Is there a ‘right’ to anonymity?

This article explores how the development of information technology, especially interactive computers, changes the privacy environment as experienced by individuals and the policy implications of these changes. External entities, such as governments and commercial industries, that ‘invade’ people’s rights to be left alone are of less concern now than individuals who voluntarily give up their privacy by willingly providing personal information for other benefits on the internet. Also, in the interactive environment, intended and unintended activities of more diversified and less easily identifiable entities have become more of a threat to individual privacy. In this new environment, rather than ‘providing’ privacy for passive individuals, a more user-oriented, active approach is needed to help users to protect themselves from more diversified and unknown forces and potential loss of control. This article suggests that focusing on the right not to be identified on the network by allowing affirmative acts of secrecy and deception regarding identity and identification might be the most effective-and sometimes only practically viable-way of ensuring privacy in the interactive environment.

Abstract from Jisuk Woo’s The right not to be identified: privacy and anonymity in the interactive media environment from the journal New Media & Society

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Filed under Anonymity, Identity, Privacy, The Politics of New Media

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