Is Anonymity A Right?

On Sunday March 9, a panel came together at the interactive festival SXSW to discuss ‘Sexual Privacy Online’. One of the interesting questions that popped up was: Do you have the right to be anonymous? I think that’s hard to achieve. In some online environments you want to be anonymous, in others it is necessary that you identify yourself. What do you think about all this?


We have a right to privacy, but not anonymity. There would be serious safety concerns, in protecting the general welfare of the community, if that was the case.

For everyday public discourse online, pseudonymity (as one of the speakers said) is often a happy middle ground.

geplaatst door Nonimus op 03.18.08 om 6:46 pm

Part of the charm and force of the internet(s) is the free, open exchange of ideas… give or take. The ideas are important. No one can stop an idea whose time has come.

We can adopt an online persona that allows us to connect with different people and explore new horizons. Yet we may want to retain a sense of privacy. Thus, for example, I am using the pseudonym (false name) of ‘Nonimus’.

Of course, we are not truly anonymous in modern society. There are digital fingerprints connecting us to our activities. If we engage in unlawful behavior, there is a means of accountability.

It is up to individuals, governments, civil liberties groups, telecommunications and health care providers, et al., to make sure our privacy (personal information) is respected.

Some places, some people, may fear or lament the sharing of ideas. But it is what makes the world go round. God bless the internet.

geplaatst door Nonimus op 03.18.08 om 9:39 pm

I have no idea if our privacy is respected. We live in an open society where there are so many cameras, recognition software, electronic transactions, phone and email surveillance, etc. … who is to know how the information is being processed and exploited? I don’t keep up with it. As a friend once said, if you’re not doing anything wrong, then there’s nothing to worry about.

While there may be Big Brother concerns in the U.S. or U.K., if you live in a country like China, then what is deemed “wrong” takes on a different meaning. I just read an article where the Chinese authorities arrested some Buddhist monks for emailing photos of their fallen brethren. And, of course, there is internet censorship for what websites can be accessed, and so on. Therein lies the potential for abuse: not that one is morally wrong, but rather on the wrong side of the political spectrum.

We must always be vigilant in the protection of our rights.

geplaatst door Nonimus op 03.19.08 om 8:07 pm

@Nonimus: In my post I was referring to online anonymity… Perhaps that wasn’t clear. At the same time I was mixing up privacy and anonymity. Sorry for that and thanks for pointing it out to me.

How would you define pseudonymity?

geplaatst door Fresh Creation op 04.27.08 om 1:36 pm

@Nonimus: Thanks for your elaborate comment.

Do you think our privacy is respected? If I look at the legislation changes in the US that were made after 9-11 then it seems like the people that have the power are trying to control others more and more.

Sharing ideas is what Fresh Creation is all about. I hope to make people aware of things for the good. Aware of what’s possible and aware of what’s happening.

geplaatst door Fresh Creation op 04.27.08 om 1:36 pm

@Nonimus: Thanks for your comment.

To add to the discussion: Here’s an [url=]animation about privacy[/url] and another [url=]animation about the power of Google[/url].

geplaatst door Fresh Creation op 04.27.08 om 1:36 pm
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