Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Esther Dyson Grudgingly Defends Internet Anonymity

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the shall-I-compare-thee-to-a-summer's-day? dept.

Privacy 516

An anonymous reader writes "In an interview, Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings, describes anonymity on the Internet as similar to abortion: a bad practice that people should still have rights to. Calling anonymity one of the greatest disappointments of the Internet's evolution, Dyson said: 'I'm pro choice, but I think abortion is an unfortunate thing. I think the same thing about anonymity: Everybody should have the right to it, but it's not something one wants to encourage.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why Not? (4, Interesting)

zach297 (1426339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082527)

Why not encourage anonymity? It doesn't affect anyone so why not encourage it?

Re:Why Not? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082609)

But the same could be said of abortion.

No, the nonliving mass of cells in the woman's uterus doesn't count.

Re:Why Not? (5, Insightful)

sneezinglion (771733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082763)

But the same could be said of abortion.

No, the nonliving mass of cells in the woman's uterus doesn't count.

I think the problem some people have with abortion is that it IS a living mass of cells

I think what you meant to say is the non-self aware mass of cells in the woman's uterus does not count.

Re:Why Not? (5, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082665)

Here's a test for you:

On Slashdot Post:
"IMO Linux is a joke and will never amount to anything that could even remotely compete with MS software"

At any tech user group meeting stand up and say:
"IMO Linux is a joke and will never amount to anything that could even remotely compete with MS software"

And then come back and say that "anonymity doesn't affect anyone"

-Rick

Re:Why Not? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083177)

IMO Linux is a joke and will never amount to anything that could even remotely compete with MS software.

There. Anonymity doesn't affect anyone.

Re:Why Not? (1)

Atti K. (1169503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083267)

There. Anonymity doesn't affect anyone.

I would say "Post anomymously" doesn't affect anyone.

Re:Why Not? (4, Funny)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083343)

You're still alive, aren't you?.

Now you know the difference.

Re:Why Not? (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083247)

Okay, I just tried this, and DAMN I see the light now. I now fully appreciate anonymity and its ability to keep my person and my clothes free from frothing spittle, multiple-chin sweat, and greasy cheetos stains.

Though standing a little closer to the door would have had largely the same effect as anonymity. They didn't exactly surge after me like a pride of lions.

Re:Why Not? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083295)

So may people incorrectly think that the powerful deserve to be defended from the powerless, completely losing sight of the fact that it is unnecessary since the powerless are incapable of attacking the powerful. These well meaning people are merely reinforcing the inequity. With anonymity the person in your example at least has the option of making their comment. Without anonymity the powerless person loses the power to make the comment, even it it is true, because it they do they will have to defend themselves against the powerful.

Hint: The vast majority of attacks on anonymity that you hear come from powerful people. This is because the powerless generally do not have a voice. Powerful people have a vested interest in maintaining their power.

The problem is not anonymity. The problem is that people need to learn to think critically and evaluate everything that is said to them. That way they can spot BS, whether it comes from an anonymous source or not.

Re:Why Not? (5, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082907)

Why not encourage anonymity?

Because it also encourages the lack of accountability that goes along with it.

Or, put more crudely. [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Why Not? (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083215)

It also encourages people to be able to speak freely without fear of persecution. Without anonymity it would be impossible for whistleblowers to out evil empire corps without losing their jobs and probably never being hired again. Without anonymity we wouldn't have vitriolic bloggers; we wouldn't have this fantastic forum of discourse where we can speak our minds and not worry about being smacked with a lawsuit (well, not including the video professor). It's like the original Forum of Greek polises (polisi? poli?)- no matter how crazy your ideas you can always find someone with whom to discuss them, and it made Greece better for it.

And anyway, non-anonymity is vapid and trite. Plastering your name over everything you do, waving your tiny banner as hard as you can trying to get people's attention and adoration.. it's pretty pathetic. Just toss in your little contribution and disappear into the crowd with the rest of us.

Re:Why Not? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083347)

Everyone hates tripfags

Re:Why Not? (1)

Robin47 (1379745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083351)

Think secret ballot then. Sometimes anonymity is a good thing.

