Web Anonymity

Since the advent of the Internet, people are getting much of the info from online sites such as BBC news or Wikipedia. Social networking sites are also created to make the world a closer and bonded community. The rising popularity of such online sites is often associated with web anonymity, which is to prevent other users from knowing your real identity when surfing the net. People are free to interact online anonymously or at the very least, use pseudonyms to protect your true identity. However, this policy is now under attack from social networking companies such as Facebook and Google (who created Google+). They have made several attempts to crack down on people trying to use pseudonyms rather than their full identities.

This act has led to many arguments on social networking sites and microblogging sites such as Twitter. Many online users are debating over this issue, whether it is right to curtail Web anonymity or not. The opposition argues that the right to Web anonymity when voicing opinions help prevent victimization – which is a good thing. People who released their full identities are often mocked at because of their ‘naive’ comments, and in some cases, it can become homicidal in the sense that the derided user commits suicide. As such, anonymity can be a shield from the tyranny of the majority. Also, if everyone of us not only had to be identified, but could be traced using IP addresses or other security services, freedom of speech and expression would suffer. The curtailment of Web anonymity can be a sign of opposing the growing democratic world.

Proposition of the argument states that governments and law-enforcement agencies have other methods and mechanisms to track down criminals, whether they are inciting riots on social networks such as the Arab Spring in Middle East region (early 2011), sending pornography and spam emails that contain viruses, hacking or infringement of privacy or stealing/scamming money over online transactions. There is no need for everyone to hold an identity card online. They also argue that that anonymity increases the incentives for any online user to behave badly, despite the efforts of the government and law-enforcement agencies to curb these. Anonymity also makes it harder to know about other people’s conflicts of interest and how seriously their views should be taken.

So what’s your stand on this? Is it right or wrong to curtail Web anonymity? Is authenticity more important than anonymity online? If so, how is it beneficial or disadvantageous to one if one chooses any side?

Here’s the link to the article on “It is right to curtail Web anonymity” : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f3637672-d31e-11e0-9ba8-00144feab49a.html#axzz1yPACMM7m

Here’s the link to the article on “Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity

Here’s the link to the article on “Lawmakers call for an end to Internet anonymity”: http://mashable.com/2012/05/23/internet-anonymity/

Here’s the link to the article on “Internet Revolution – the war on web anonymity”: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/internet-evolution-the-war-on-web-anonymity-a-778138.html

Here’s the link to the article on “The internet’s two-sided freedom”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/15/internet-freedom-anonymity-bullying?newsfeed=true

Here’s the link to the article on “Anonymous to protect internet censoring in 16 Indian cities…”: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-06-09/news/32140719_1_government-websites-anonymous-facebook-page

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