Anonymity and the Net – Should company and/or government agents have to declare themselves on Messageboards and news sites?

mata Anonymity and the Net –  It’s  hot topic.  Ottawa’s Lowell Green did a whole show on it awhile ago in that he was angry that anonymous bloggers could destroy people’s reputations and wage attacks from behind the veil of anonymity.

People commonly use pseudonyms on the internet.  Most times it’s for very good reasons.  I know several people that wouldn’t post if they couldn’t.   So where do you draw the line?

A reader recently emailed me, actually today, about a thread on the Standard Freeholder.  L I N K Apparently the Free Holder had shut down this thread and then opened it again about ten hours later for this one comment to be posted and then locked the thread again.

Corporations have planted people to talk about their products on websites or do reviews without disclosing that they work for those companies too.   The Internet Age has opened up communication as it’s never been on the planet before.    There are good and bad uses of it.

What do you think Cornwall?  Should someone have to clearly state if they are related to a story or represent the media; government; or company/agency involved in a story?

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  1. More liberty is always better. One does not have ownership in his reputation, for it is a concept in the minds of others. You can’t own the opinion of others.

    If admins of message boards and such wish corporate and government agents to disclose themselves, they can require it on their own boards and enforce through IP tracking. This wouldn’t be 100% but nothing will be. Anyone tech savvy can completely anonymise themselves anyways through proxies, Tor, SSH tunneling etc..

  2. Author

    Hi Rezrevolt,

    Yes, there are always ways to hide and a professional “spook” knows them. When I printed this story it was more to alert readers who sometimes fall for information that is being purposefully planted.

    It’s the chief reason why when I post on the Standard Freeholder for example that I make sure that people know who I am.

    I know it’s a fine line between personal freedoms, but “targets” should not be able to be arbitrarily “sniped” on the net either.

    That’s a challenge that lawmakers and all of society will have to face sooner rather than later.

  3. Society will simply need to learn to take anything on the net with a grain of salt, certainly anonymous letters on blogs and message boards. I would hope people pay little heed to the vitriol spouted by the regulars on certain message boards, such as your favorite Freeholder.

    In my opinion “lawmakers” would serve the people better if they collectively took a long walk of a short pier. The internet is wonderful because it is largely free of lawmakers, and should remain so. For every inch given, busybody lawmakers will try to take miles.

  4. Author

    Hiya Rezrevolt,

    That’s the issue. Politicians usually aren’t any lower on the food chain than those that post on message boards. I can tell you from my own experience that there are large corporations that play games on net boards.

    Propaganda is alive and well on the net and I think “Netprops” will be the next Rock Stars of this generation.

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