Re:Why Not? (4, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083415)

Why not encourage anonymity?

Because it also encourages the lack of accountability that goes along with it.

it's only been six weeks since the u.s. election -- and already people are forgetting the importance of anonymity.

in the united states, indeed in every western democracy, ballots are secret. no one questions this anonymity -- indeed, it's mandated by law.

the reason we have secret ballots is simple: the framers of the constitution (any western constitution) realized that people could only truly vote their conscience, express their political preference, if they could do so without fear of reprisal or ridicule. anonymity is a cornerstone of a free and democratic society.

it's kind of a shame that ms. dyson doesn't realize that.

Re:Why Not? (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082927)

Why not encourage anonymity? It doesn't affect anyone so why not encourage it?

Anonymity is important because it gives people the power to say un-popular things that need to be said without getting mob-lynched for it.

However, people abuse anonymity too. People act *much* differently when being anonymous, and it's usually not for the better.

Re:Why Not? (1, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083259)

Who cares how you act? It's words; nothing you say is going to make someone's monitor explode in their face. This is the internet, not a town hall where only the person with the baton can speak.

Re:Why Not? (0)

nsayer (86181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083035)

Why not encourage abortion?

I'd like to go further and encourage retroactive abortion while we're at it. It would make The Soup [wikipedia.org] even more interesting, if that were possible.

This post is full of irony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082537)

When you see it, you will shit bricks.

Re:This post is full of irony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082547)

[original research]

Is she related to... (4, Interesting)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082545)

Is she related to Freeman Dyson, (inventor of the Dyson Sphere)

Re:Is she related to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082683)

Daughter of.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther_Dyson

Re:Is she related to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082725)

RTFA it is in the first paragraph. Oh yeah, this is /., nvm.

Re:Is she related to... (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082889)

Posting to undo an accidental mod...damned wheely mouse.

Re:Is she related to... (5, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083045)

Is she related to Freeman Dyson, (inventor of the Dyson Sphere)

No. If you FTFA, you will note that she is actually the offspring of a woman and a demonic Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Is there anyone who doesn't? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082565)

I'm pro choice, but I think abortion is an unfortunate thing.

No, really? Is there anyone who is pro choice who doesn't feel the same way? I mean, I've never heard anyone who was honestly "pro-abortion," just "pro-having the option when life hits the fan."

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082703)

Yes. I don't consider abortion unfortunate and have absolutely no problems with it.

Posting AC to spare myself the deluge of hate speech and flames.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082733)

I'm as pro-abortion as I am "pro-removal of any other organ of your body". At least, until the fetus becomes a person (again, difficult to define, but you can see the difference, no?) as while both are alive, they are biologically alive and not both thinking entities which is often a hidden meaning often used when people speak of "life" regarding the abortion debate.

I think a lot of the abortion debate is people confusing what they mean by "life"...

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (0, Flamebait)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082747)

I don't see how less people is a bad thing when our planet is so overpopulated already that we're seriously looking at running out of important resources within the next decade. Which does not even begin to mention that unwanted children are probably not going to turn out to be upstanding citizens.

I, personally, am proud to be pro-abortion. Babies may be cute, but some day they'll grow up.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082821)

I, personally, am proud to be pro-abortion. Babies may be cute, but some day they'll grow up.

Much in the way that I am extremely pro-abortion when the parents are religious.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082767)

I don't think it's an unfortunate thing, at least not any more unfortunate than wearing a condom. Why would it be?

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (2, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082793)

Have you ever known someone who's had an abortion? I think few people with that experience would put it in the same category of unfortunateness as using a condom.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082951)

My GF has had an abortion. No big deal. Her words.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083011)

I agree. Extracting the fetus was much easier.

Thank god for anonymity. I'd never post something like this if I were in character. Ending anonymity would mean the end of vitriol. Wouldn't want that.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082811)

I consider wearing a condom to be very unfortunate.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083159)

John McCain thinks there are people who feel that way. Remember his references to "pro-abortion" in the debates? I had never suspected there was a third camp (pro-choice, pro-life, pro-abortion) in the abortion debate, until he informed me.

