous Access last edited by Phelan on January 26, 2009 - 07:55
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