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Anonymity Needs To Go

January 30, 2013

anonymityAnonymity should not be the norm, says Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

This is what the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, said is what is required on social networking sites in order for the internet to advance. He argues that as more data becomes available online, more transparency is necessary for disclosure of identities.

“When you look at cyber bullying, you feel that someone who is bullying you should not be anonymous,” Sir Tim said. “If someone is libeling, you feel you should have the right to expose them.” “But what happens if you are working for an oppressive company or country? You should have the right to blow the whistle.”

“People should have anonymity up to a point so long as they don’t use it recklessly,” he said. “Existing harassment and defamation laws are more than capable of addressing people who misbehave online”, he also says.

The internet should be made safe for all users but anonymity leaves open the opportunity to engage in unscrupulous activities to the detriment of others. Education plays a large part in internet use but the transparency should be in place to help restrict the negative use of the internet.

Existing harassment and defamation laws are more than capable of addressing people who misbehave online, he said.

Tim Berners-Lee has in the past been very critical of governments on withholding information from the public. This also pertains to social networking sites holding large amounts of personal data which they “own”.

“One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don’t,” he told The Guardian in April last year. He also said that users should demand all of their inaccessible data back from Google, Facebook and other social networks.

The question remains, “ Who decides which information remains private and which information is made public?”. At the moment it seems that the large companies such as Google and Facebook have the upper hand and they are making it very difficult for individuals to keep control of their own personal data.


Filed in: General

About the Author:

Christopher is an IT specialist with 30 years of experience in developing technology working with corporates and SME’s. Chris is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, as well as numerous certificate based qualifications in technology and application development. Christopher is the CEO of internetSOS - A project to help people learn how to protect themselves online.

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