Re:Is there anyone who doesn't? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083315)

I've known a few people who had an abortion, almost all of them thought of it as sad but necessary; one was a crazy cunt who was actually proud of it in a horrible way; another was an asshole who thought of purely as "the girl's problem" and didn't even want to be involved. So there are people out there who are pro-abortion, but they are rare in my experience.

Anonymity Overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082583)

Yeah, Anonymity sure is overrated.

You can't attack people who say things that put you in a bad light.

Re:Anonymity Overrated (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082669)

Sure you can, jerk.

Re:Anonymity Overrated (1, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083257)

You guys are total fuckwad assholes.

WAITASEC WHERES THE AC CHECKBOX

Wha..... (5, Funny)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082597)

So you're saying by posting anonymous cowardly then I'm advocating abortion?

I almost feel as sorry as when I heard that god kills kittens when I masturbate... those poor kitties.... millions of poor dead kitties... :(

Re:Wha..... (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082649)

damnit... I meant to check Post Anonymously to make it ironic or something... damnit!

Re:Wha..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082707)

damnit... I meant to check Post Anonymously to make it ironic or something... damnit!

Fixed that for ya. :-)

Re:Wha..... (2, Funny)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082945)

Actually, every time you don't masturbate, god kills a kitten. Think of the kittens.

Re:Wha..... (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083091)

If that's what you think about when you masturbate, you have issues~

Re:Wha..... (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083191)

The phrase is actually Every time you masturbate... God kills a kitten [wikipedia.org] .

Perhaps you're confusing this with SchrÃdinger's cat, which may or may not die every time you masturbate, depending on whether masturbation counts as observation. Kinky, huh? (Additionally, he may or may not have an o with an umlaut instead of an Ã, if you're observing from websites with better Unicode support).

Or perhaps you're confusing this whole thing with Kitten Huffing [wikia.com] which is the main reason behind Australia's internet filter.

It's all very confusing, really.

Re:Wha..... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083301)

And every time you kill a kitten, God...uhm. ^_^

Re:Wha..... (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083309)

Actually, every time you don't masturbate, god kills a kitten. Think of the kittens.

Well then if you see a dead kitten, it isn't my fault.

Re:Wha..... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083153)

millions of poor dead kitties...

That's not something you should be proud of. But, it would make for an awesome t-shirt.

You Go Girl! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082623)

Esther is my hero! My Foxy hero!

Anonymity wouldn't be necessary if... (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082635)

Anonymity wouldn't be necessary if there weren't so many jackasses out there trying to get us all pregnant with ads, malware or the like. Anonymity is an important part of a user's self-defense when using the internet. So in a way, she is right... it is unfortunate that we need to defend ourselves, but we do. We absolutely need to protect ourselves.

Re:Anonymity wouldn't be necessary if... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082913)

I just don't understand what the problem with anonymous speech is. Or to put it another way, I don't understand what's so great about having a name and number attached to everything. Anonymous speech is NOT a necessary evil; it's nothing less than a fundamental prerequisite to freedom. Why? Because the only way to eliminate anonymous speech is through aggression. Coercion. Physical force.

Beyond that, anonymous speech is simply a concept which is neither inherently good or bad. It can be used for good, and it can be used for bad -- just like every other thing in life we do (including trackable speech).

I personally think the world would be a better place if there were more anonymous speech, not less. The mindset that anonymous speech is automatically less valuable than trackable speech is very alarming.

In conclusion, the only rational way to judge a person's words is by their meaning. If there happens to be a name signed to those words, it does not increase the value of those words in any logical way.

Re:Anonymity wouldn't be necessary if... (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083171)

In conclusion, the only rational way to judge a person's words is by their meaning. If there happens to be a name signed to those words, it does not increase the value of those words in any logical way.

Yes. Yes it does increase the value of the speech. Signing your name to something shows that you think its important enough to stand up to criticism. Its like putting up a deposit when you make an offer on a house. It shows you are serious, and that others should take the issue seriously too.

I agree (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082657)

I don't allow ACs on my own blog [technocrat.net] . And perhaps that is part of the reason that the signal/noise ratio is much better than here. There are still "handles", and in the end the only thing I have to identify most subscribers is an email (which can itself be anonymous). But even that much reduction in anonymity seems to prompt people to behave better.

