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It is no secret that the internet has a very vile side. Specifically, in the blogging community people will badger bloggers in attempts to get attention or voice their opinions (even if it is in a rude, disgusting, or despicable). The way Stewart Lee was spoken about was truly awful and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone but, the internet (blogging included) is a double edged sword. With a blog any blogger can write about what every they want, the same is true for its readers. This brings up the complication of censorship. Should we block those that say these things? Or.. Should we allow the internet community to defend itself. For every “troll” out there, there is a large number of regular community members that know he/she is spewing garbage and shouldn’t be given the time of day. When people comment on the inflammatory statements it gives the troll what they want, attention. The anonymity of the internet allows people to act without being held accountable for their actions. This is why there is a new breed of person that says awful things. It is the same concept of hate mail. People who don’t have to worry about their image act with no morals and feel relatively guiltless. The author talks about this in the article saying it is through the concept of deindividuation, where people, when given anonymity will act recklessly. As a solution some have suggested that getting rid of anonymity completely and link your name to whatever account you want to comment on. Sites have began to do this by connecting your comment to Facebook and making you accountable by showing your peers what you say online. I think that it will work to some degree but I don’t believe it to be the best solution. Sometimes anonymity can help people say what they actually feel without being chastised. Just because some people abuse it does not mean it should be ruined for everyone. Some good can come out of undisclosed sources.

I feel that getting rid of anonymity completely on the internet makes a dangerous precedent that could be detrimental to how people use the internet. Means of anonymous communication have been around for a long time even before the internet. Real identity laws have been enacted in South Korea, meaning that all social network accounts have been linked to their real identities. Hackers were able to obtain much of their data and steal 85% of Koreans information. That is an incredible invasion of privacy which had extreme consequences. Although I don’t like how internet anonymity is used in some aspects, I still think that it is an important part of internet freedom.  This is an interesting paper from the digital freedoms website that was about this same issue.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9413040/Online-anonymity-is-ugly-but-its-vital-for-free-speech.html

http://digitalfreedoms.idebate.org/digitalfreedoms/mtt/paper

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