The Difference Between Anonymity And Accountability

from the not-tied-to-each-other dept

Recently, it's seemed like online anonymity has been under attack. There's no doubt that people hide behind anonymity online to do bad things -- but it's not necessarily the anonymity that's the problem. Bruce Schneier has an essay up on Wired News pointing out that the real problem is accountability, which can still exist with anonymity, though historically the two have been intertwined. It's a good thing to remember the next time someone speaks out against online anonymity. Usually the problem is actually with accountability.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 10:01am

    Re: Anonymous versus Nickname

    The real point is as Bruce says in his article is the imperfect world.

    It simply is the need to be able to supply information without suffering recrimination by
    those in power.

    I think that people
    one can usually eventually determine the truth
    if you have enougt data -i.e. both the true statements and the false ones.

    I can suggest if is like having a newby who buys a product and complians if does not work.
    Other more knowledgable users will report on their success with the
    product. So good products can still be detected even if there is some mininformation.

    It is simple the process of making decisions with
    information send with noise. Engineering systems
    handle it well. So do people if they have the info.

    But the inperfection is the misuse of power - or the fear of misuse of power.

    Whether you are the CEO of a big corporation
    or a policeman, or the gov. you can misuse your power.
    e.g. the policeman who used the police
    data base to find people for his personal gain.

    It is the misuse of power which usually the reason for secrecy.

    What the internet permits - and this is good
    is to make it easier for individuals to
    be informed.

    Ebay shows a solution that works that tends to stop fraud without using identifification.

    The goal is to communicate accurate information
    over a noisy channel. Some messages may be wrong
    but if we can detect the incorrect ones then one
    can use the system for good.

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