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082701)

Nah! You're wrong and fuck you! Hehehehehe...

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082831)

That's a troll?

Guess it's the anonymous mods that you have to look out for;-)

Re:I agree (1)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082943)

OK but this doesn't *really* have anything to do with the right of people to remain anonymous? It's not the point whether this gives you better control over people, this is about rights. Antiright advocates all want to use it as a measure of control as well, you're just playing into their scheme.

Re:I agree (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083135)

Well, if we're going to talk about rights, I think we need to go farther than anonymity. How about the right to free speech? This is so abridged that regular people feel the need to speak anonymously, lest they be fired from their work, denied a new job, sued, etc. So, it seems to me that anonymity is a symptom of the problem rather than the fundamental right that is being violated.

Bruce

Re:I agree (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083119)

It also has to do with size and discussion topics.

Anonymity? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082685)

Microsoft rules.
Google and Apple suck.

I am a man who likes men.

George Bush was a great president.

His son was better.

Digg is the best place for all news.

I'm quite the opposite... (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082689)

Abortion, if you're not killing a person (tricky thing to define, I admit, but your arm is alive and removing ('aborting') it is no moral problem and I feel the same way about an unthinking fetus.

I don't understand the arguments that seem to justify murder for the woman's convenience, however, anymore than killing baby after birth for the woman's convenience is acceptable. Even in a future where a fetus can be transplanted into another mother I suspect the "pro-choice" crowd will insist that the mother can still choose to abort it.

Likewise, with anonymity, I think it's one of the best parts about the internet. It's hardly unfortunate that it makes it difficult for governments to track down dissenters, etc. Sure, people use it for bad things as well, but that's true of ANY freedom. Might as well suggest that "free speech is unfortunate thing that people should still have the right to." People will 'abuse' free speech in other different ways but it's still inherently a good thing.

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082937)

> It's hardly unfortunate that it makes it difficult for governments to track down dissenters, etc.

Um... While it's obvious you didn't RTFA, you could at least thought about the point being made by the quote in TFS. From TFA:

"...but it turns out anonymity really encourages bad behavior."

Who, even outside their right mind, would think that the best part of anonymity is the bad behavior and the unfortunate part is the fact that people can't track you down?

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (2, Informative)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083111)

John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com]

Now...owning a penis also encourages a lot of bad behavior. I think our right to own penises far outweighs any perceived right to not have to deal with penis owning assholes.

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082985)

It's hardly unfortunate that it makes it difficult for governments to track down dissenters, etc.

Perhaps her point was that it is unfortunate that such governments exist. Perhaps she is disappointed that people are not able to always post their honest opinions and perspectives without fear of serious repercussion.

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (5, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082997)

Wanna stop abortions of convenience? Give the father a right of writ of abortion. Give him the same ability under the law and that shit will stop tomorrow. "You're honor, I can understand my ex-girlfriend wanting to have my baby and I wish her well but I'm not at a point in my life where kids are plausible. I wish to invoke my right to abort my rights and responsibilities to this child. You know, the same option she not only has under abortion law but also adoption."

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (2, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083131)

I don't understand the arguments that seem to justify murder for the woman's convenience, however, anymore than killing baby after birth for the woman's convenience is acceptable.

Abortion is really an interesting topic for debate.

One the one hand, you've got the people in favor of it claiming that abortion isn't "killing" anything because the fetus isn't alive and thinking yet.
However, following that logic, then mothers should have the ability to "abort" a child for several months following the birth. Not until several months after birth do memories (a basic building block of sentience) begin to form.
Further along that path of thought; mothers (or guardians, I guess) should be allowed to "abort" children with severe mental disabilities. If these children could not pass a sentience test then, in following the logic of the pro-choice followers, there should be absolutely nothing wrong with having them killed for convenience.

A brave new world indeed.

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083151)

It's not a baby until it's born.
That's not an opinion, that's a technical fact. It's a fetus.

You can argue about aborting a fetus, but don't fall into the verbage trap anti-choice people try to pollute the conversation with.

