On his analysis, Fontana (2014) asked simple but yet difficult to answer questions: ‘Where is that data stored? Who owns it? Who has access to it? And who is liable for its protection, unintended release or stealth aggregation’. He addressed that 25 billion devices to be connected by 2020; nevertheless, privacy and anonymity are two of the century biggest concerns. While anonymity armed with honesty is good for survey, justice and legal engagements where it encourage the criticizing, voting, performance evaluation for improvement or investigation purposes, applications like SnapChat, Secret App, Tinder and Tor are a fertilized soil of good and evil alike.
AlQassemi (2014) from UAE argues on “State” website that anonymity is dangerous and important at the same time; nonetheless, it needs ‘a delicate balance to be struck in order to protect individuals’ freedoms online and prevent misuse of the Internet’.
Applebaum (2014) reflected an important point of view of linking the cyberspace to offline world when he states that ‘anyone who writes online should be as responsible for his words as if he were speaking them aloud’.
It’s about responsibility which comes with real identity (Clapperton, 2013).
Indeed, MENA internet users comply to the charter of the human rights and principles of the internet resumed by iGmena’s (no date) in “Click Rights”: ‘everyone has the right to privacy online’ including the right to encryption, and online anonymity; not to forget self-assessment and transparency, ‘based on principles of openness, inclusive participation and accountability’ of information posted. These are ethical principles that apply on individuals and groups. The bottom line, ‘people are a product of what they read, learn, understand and experience’ iGmena (no date).
Cook (2010) claims that protecting the people’s domain of privacy without fear of been penalized and encouraging constructive behavior in online discussions are far progressive ‘than trying to chain people to their names’.
On the other hand, internet lawmakers should protect the end users identities and secure their communications as sacrosanct, because ‘if they do not, the Internet will become a universal tool of oppression instead of a tool of empowerment’ Rodrigues (2013).
Few months ago, anonymity has been discussed at Internet Governance 2014 (IGF2014). However, the cyberwar, to reveal or conceal identity, thus far without a definite winner between privacy activists, human rights defenders on internet, advocacy organizations and MENA’s governments.
So how to behave yourself on the internet?
- Ahmado, N (2014) With awareness and education, online anonymity does more good than harm Available at http://igmena.org/With-awareness-and-education-online-anonymity-does-more-good-than-harm [accessed 10 December 2014]
- AlHussaini, (2014) A Erdogan Vows to ‘Wipe Out’ Twitter in Turkey, Global Voices Online, 24 Mar. Available at http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/23/erdogan-vows-to-wipe-out-twitter-in-turkey/ [accessed 11 December 2014]
- AlQassemi (2014), S Anonymity on the internet State, Dec. Available at https://state.com/signup/1Xw8wRgQsGJ0g?campaign=SO_1Xw8wRgQsGJ0g&utm_campaign=shareable_object&utm_source=site&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=variant%3A1XjVTDQTsQ800%2Cid%3A1Xw8wRgQsGJ0g%2Ckind%3Aunknown [accessed 11 December 2014]
- Applebaum, A (2014) The Trolls Among Us, Salte, 28 Nov. Available at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/11/internet_trolls_pose_a_threat_internet_commentators_shouldn_t_be_anonymous.html [accessed 11 December 2014]
- Ballard, B (2014) Iran to end Internet anonymity IT ProPortal, 12, Dec. Available at http://www.itproportal.com/2014/12/08/iran-threaten-internet-anonymity-identifying-countrys-online-users/#ixzz3LWCwmOM7 [accessed 10 December 2014]
- Clapperton, G & Kates, K (2013) Should we have the right to anonymity online? Engineering and Technology Magazine. Available at http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2013/09/debate.cfm [accessed 11 December 2014]
- Cook, M (2010) In defence of anonymity online The Guardian, March 14. Available at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/mar/17/protecting-online-anonymity [accessed 13 December 2014]
- Coursen, S (2014) Diving Int The Deep Web [image]. Available at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141208185539-11537006-diving-into-the-deep-web?trk=prof-post [accessed 10 December 2014]
- Fontana, J. (2014) Internet of Things rich with folly, ripe with concerns zdnet, 12 Nov. Available at http://www.zdnet.com/article/internet-of-things-rich-with-folly-ripe-with-concerns/ [accessed 09 December 2014]
- Golby, J (2014) How to Behave Yourself on the Internet in 2014 Vice, 14 Oct. Available at http://www.vice.com/read/internet-etiquette-in-the-21st-century-joel-golby-273?utm_source=vicetwitterus [accessed 11 December 2014]
- ICTQatar (2014) The attitudes of online users in the MENA region to Cybersafety, Security and Data Privacy [full report] Available at http://www.ictqatar.qa/sites/default/files/cybersafety_security_and_data_privacy_-_full_report_1.pdf [accessed 12 December 2014]
- iGmena (no date), Click Rights Available at http://igmena.org/click-rights [accessed 12 December 2014]
- Najem, M (no date), Online anonymity: An essential tactic for protecting human rights, iGeman, Available at http://igmena.org/Online-anonymity-An-essential-tactic-for-protecting-human-rights [accessed 11 December 2014]
- Rodriguez, K (2013) Anonymity, Encryption, and Free Expression: What Nations Need to Do EFF, 6 June. Available at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/anonymity-encryption-and-free-speech-what-nations-need-to-do [accessed 12 December 2014]
- Rothrock, K (2014) Russia Offers 4 Million Rubles to Crack the Tor Network Global Voices Advocacy 24 July. Available at http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2014/07/24/russia-offers-4-million-rubles-to-crack-the-tor-network/ [accessed 12 December 2014]
This post was originally prepared as part of HIVOS INTRODUCTION TO INTERNET GOVERNANCE 1410 (B), FINAL ASSIGNMENT.