Anonymity online - is it for you?

  TOPCAT® 16:49 11 Sep 2005

Is possible to be totally anonymous online and is this really a desirable thing?
click here

There's more on this subject at ClickOnline (RealPlayer required) on the right of the page. They first discuss the merits of the latest processors, which could be helpful to the uninformed. TC.

  powerless 17:13 11 Sep 2005

I have no reason to be anonymous.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 17:47 11 Sep 2005

I have even less reasons to be anonymous and to be frank I don't give a pig's burp whether I am or not.


  Andybear 17:59 11 Sep 2005

I also have no reason to be anonymous. I shop on line so I'm not anyway!!

  octal 18:27 11 Sep 2005

I've no reason to be anonymous either, I'll say what I've got to say subject to common sense (unfortunately not very common these days) and points of law. But imagine living in a country were you don't have those rights, imagine how frustrating that can be not being able to voice your opinion on how good or bad your government is, we make a national sport out of it and we don't mind who knows about it. So maybe they have a use in these situations.

But, these programs aren't needed in a democratic society and if they are used, they are going to be used for the wrong reasons.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:12 11 Sep 2005

Every time you walk around a town you are watched by a minimum of 40 cameras.

Your name and address is on the electoral roll for all and sundry to see. You can be tracked to within 3 metres if your mobile phone is switched on.

There are at least 2 UK debt companies that have a better knowledge of your financial records than you.

If you use a Tesco 'loyalty card' (and possibly other stores) the Inland Revenue has access to your spending pattern.

There is a programme that costs around £300 that will list the address of virtually any person in the UK and you can, by a slightly roundabout way, get the name and address from a telephone number.

There are 47 Government departments that hold full records on your including illness and personal behaviour details.

ISP's have to keep ALL your emails for a minimum of 6 years.

Anonymiser, the programme, does not work as there is a simple way to defeat it.

So let's get real and stop muttering on about anonymity on the net...OK?


  powerless 19:48 11 Sep 2005

Photographer by day.

MI5 by night.

  sattman 19:57 11 Sep 2005

I guess that it probably is possible to be totally anonymous on line. The second part of your question is harder to answer. I can not think of any reason why the average law abiding citizen going about his or her normal busines would wish to be anonymous.

  stalion 20:40 11 Sep 2005

I watched clickonline last night and it does not look desirable for us to be anonymous on line as they say it's open to all sorts of uploading abuse

  TOPCAT® 22:11 11 Sep 2005

I believe online anonymity has much wider implications than some would believe. Here in the UK the responsible surfer has no need to hide his/her identity and only those of depraved mind or with criminal intentions would seek it.

The ability to conceal one's identity has opened the door to much freer communication than would otherwise be the case. Those living in a repressed country who cannot openly voice an opinion for fear of persecution, ostracism or embarrassment, are thus able to communicate about topics and in ways they would not risk otherwise.

As mentioned in the article, the US are visibly encouraging its use in China and Iran and I would guess that it is being secretly promoted by other developed countries including this one. TC.

  DieSse 01:13 12 Sep 2005

There is no general legal requirement to inform anyone of your identity, or even to let it be seen.

So it's just a matter of personal preference.

To the argument that it helps protect criminal activity - well criminals always will have ways to protect their activity - that's the point really - they disobey laws, being criminals. It's a bit like the anti-gun laws - they only harmed those who possessed guns and obeyed the law - the criminals still own guns.

I can imagine several circumstances, morally unexceptionable, where someone may want to conceal their identity, even in "civilised western countries"

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