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (2, Interesting)

nsayer (86181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083231)

but your arm is alive and removing ('aborting') it is no moral problem and I feel the same way about an unthinking fetus

You would have made a better argument with "unthinking embryo."

"Fetus" is a term that is applicable from about the 11th week of pregnancy all the way to childbirth. Is a 1 day pre-term baby an "unthinking fetuses?"

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083255)

I know this is getting OT, but your line of argument is less-than-satisfying. While I can grant your point that an arm is alive in the same way as an unthinking fetus is, your arm does not possess the potential to become a sentient being. A fetus does have such a potential. Such a potential for sentience is different than, say, a sperm or an egg in that a sperm or egg will not lead to sentience by themselves without some form of interference, viz., coitus and conception. A fetus, if left to grow normally in a mother's womb, that is, will lead to a sentient life unless some disease or physical trauma or abortion or other sort of interference prevents it from becoming so. We can not say the same about arms or sperm or eggs.

I am pro-choice as well, but your argument seems to miss the crux of the argument against abortion.

Re:I'm quite the opposite... (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083317)

Just for the record, I think mother's have a right to kill their babies. Infanticide is an ancient right of mothers and the modern obsession with interfering with parental duties is offensive.

until human beings can be trusted not to reprise (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082691)

anonymous posting is NEEDED.

there are many who want to silence those that post opposing views.

until we 'fix' that (it will never happen) - the ability to post without tracable info directly to yourself is a MUST HAVE.

she's dead wrong. this is a fundamental RIGHT, or should be considered as such.

the argument about spam is different and you don't solve one by 'ruining freedom'.

Re:until human beings can be trusted not to repris (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082947)

I think you missed her point. Or rather, missed that you agree with her point.

Her point, and yours, is that annonymity IS necessary BECAUSE there are those who would seek harm to those that post opposing view points. If there was no fear of reprisal, than annonymity wouldn't be so necessary. (Just like abortion wouldn't be so necessary if we'd teach comprehensive sex education. Funny how the same people oppose abortion and sex-ed.)

Re:until human beings can be trusted not to repris (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083377)

Funny how the same people oppose abortion and sex-ed.

Apparently their plan is to convince the entire world to stop having sex for fun. I don't see how they could possibly fail!

Re:until human beings can be trusted not to repris (1)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083077)

Your words:

she's dead wrong. this is a fundamental RIGHT, or should be considered as such.

Her words:

Everybody should have the right to it, but it's not something one wants to encourage.

I think you actually agree with each other on the primary point. You haven't made it clear where you stand on her more subtle point: does anonymity, which we all agree is essential, also have unfortunate negative side-effects? I'd say it does. Anonymity removes all incentive not to behave anti-socially. Anti-social behavior isn't always bad, but quite often it degrades the benefits of society.

Re:until human beings can be trusted not to repris (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083397)

[Anonymity] should be allowed. People should be able to make that choice, and there are many reasons to make that choice. If you live in an oppressive regime, you may well want people to be able to remain anonymous or have secret communications. But at the same time, it should not be encouraged, and it should be acknowledged that itâ(TM)s a response to a bad situation.

It would seem that she agrees.

AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082693)

except for the odd little fact that anonyminity turns perfectly regular folks into asshats.

you moron.

Esther Dyson and asshattery^Wanonymity (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082875)

except for the odd little fact that anonyminity turns perfectly regular folks into asshats.

Anonymity obviously isn't needed. Look at the examole from the article:

Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings, describes anonymity on the Internet as similar to abortion: a bad practice that people should still have rights to.

Dyson wasn't acting anonymously when she made the inflammatory comparison between anonymity and abortion - and only an asshole would do that.

I can be equally effective w/o being churlish: "Esther Dyson's opinions are a bad practice that she still has rights to." There, see - I didn't compare her opinions to abortion.

Contrast it with this: "Esther Dyson expressing an opinion is similar to an abortion: a bad practice that she should still have rights to." Big difference!

Umm... (3, Insightful)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082741)

Did he just compare not revealing your identity to strangers over the internet to killing unborn children?

