Internet Anonymity and Privacy

Internet Anonymity and Privacy

Internet anonymity is a blessing, but it’s also a curse.  Internet anonymity is very useful to the internet activist.  Internet anonymity is nowhere near as robust as people tend to think, and there are ways for creative people to identify at least some of the abusers.  Last week, we took a look at what Internet Anonymity is, and how it works.  If someone uses internet anonymity software because they are being stalked or harassed, then most would agree that their right to use internet anonymity is viable.  True Internet anonymity is surprisingly difficult to achieve.  As the user, it is your responsibility to know that your internet anonymity is only as secure as the service’s privacy policy.  The sticky, icky underside to Internet anonymity is that too often it’s abused.

Anonymity

Anonymity and privacy may be related, but their significance is worlds apart.  Anonymity is not what it used to be.  Anonymity on the internet was perceived as a resounding positive, liberating us from our canine constraints to project an image onto the world of ourselves, not as we are but as we would like to be.  Anonymity is another powerful tool that can be beneficial or problematic depending on its use.  Anonymity assures privacy, confidentiality and security for individuals.

Outside of the Internet, anonymity is widely acceptedand recognized as valuable in today’s society.  For instance, sometimes anonymity tools are used to distributecopyrighted software without permission (“warez”).

Privacy

Privacy——- What is `privacy’ on the internet.  Privacy is a right that we all posses, allowing that the government or anyone for that matter cannot force information from us, that we wish to withhold.  Privacy is an important part of liberty, just like freedom of speech.  One argument is that the internet anonymity should be a right just like the right to privacy or bear arms.  Internet anonymity is dissimilar from our right to privacy in that if one wishes to stay private in cyberspace then they can avoid the internet all together, and not have to worry about protecting their identity.  Furthermore, anonymity and privacy are not synonymous with each other, and shouldn’t be examined as so.

Anyone who claims to guarantee Internet anonymity is either deceptive or ignorant, regardless of what anonymizer software they use to implement whatever clever protocol using whatever kind of encryption.  A discussion of the debate of whether or not internet anonymity is part of our rights, or is it the right of other internet users who are not anonymous to know who is out there using the internet.  Perhaps the secret to Internet anonymity is having a common name.