Does online anonymity have a place on the internet?

Some anonymous hate from a Reddit profile.
  • Fake online identities — sockpuppets — can be used to infiltrate and monitor for defamation, bullying, and general nastiness in online hate communities. One of my previous freelance writing clients was a startup whose technology helped the law enforcement and intelligence communities to monitor the cesspools of hatred that foment on the dark web.
  • I support — and will continue to support — Amazon’s decision to allow indie authors to use pen names on KDP, thereby enabling vulnerable individuals with stories to tell (including, ironically, of abuse) to have their works see the light of day in a way that doesn’t compromise their personal safety.
  • Mental health and health: those suffering from mental health concerns and eating disorders may wish to join online peer groups.
  • Victims of abuse — precisely the kind that cyberbullying creates! — may wish to discuss their experience in peer communities without running the risk that their bullies, or others, will follow them there and continue the abuse.
  • Whistleblowers often have a legitimate need to share information anonymously. While some do so directly to journalists, others blow the lid on corporate malfeasance through leaking the information over the internet. One doesn’t have to think very hard to conjure up examples of this.

Can We Provide A Safe Online Community That Only Enables ‘White Hat’ Anonymity?

  • Submit government documentation for review
  • Submit utility bills to support the documentation
  • Submitted user data could be processed automatically by AI in a way that verifies the poster’s identity without providing human administrators with any clue as to who he or she is.
  • Provide grounds for abusive users to face charges for criminality for falsifying official documentation. In many jurisdictions this represents a prosecutable offence. This would create a powerful deterrent that would turn trolls away at the door.
  • Require users to put down digital breadcrumbs that would help to ascertain their real identity in the case of an investigation into harassment.
  • Facilitate safe anonymous internet use without prejudicing the welfare of others whom they encounter online.

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Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things. https://www.danielrosehill.com

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