Re:Umm... (1)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083185)

Well... this is what they call an "unreal moral dilemma" in ethics as far as I know. =)

Secret ballot (2, Insightful)

Uzbek (769060) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082757)

I would liken Internet anonymity to secret ballot. In case with secret ballot you exercise your voting rights without fear of persecution for your choice/beliefs. In case of Internet anonymity you exercise your freedom of speech without fear of persecution from the authorities. Criticizing government may not be a problem in a democratic society, but in many countries Internet is __the only__ place where people can do so without fear of persecution.

Her views on broadband is wrong! (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082797)

Broadband is not a technology issue, it's really a financial issue. How should it be funded? Should it be subsidized? I tend to think not. Broadband is a miraculous technology, and it ought to be able to pay its own way. We need competition; we also need attractive enough propositions [in which] companies will invest.

Broadband CAN pay for itself... and companies do spend money on infrastructure. The problem is that they won't put broadband everywhere. They only put it in places where they believe there will be a high rate of return on investment. "Cherry picking" leaving every place else without anything more than dialup which is barely acceptable for email. If the nation is to move forward and have broadband everywhere, companies will NEVER do it of their own volition. They have to be required to do so by government mandate. This is what utilities commissions are for. They just don't often include requirements for broadband... yet. And they should.

The internet isn't for the easily offended (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26082829)

I've been there from before the always-on net. Back from modem-to-modem days. I think what made the internet what it is, was the wild-west aspect. Anyone can stake a claim and work it the way they wanted, with no one to tell you "no."

I decided never to get upset by words. And that includes spam, which is not really that hard to deal with on the client end despite the whining and gnashing.

Now we got the masses, and they want us coloring between the lines and following the rules and not offending our sensibilities and they will suburbanize our net and kill it.

The fact the anonymity has to be defended at all, let alone grudgingly, means the end is near for the frontier. And that is what made the net special.

its like a mad libs... (3, Interesting)

WorkingDead (1393377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082871)

Every [employer] should have the right to [know what you did last weekend], but it's not something one wants to encourage.

Every [government] should have the right to [know your personal beliefs on every issue you have ever cared to discus], but it's not something one wants to encourage.

Every [corporation] should have the right to [research your life to be used for directed marketing], but it's not something one wants to encourage.

Every [insurance company] should have the right to [your medical history], but it's not something one wants to encourage.

I don't think many people like the symptoms, but maybe we should stay focused on the actual problem.

Retribution (3, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26082977)

As long as there's retribution in the form of everything from lawsuits to unmask those who disagree with corporations to HR departments including an "Internet Search" as part of the hiring practice anonymity on the Internet is the only way we can enjoy freewheeling and honest discussions.

Yes there will be bad actors on both sides, but I'll pay that price as opposed to the alternative.

While the discussion is necessary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083003)

I don't think that there is an alternative to technologically creating and defending anonymity against people and governments trying to eliminate it. Otherwise there will always be people who promise to uphold anonymity, but secretly they are prepared and willing to hand you over if it is to their advantage.

I couldn't (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083015)


I couldn't disagree more. Back in the day, when it was used by universities as a method of sharing knowledge, anonymity was not desired, but in todays world, where spam is king, and so much personal information is available at the fingertips, I myself, relish in my anonymity and obscurity.

For example, many years ago, I created a hotmail account with untrue personal data, and whenever I signed up for a forum, or subscription or anything that required an email, I supplied that. I still do, to this day. I am the last barrier of defense against the phishers and spammers and all those little script kiddies trying to put together a personal portfolio for identity theft etc..

I think he's a bit behind in the times, or he's behind a REALLY good firewall.

Mod -1 (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083203)

This post should be modded -1 flamebait as long as it has that sig.
It's DESIGNED to inflame in any topic.

It's not different then if I said:

I can sum it up in 3 words: God is a lie.

That would also inflame.

Re:Mod -1 (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083299)


I was going to retort, that your post is off-topic, however, upon further reflection, how apropriate, you don't have to worry about me driving to whatever buttfuck church you live in the basement of, as you are criticizing me behind the great big anonymity wall known as the internet.

I was going to change it anyways, and so you completely missed the point.

