Online anonymity is a very hot topic at the moment. Why? Well, because of the extreme importance that technology and, most of all, the internet of things have in our everyday lives. Even though the importance of this matter was recognized unanimously, not everyone agrees on whether or not online anonymity is actually necessary.
In this article, we will debunk this topic and talk about both sides of the coin to provide an interesting overview of the matter of online anonymity and its importance. Before diving into this matter, it is also important to get a clear definition of what online anonymity is. Let’s start with that, and then find out what people think of it!
What is online anonymity?
Online anonymity can be defined by the practice of allowing users to hide or disguise their identifying information online. This is often done to protect someone’s privacy, but at the same time, it can make the process of holding someone responsible for their online actions quite tricky.
This is a very interesting practice of cyber-privacy, as we are reaching a rather uncharted territory of human ethics. Privacy is extremely important, but so is holding someone responsible for their actions, even if online. So how can we decide whether or not online anonymity should be granted or restrained?
The pros of online anonymity
There are several reasons that back up the matter of online anonymity and that people often use to rationalize their arguments, sustaining the absolute importance and legitimacy of this matter. The first aspect to take into account is identity protection. People often go online to perform activities that do not require their identity to be disclosed. One striking example of this is anonymous casinos, where people play games without having to provide their personal details. In this case, their lack of disclosure is legitimized, as it is not quite needed, and it cannot end up in a possible fraud due to the security systems of these platforms.
This matter also includes the presence of online celebrities and people who must keep their identities secret for a vast range of legitimate reasons. Together with this, one must also take the matter of identity protection into consideration, due to common occurrences such as identity theft and data leaks that could jeopardize your personal data.
Freedom of expression is also something to consider when talking about the pros of online anonymity, as many people since the advent of the internet have been personally harassed due to their opinions shared online. People who are really committed to disagreeing with your opinions can easily find you online and then in real life as well. Because of this, people often consider the matter of online anonymity a great means for security and privacy.
Lastly, many of us often turn to the internet to find out more about things we don’t necessarily want to disclose to others. From legal matters to personal issues with health and mental wellbeing, there are many different topics that people are not quite ready to discuss with others. That’s why it is important to consider online anonymity as a right for people to use when researching a personal topic they don’t want to share with others.
These were the main pros of online anonymity, but of course there are also some cons to take into consideration, as the matter of online anonymity is quite complex and even problematic due to the lack of means to hold someone accountable for their online actions.
Cons of Online Anonymity
First of all, it is simply easier to speak our minds when we don’t have to show our faces. That’s how many people think about disclosing their opinions online anyway. But as the internet grew, so did our ability to interact with it and find out who hides behind a username. Because of this, many people may use online anonymity to share mean, hurtful, and even racist or intolerant comments about others. Being able to hide their identities can be argued to be used as a gate for hate messages and a “negative” freedom of speech, which could harm others and offend many.
Additionally, people can use online anonymity to commit cybercrimes without being held accountable for their actions. This is perhaps one of the most problematic aspects of this topic, as people use the right to remain anonymous to act criminally and commit cyber crimes without having the courage to stand behind their actions.
Online anonymity is an extremely interesting matter that should not be taken lightly, as many people out there would like to use it for fair and acceptable reasons, but there are always some people who only want to take advantage of others and use anonymity as a shield to protect some illegal actions.
This was our take on online anonymity, and we hope it was useful to provide a clear overview of this topic in its entirety. What we need is regulated online anonymity, which protects who is in need of protection but also limits the powers of those individuals who want to use it only for their own advantage and at the expense of others. Thank you for reading this!