The Influence Of Anonymity On The Internet

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Anonymity as a Necessary Evil The Internet is filled with people that cannot be normally identified. They are essentially disembodied voices that speak when not spoken to and provide opinion even when they do not have a valid one to present, Anonymity is a necessary evil as it allows people to freely express opinion without retaliation, allows people to share information, and for the preservation of personal freedom. The United States guarantees a right to the freedom of speech. This means that anyone in the United States can say whatever they want without fear of government retaliation or censorship. Other nations, like China, do not guarantee this right to their citizens. Though China has gone through lengths to deny their citizens of …show more content…
The Internet opens up an avenue for these people through anonymous forums. Consider passengers on the subway. One wishes to get something off of their chest and they may use other passengers to do so. This is because they are essentially random people that may never meet again in their lifetime, so it is safe to share secrets with one another. This is what happens on the Internet if two people meet on a forum on which they can share secrets and personal stories. If one responds negatively to information, the other may just sign off and forget about it. Otherwise, a new relationship may be kindled between these two users (Schnorr). This helps those that may be timid to open up and find connections that may be of value to them (Palme). Many justice systems open up anonymous hotlines that allow citizens to call in with information that may be important to a case. Obviously, it is in the best interest of the system to protect the identities of “tippers” for their own safety and for more information that they may reveal (Rigby). John A. Bargh, a social psychology professor at Yale University is a major proponent of internet anonymity (Schnorr). He believes that anonymity allows users to find their “true self.” The user can often share negative, and sometimes taboo, aspects of themselves without too much fear of rejection (Schnorr). Tor is an open network that …show more content…
There are many examples of the negative effects of anonymity. It was mentioned previously that the majority of Tor users simply use the network to surf the Internet without fear of their activity being traced. Tor was originally created by the US Government to anonymously view the Internet, but they were forced to release the software to the public so that it would be completely anonymous (LEMMiNo). Criminals, unfortunately, have made use of this anonymous network. They created several sites only reachable by the use of Tor. One example is Silk Road and its iterations. Silk Road is a website for the distribution of illegal substances. The US government managed to arrest the administrators of the original Silk Road, but other iterations of the site have been coming up again (LEMMiNo). There is also evidence of large networks for the distribution of child pornography and human trafficking (Peters). The unfortunate truth is that due to the nature of anonymity and Tor it is not possible to completely discern the good and the bad. For the good that anonymity is one must also accept its dark side as well because anonymity is far too important when it comes to the personal freedoms of citizens of the world. People stand to lose much more than the criminals would if anonymity were to be stripped from

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