In Defense of the Anonymous Coward (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083033)

We are entering an age where everything will be recorded for eternity. Every word you speak, every transaction, any time you are in public in view of a CCTV camera or any time a friend of yours captures your image on their cellphone. It's only a matter of time before lax security at the corporations and governments that store the security will be breached and their promises of privacy will be meaningless. Your secrets will be easily found by any Google search. I want to make my opinion known without retailiation.

As far as defamation goes, why does anyone believe an anonymous source? An anonymous source which cannot be verified. Who cares if an anonymous source writes that you have sex with puppies on the Internet. Journalists spend a great deal of time and effort to maintain their credibility. Do we give everyone on the Internet the same degree of respect?

Child pornography is a huge problem. A huge problem which will not be solved at all by taking away anyone's privacy. Unfortunately, two perverts can exchange their collections using portable storage devices which will never touch the Internet. Why take away my privacy to implement a measure when criminals can just bypass it.

As far as terrorism goes, let the terrorists believe that they are communicating without giving up their identities. I'm not under the delusion that if the NSA really wanted to find me, they couldn't. I believe most terrorists avoid the Internet for this exact reason. Stripping the average person of their privacy will not catch terrorists. If everyone has their privacy protected(including terrorists), the terrorists are more likely to have a false sense of security and use the Internet, allowing governement action (with a warrant) to uncover their schemes. Otherwise you need an informant or deep cover agent. Take your pick.

I don't believe that piracy is an issue. I think most hardcore pirates are incorrigible and will never buy legitimate media. The people on the fence tend to pirate a bit and buy what they want. Think of it as marketing. They like first episode and then buy the box set because it fits nicely on their shelf. People actually do spend money sometimes.

You can take away my privacy if you can come up with a good reason. As far as I can see it, there isn't a good reason.

okay... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26083049)

We care what Esther Dyson thinks for exactly WHAT reason, now?

I kind of makes sense (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083085)

Much of this depends on the initial premise. For example, if women are expendable child bearers, then abortions are never necessary. If a women is raped, or if she is going to die, then that is not a big deal. Likewise, if all information must be controlled, then anonymity of any kind is bad, as it allows dissemination of information without the ability to retaliate.

OTOH, if birth control is widely available, pre natal care is available to all comers, and food, shelter, and education is given to all children, without question or exception, then one can imagine a world in which every child would be wanted. Likewise, if maximum information and open debate were seen as a asset, and everyone was encouraged to have their say, all everyone was honestly listened to, and no one would retaliate based on personal superstitions, then one could imagine a world in which everyone could be open and honest with their opinions.

In the real world, though, significant militant groups enjoy killing people who disagree with their superstitions. For example, groups have felt the right to kill people [armyofgod.com] who believe differently from them, following a tradition that killed the man that believed that the heart pumped the blood [faqs.org] . Clearly when the righteous feel the right to kill based on beliefs, anonymity is necessary.

But I will be a rebel and say that even in a perfect world where all superstition was gone, both anonymity and abortion would still have a place. No matter how careful and care full we are, there will still be that one case where a family might have to choose between the mother and unborn child.

Democracy depends on voter anonymity (2, Interesting)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083087)

The democratic voting process is typically conducted by anonymous poll. In this context, we recognize the crucial importance of anonymity in allowing all citizens to have an equal voice in decisions of common interest without fear of reprisal.

For decades I have actively promoted the usefulness of strong identity to secure many conceivable uses of the Internet. But voting is one example where both identity and privacy have to be maintained. I don't consider that a "bad practice" but an essential capability.

This is about Freedom of Speech (5, Insightful)

PolR (645007) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083099)

PJ has confessed she had to move six or seven times since starting to do Groklaw because she receives death threats she must take seriously. Anonymity is a defense against those jackasses that will bully you or worse in retaliation for spreading ideas they don't like and telling facts they don't want to be known. Insinuating that anonymity could be something dirty is nauseating. The right to anonymity is nothing less than a requirement to Freedom of Speech.

And yes the bullies and the issuers of threats are doing their misdeeds anonymously. It does not mean anonymity is wrong. Bullying and death threats are what is wrong.

Or to continue the analogy, kitchen knives are used to murder spouses. Should we consider kitchen knives bad?

