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« Looking for a few remarkable stories | Main | One of those magical ideaviruses »

The problem with anonymous (part VII)

Virus writers are always anonymous.

Vicious political lies (with faked photoshop photos of political leaders, or false innuendo about personal lives) are always anonymous as well.

Spam is anonymous.

eBay fraudsters are anonymous too.

It seems as though virtually all of the problems of the Net stem from this one flaw, and its one I’ve riffed on before. If we can eliminate anonymity online, we create a far more civil place.

How hard would it be to do?

What if the five leading search engines all agreed to create default setting that only searched pages that weren’t posted anonymously? You could always opt to search the larger, seedier web, but most users wouldn’t want to do that. Google news could skip the anonymous news feeds as well. Authentication wouldn’t be particularly difficult—it’s really hard to get an anonymous credit card, for example, so a fee of $20 or $30 a year ought to make a certification agency awfully happy.

What if the leading mail programs had a simple method to block all anonymous incoming email? In this case, the easy way to guarantee that email isn’t anonymous is to sell stamps for a tenth of a cent each. The average user might have to pony up $2 a month—and all that money could go to fund the work I’m talking about.

It’s ironic that we’ve set up two very different standards for our trust. In the real world, we’re skeptical of strangers. At the supermarket the other day, someone picked up my favorite brand of olive oil. I waxed on about how great it was, and of course, the shopper put it back and bought something else instead. Online, however, we’re happy to believe whatever image someone sends along, or buy something from a spammer.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The problem with anonymous (part VII):

» Anonymity on the Internet from Joi Ito's Web
Seth says he wants to banish anonymous communications.Seth GodinVirus writers are always anonymous. Vicious political lies (with faked photoshop photos... [Read More]

» Anonymity on the Internet from Joi Ito's Web
Seth says he wants to banish anonymous communications.Seth GodinVirus writers are always anonymous. Vicious political lies (with faked photoshop photos... [Read More]

» anoniem? from wchulseiee:blog
Door de explosieve groei van de sociale netwerken wordt een zelfverkozen anonimiteit steeds meer argwanend bekeken. Vrijwel nergens kan je een account aanmaken met alleen een nickname, alles en iedereen wil weten hoe je heet, waar je vandaan komt en... [Read More]

» When anonymous != anonymous from Teal Sunglasses
Two interesting points of view. Seth Godin The Problem with anonymous (part VII) points out all of the problems with allowing anonymity on the internet: spam, worms, forged email, etc, etc, etc. He finally posits: If we can eliminate anonymity online, ... [Read More]

» More or Less Anonymous from SocialTwister
It seems that Anonymity is on more people's minds than I realized. I was quite surprised to find out today that two other interesting threads have been started at essentially the same time, but two people I indeed respect, Seth... [Read More]

» Online Criminals from Blog from Software Trenches
I doubt that they spend much time analyzing that — they do not know their victims in person, they never see the people they steal from. And the anonymity makes this crime much easier as Seth already mentioned a few years ago.One thing I am confident a... [Read More]

» Anonymity on the Web from Life After Web
Interaction on the Internet is, no doubt, different than in real life. One such example is the ability to remain anonymous which can leave some users with a feeling of power and abandon. [Read More]

» Seth's Blog: The problem with anonymous (part VII) from Robb Smith
At Integral Life we are considering the move to using real names in the community, for reasons that Seth Godin blogs about here. The basic notion is simple: if you want to make even an online community start to feel [Read More]

» In Rock-Paper-Scissors what wins, Authenticity or from The Flat World Student
maybe people are are worried about privacy because they lack authenticity. Authenticity is something so close to each and everyone of us, yet often hidden out of site. We live as if we are scared of our selves, scared our boss might see the drunke... [Read More]

» Privacy - Is it changing? from marginally subversive communication thoughts
The issues that Facebook faced the last few weeks of 2007 have seemed to resurrect - or perhaps, inflame is the better word - the issue of privacy. But I don't think it's merely all about privacy: it's about reading the fine print. I know, I know - Fac... [Read More]

« Looking for a few remarkable stories | Main | One of those magical ideaviruses »