4
$\begingroup$

The question What information is sent to Wolfram Research when loading or working with Mathematica? describes the information sent to Wolfram's servers in routine Mathematica usage (Documentation Center/Wolfram|Alpha/Paclet updates etc).

Apparently you can assume that the following is sent to Wolfram's Servers

  • All your search terms used in the Documentation Center
  • IP Number
  • $Version
  • $SystemID
  • $LicenseID
  • $MachineID

But what about when sending a generic web query using URLExecute, Import etc. to any server? What information is sent and can you modify it to attain "Tor-like" anonymity?

Some Background:

Settings for a web-query can be wrapped in a HTTPRequest which includes a "UserAgent" setting that is by default the "Wolfram HTTPClient xxxx" (where xxxx is a version number). This "UserAgent" seems to carry information about the operating system and of course indicates that it emanates from Mathematica. There isn't a way of spoofing the IP number in the HTTPRequest wrapper as pointed out by Carl Lange in the comments but this can potentially be done by

  1. Setting the "UserAgent" key in HTTPRequest to apply that "UserAgent"'s proxy settings.
  2. Adding proxy settings in the Proxy Dialog found in Mathematica's Preferences.

enter image description here

As per the documentation by default on Windows the proxy settings are taken from browsers while on a Mac they are taken from the Network Preferences panel.

Another alternative might be to just use browser proxies by restricting to WebExecute

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ It's not clear to me what you are trying to do (and how changing the user agent would be related to Tor). Can you edit the question and explain the problem fully (but concisely)? $\endgroup$ – Szabolcs Dec 2 '19 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ This is a Tor problem and not a Mathematica problem. Look at this page if you want general configuration advice, or ask at tor.SE if you are unable to get that to work. $\endgroup$ – J. M.'s technical difficulties Dec 2 '19 at 21:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @J.M.willbebacksoon The question is independent of Tor and seems very much a Mathematica issue related to its privacy provisions. The use of Tor as the "UserAgent" was simply an attempt to see if Mathematica can piggy-back off its proxy handling to ensure online anonymity. I will edit the question to clarify. $\endgroup$ – Saunter Dec 2 '19 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ In general, I don't think it is wise to use commercial software with something like Tor. If necessary, you can license the Wolfram Engine with a fake address and run it on a virtual machine. It should probably not be against TOS.(but What kind of situation is that?) $\endgroup$ – Xminer Dec 3 '19 at 0:26
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Eventually, Mathematica is just doing the equivalent of a curl command to the remote server and everything that is sent except your IP address should be configurable in the request (by changing either the HTTP headers or the body). Your IP address is un-spoofable at the Mathematica level (though you can attempt it using Tor or similar, as you point out, or a simple tunnel). You can try this yourself by spinning up a local web server and firing a few URLExecutes at it. $\endgroup$ – Carl Lange Dec 3 '19 at 0:46