Anoniminity isn't the problem (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083165)

People have thin skin, the desire for control, and the inability to look at context that's the problem.

Anonymity Protects Those That Tell the Truth (2, Interesting)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083189)

Anonymity Protects Those That Tell the truth from Persecution

Hmm... (-1, Flamebait)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083199)

Calling anonymity one of the greatest disappointments of the Internet's evolution, Dyson said: 'I'm pro choice, but I think abortion is an unfortunate thing. I think the same thing about anonymity: Everybody should have the right to it, but it's not something one wants to encourage.'"

Just proof that because one relative in a family is bright doesn't mean many of the others will be as well.

I've always been against abortion for a perfectly logical reason. It assumes that mothers have the legal right to terminate their child's life any time through such and such time frame of it's development. I believe that only the state has the right to terminate the lives of criminals. I just don't that that mothers should have the right to terminate the little unborn children for the crime of picking the wrong uterus to grow in.

I believe that sterilization should be mandatory for anyone that does chose to have their offspring terminated.

If you are pro choice flip it around and extend it all the way:
If your mother has the right to kill you at 6 weeks development, why shouldn't she or the other partner have the right to kill you at any time after your birth?

I believe in prevention, but just because you screwed up your birth control, doesn't mean that you need rights to kill developing humans. Of course, I don't think biological mothers should have nearly the rights that they think that they do. If they don't want the child, it shouldn't be killed, that's wasteful, the state should take it and raise it to their standards. The "state" is defined in this case as your surrounding community. If we as a community decide that all orphans are going to be feed into a meat processing plant, that's what would happen. If we as a community decide that we want to fund orphanages to raise those kids as productive citizens despite their parent's wishes, then that's what would happen.

Never apologize for freedoms... (5, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083243)

Freedom is never the problem. It is the solution.

Oppression is the problem. When someone uses their free speech rights to trample the rights of others (i.e. libel, etc...), the problem is not that they have free speech. The problem is always a matter of the actual harm caused by said speech.

Likewise, when people use their anonymity on the internet to hide their crimes against others, the problem is not a matter of anonymity, but rather, the crime committed in the first place. The value of a society where speech is effectively anonymous far outweighs the loss caused by the occasional criminal who uses it to hide from law enforcement.

Before the internet, and even today, one can send hate mail through the postal service *anonymously*. We didn't shut down the Post Office when the Unabomber used it to send bombs to people, instead, the FBI went looking for the perpetrator.

I can't help but wonder if Ted Kazinksi (sp?) would have become an internet troll rather than the Unabomber, had he been born 20 years later.

From time to time, there are people who suggest that we could catch criminals if we eliminated anonymity. They are lying or just plain naive. The fact is, if you remove anonymity from one medium, criminals will use another. Think about that for a moment. Now, in the era of the internet troll, frustrated individuals take out their passions online, rather than sending bombs through the mail. Which would you rather have?

I don't care who you are... (2, Interesting)

silanea (1241518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083269)

...I only care what you say.

Why does it make a difference whether the author of a statement reveals their identity? It doesn't make their statement any truer or falser, any more or less relevant, any better or worse presented.

And frankly, if the poster above me had signed their contribution with their full name, address, phone number, finger print and bust size/penis length I still wouldn't have a clue who the hell they are. Identity on the Internet doesn't mean shit.

Why? (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083271)

Why not??

Its plain stupid to think that one shouldnt encourage anonymity. Of course we should encourage it for people that need it and we sure as HELL need to warrant it as an inalienable right of the netizen.

Stupid people wants cyberspace to work like meatspace and, in the process, want to fuck everyone else up.

YES, its MORE IMPORTANT that trolls are respected, than to take care of "the children" online.

We do not forbid bungee jumping. We just know who can and who cannot get up on one.

The internet is a dangerous place, children should not roam it alone. If you worry about the kind of shit they are exposed to, ask yourself where the fuck the parents are.

I pretty much agree with her (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 5 years ago | (#26083303)

Of the vital and necessary freedoms, anonymity is one of the least valuable. It's sort of like the right to own a machine gun. We need to keep it available and overthrow any government that tries to take it from us, but we almost never actually need to use it. It's one of those "just in case" kind of things.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?