Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When was anonymity online a right?

I see one of the main topics of the day (or perhaps yesterday) across many blogs has yet again been anonymity, and the news that the Times won a legal battle to "out" the identity of the Orwell Prize blog winner, Nightjack. Nightjack is one of the many police bloggers out there who, in his own words, has been a much more popular read after he won than when before.

What strikes me as the oddest thing though is line that some have taken which notes that bloggers have lost the "right" to anonymity. I say it's odd because I've never thought one had such a "right" in the first place. Sure, there are ways and means to remain anonymous, but I have never been one that thinks it is, ultimately a "right".

Iain Dale has also noted this may set a precedent for anonymous comment makers having their identity revealed. In fact, that precedent has already been set if I recall correctly in the case of a forum where someone was slagging off some football club chairman, and the forum was forced to disclose the IP addresses of the people making the comments.

Just like computer security, which can never be 100% secure, so to is it impossible to guarantee one will always remain 100% anonymous online. All you can ever do is make "best endeavours" to do so.

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