Is Anonymity Too Dangerous to Be Allowed?
There are some influential voices saying that there is no longer a place for anonymity or even pseudoanonymity on the Internet.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and other prominent figures in social media have expressed this publicly.
In a CNBC interview in December of 2009, Schmidt said,
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
At the Techonomy conference in August of 2010, then Google CEO Schmidt said,
"The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity," Schmidt said. "In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."
Randi Zuckenberg, sister to Mark Zuckenberg and, until recently, marketing director of Facebook, expressed similar opinions in a widely reported Marie Claire panel on 7/26/2011, saying that cyberbullying would stop when people knew their real names would be attached to whatever they did online.
“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."1
There are also bills under consideration in Congress that would require ISPs to permanently keep information on users; the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. Aside from the fact there are already legal ways to request information on users when there is a legitimate belief they have involvement in child pornography, that information would be a tremendous -- and currently illegal -- invasion of privacy.