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The Internet in which anonymous overlay networks are built upon
The Basics
When you use the Internet for things like news, email, social media, and even Monero, you are most likely using a clearnet connection. This means that *all* of your connections can be tracked, traced, and monitored by:
- your [ISP](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISP)
- the website/service/person you're communicating with
- possibly a [Five Eyes](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5_Eyes) capable entity
and even if you use [HTTPS](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTPS) or similar (which *encrypts* your transmission), your route is not hidden nor is it anonymous, thus; it is in the *clear*.
In-depth information
Since a traditional [VPN](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VPN) cannot save you from clearnet (as you are still using *clearnet* (though you are more proxied than without a VPN)), you should use an *anonymous overlay network* to avoid using clearnet directly:
- Java-I2P
- [Tor](https://torproject.org/)
These technologies protect you from clearnet by building an anonymous network **over** clearnet to keep your transmissions both encrypted **and** anonymous.
Here is an accurate, [interactive diagram](https://www.eff.org/pages/tor-and-https) provided by the [EFF](https://www.eff.org/) which describes *clearnet* as it relates to **Tor**. The concept also (somewhat) applies to I2P in terms of anonymity with the exception that your traffic never need to leave the I2P network