I ask that question because Dr Dawg thinks internet anonymity should be busted.
And he's in good company. So does Facebook.
I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away… People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.
And so does Google.
Now I understand where Dr Dawg and the others are coming from. I'm frequently appalled by some of the vicious garbage on the internet. Nobody should be able to defame someone or bully someone online. And get away with it.
But here's the thing eh? If you are defamed or bullied online you probably should use the legal system to punish those responsible. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, punishing all kinds of innocent people. And playing into the hand of Big Business and Big Government.
Because there are many, many, many, good reasons to remain anonymous.
And the marginalized and the oppressed of this world have the most to lose.
What’s at stake is people’s right to protect themselves, their right to actually maintain a form of control that gives them safety. If companies like Facebook and Google are actually committed to the safety of its users, they need to take these complaints seriously. Not everyone is safer by giving out their real name. Quite the opposite; many people are far LESS safe when they are identifiable. And those who are least safe are often those who are most vulnerable.
And there’s nothing acceptable about those who are most privileged and powerful telling those who aren’t that it’s OK for their safety to be undermined.
Now try to imagine what the internet would look like if the marginalized were excluded, and it was the musty preserve of privileged people. Yup. BOOOOOOORING.
As for me... I'm not really anonymous, people know my first name, where I live, and I use my full name on other internet sites. But when I started blogging I decided to do so anonymously because I was afraid that some crazy homophobe might turn up on my doorstep, with a Bible ....or a GUN.
And sure enough one did try to track me down, and had to be caught and
Although I do worry that Big Business wants to know more about you than even your closest friends.
The kind of naming policy that Facebook and Google Plus have is actually a radical departure from the way identity and speech interact in the real world. They attach identity more strongly to every act of online speech than almost any real world situation does.
So they can sell you stuff.
And what I think is even more alarming is that Big Government wants to blow up anonymity as well. Because they have seen how the internet can be used to organize protests and Arab Springs. How it can make the youth move as one. So they're cracking down EVERYWHERE.
As in Canada.
Because let there be absolutely no doubt, if the Harper Cons allow the police to search computers without a proper warrant, it will be the beginning of the end of internet freedom in Canada. Police will use their new powers to the max. Who can blame them eh? And they WILL be abused.
The writing is on the wall all over the world.
As in if we don't stop them, a wall, in a dark and secluded place, will be the only place you will be able to publish your opinions and remain anonymous....
Yup. When Big Business, Big Government AND Dr Dawg want to bust anonymity, the writing really is on the wall.
But at least the good doctor has started a conversation that we all need to have. Before it's too late.
Would you blog, or write comments, if you couldn't be anonymous? Think about it.
Internet freedom baby.
Fight for it or lose it....