The Power & Price of Anonymity Online 1/3

Source: Coursen, 2014

Source: Coursen, 2014

Free use of the Internet has opened the way for the creation and accumulation of innovation and spread of knowledge. Though that it facilitates social, cultural and political interactions across the world, today, this freedom is in jeopardy due to the desire of Internet providers (IP) to play the role of censorship, surveillance and preference of some services over others in name of public and nation protection.

The public privacy concerns against IP management should not encourage the internet companies neither the governments to censor the network content or monitor communications. In the other hand, it is of importance to maintain this useful technology to its core principles to stay open and free for all, but then again through human ethical manners and not to anonymous trolls (Applebaum, 2014).

The ethical dilemma of the right to anonymity hides behind various excuses and represent a democratic challenge. It ranges from fear of government brutal against activist on social media (Arab Spring Uprising), religious persecution, criminal traffic, cyber bullies, corruption scandals, political leaks exposure, commercial frauds, offense comments, LGBT rights, and human rights of freedom of expression.

Rothrock (2014) addressed the dark side when the people provided the means to escape censorship and spying. ‘The same [VPN] network is also used by people engaged in organized crime, drug trafficking, and the exchange and sale of child pornography’ while Cook (2010) affirms the right of anonymity choice because it ‘gives the freedom to know what people really think’. And ‘it’s the essence of democracy’.

In general, anonymous person enjoys the disclosure of personal history and a space of free embarrassment that helps to provide an isolated room to bridge the impact of his/her legally prohibited actions and avoid physical or social risk, particularly in countries with low margin of freedom of expression. Yet, internet users who use to hide identity by changing IP addresses or blocking cookies should remember that these techniques might not be enough to erase the trace of internet activity.

This post was originally prepared as part of HIVOS INTRODUCTION TO INTERNET GOVERNANCE 1410 (B), FINAL ASSIGNMENT.

About Rami Alhames

I'm a Syrian Brazilian, Freelance Translator and Social media contributor @GlobalVoices @GVinArabic, Meedan, in Portuguese, Arabic and English.
This entry was posted in Culture & Life, Eudcation & Human Rights and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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