Originally posted 2011-02-15 13:30:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Glenn Reynolds links-n-thinks:
ESTHER DYSON: Internet anonymity is like abortion. â€œIâ€™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 itâ€™s not something one wants to encourage.â€
Maybe that’s why we’re not-so-pro-choice here. (We happen to reject the nomenclature anyway so don’t get us started.) Not “everybody” should have “the right to” Internet anonymity. We’ve long objected to the anonymity premise, because not nearly enough weight is assigned its potential costs in a modern communication regime, as opposed to in the pre-Internet era.
That doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate Internet anonymity’s value in certain circumstances. But, like abortion, we should distinguish between cases where a departure from a general rule of prohibition is justified. Let’s don’t posit a dubious “right” when at most we mean a desideratum and, more likely, we mean something regarding which reasonable people can disagree — anonymously or otherwise.