Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Anonymity and Blogging

Digby, one of the webs most successful anonymous commmentators, has valuable thoughts (as usual) on the subject of online anonymity, which was raised by a recent newspaper story complaining about anonymity. I don't take the Washington Post's concerns seriously; it seems to me that the complaints about anonymous commentary that crop up from time to time mostly reflect a desire by the complainor that there be more real-world consequences (i.e. losing a job) when the complainor disagrees with the political views or conclusions of the commentator. Big Tent Democrat, nee Armando, who has had his own unfortunate run-in with a disgruntled reader eager to "out" his real world identity, puts it best:
Pseudonymity allows real people to post their thoughts without fear of real world repercussions. A web site can impose as strict a policy on civility, profanity, fact checking, libel, copyright, etc., as it wishes. Knowing and publishing a person's real identity is not necessary for any of that.
On a slightly-related note, here is a fascinating how-to guide for the pathologically paranoid on how to maintain complete anonymity online. As a "theoretical challenge," the author undertook defining a reliable protocol for remaining anonymous online, assuming the absolute worst and making irrationally negative assumptions about commercial operating systems and their interactions with the government. Long story short: it is almost impossible unless you have no bank account.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home