In the town where I was born, lived a yellow journalist who is also a well known ponerologist. And he sailed beneath the waves of a yellow tambourine. We all live in a yellow cyberstream, a yellow cyberstream, a yellow cyberstream.
And that journalist, it was said, was deeply involved in the occult practice of writing stories that once written, echoed the marvelous machinery of the grand mockingbird whose wings were said to encompass the whole known worlds. Each thing this yellow journalist wrote was a cause, a crusade, and was written with just the slightest echo of anxiety and fear; and of course it was written to keep the children in mind, for ‘he/she who owns the youth…’.
And of course, those stories always made sure they included pictures and video’s of atrocities that happened somewhere other than that town- atrociousness and horrors unthinkable to the average community member, were written in to every yellow story, as if it happened next door down the block. Seldom was it discussed in such papers that these actual atrocities were financed, perpetrated, and committed by…oh never mind.
One of those stories from my old town was that baby eaters are EVERYWHERE! And, that we must allow our government to install a ‘child safety switch’ somewhere in Washington; or Maryland; and certainly all the blazing F@ck over Virginia. This way, with such a safety switch, every child’s Barbie camera, and every child’s baby monitor, and every child’s electronic device could ensure that only the good guys amongst us have access to our children, 24/7.
Of course there was some discourse about it- and many concerned citizens of that era contemplated how perhaps we need to install camera’s all over the city, and especially at the bedroom windows of children, in order to catch the baby eaters in the action of spying through our kids windows, and scheming to profit from our children in some way; but that argument was quickly dismissed, as most of the citizenry and the town councils plainly just trust the most noble government in all the world.
Because what government could ever allow the harm- and especially the killing of children? Certainly nothing is more shameful than that, except, maybe, journalism.
Then, these stories became larger, and more publicized stories, that truly lended a voice to the voiceless, because soon enough, anyone who read such stories was plainly afraid to speak up, or speak out against injustices. They became so voiceless, and sso afraid to speak up, that they just let the newspapers, and the government do all the talking- because really, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to say either.
Sure, around that time, many agreed, ‘we tortured some folks.’ And still others asked- but were these folks even human-can they even be classified as human beings in the civilized sense? I-Thou and “it.” That which could be named, could be objectified, and then, rendered silent. The silent majority.
And so on.But that was not without cost, and certainly, those who despised the other kind of journalists generally worked magic to ensure that such stories are the only stories read by the people of the small town where I was born, like a small baby Yeshua Ha Nozri figurine.
Other journalists were pre-emptively hunted like wild beasts and stalked with firetrucks and other well funded, noble minded endeavors. And their stories- those ‘other’ kind of stories, were by decree caused to cease and decist, should national security be impinged or impugned. And when one or another journalist approached the thresh hold of censurable thoughts, or held a mirror sideways to see another angle, such were deemed the sons of Satan him/her/itself, and soundly jailed! As it should be, for they made the great mistake of thinking that the visual was somehow more important than the narrative, or the process by which that narrative is delivered; and that process, devoid of due process.
And so it went or many thousands of years, as the highest and grandest Pooobahs of the most social of six-pointed societies, and triangle shaped sororal orders and sky scraper building fraternities waged a constant battle against a single truth- the fact that the insight into the process is far more in the public’s interest than they could ever know; and these sought that cessation at the source: at the mind off the speaker, the writer, or the journalist who might bring to light a simple fact: and that fact to be considered at length, at a later time, in other writing, not herein.
Instead, I will censor that thought at its source- my own mind, as I do not want to incur any more fire-trucking, or automobile rumbling outside my abode, where I am not anonymous anymore; nor have I been for over a decade; nor will I ever be again.
You see, privacy has been murdered in my small town, and across the land, in a one sided onslaught against liberty: those who seek temporary security at the expense of liberty deserve neither, no matter how many Twitter armies drive the opposite point home. And also, in such psychic driving, the speaker themselves is rendered moot, and the individual mind of the speaker is rendered useless, and with it, any free speech that might emanate from the center of thought itself- the sanctity of the abode therein becomes just another comb in the honeypot, just another pupa ; and any association that could form thereafter is stuck to the hive-and without these things, I can no longer contribute protection to such a society of the voiceless; and I look back to 1995, with melancholy, to a time when the war on our Constitution had just begun, and that by entire bankster funded military and intelligence agency brigades of speech police and thought censors invaded from within, and from without- did any of us see it coming
I did, and I paid the price forwards for any and all who shall ever read this:
3. Arguments for anonymity
The society in which we live can frequently be extremely conservative, often making it dangerous to make certain statements, have certain opinions, or adopt a certain lifestyle. Anonymity is important for on line discussions involving sexual abuse, minority issues, harassment, sex lives, and many other things. Additionally, anonymity is useful for people who want to ask technical questions that they don’t want to admit they don’t know the answer to, report illegal activities without fear of retribution, and many other things. For example, the state of Florida maintains an anonymous hotline for government workers to report wastes and abuses to the comptroller’s office. Without anonymity, these actions can result in public ridicule or censure, physical injury, loss of employment or status, and in some cases, even legal action. Protection from harm resulting from this type of social intolerance is a definite example of an important and legitimate use of anonymity on the internet. An example of how vital such anonymity can be is exemplified by the following excerpt from a newsgroup post during a temporary shutdown of penet.fi:
“I had been posting to a nontechnical misc newsgroup about an intimate topic for which I felt I required privacy. I have received immeasurable help from the people in that news group….Please, folks, believe me, I *need* this service. Please consider my point of view and permit firstname.lastname@example.org to turn the service back on.”
Doctors who are members of the on-line community often encourage their patients to connect with others and form support groups on issues about which they do not feel comfortable speaking about publicly. It is essential to be able to express certain opinions without revealing your true identity. One relevant example of anonymity in the real world is the debate over Caller ID on telephones. A great deal of people were extremely disturbed that the person on the receiving end of a telephone call would know the identity of the caller. People had taken for granted that they could be anonymous if they wanted and were distressed at the idea of that anonymity being taken away. Many net users feel the same way about on-line anonymity.
Anonymity is extremely effective in promoting freedom of expression. Julf Helsingius asserts that anonymity is beneficial because it gives people an outlet for their opinions, even controversial ones. He feels that it is “good to bring out things like that in daylight because that actually allows you to …start processing it, see how people react to it, and so on.” This may have sort of a cathartic effect in that it allows people to get their feelings out without physically hurting people of other cultures, races, etc. Additionally, anonymity hinders some methods of controlling the actions of other people. This is an additional argument in the usefulness of anonymity in the protection of freedom of expression.
There are many long-standing precedents for anonymity in publishing. The responsibility of a journalists not to reveal their sources is recognized almost universally. Many authors write under pen-names and there are still some cases where the true identity of the author has never been discovered. Even the Federalist Papers were published under a pseudonym. Most newspapers publish letters to the editor and help columns and allow the letters to be anonymous or signed with a pseudonym and many newspaper articles are merely credited to “AP Newswire”. Additionally, anonymous peer reviews of proposals and articles is common in academic circles.
An additional argument for anonymity is that it is a part of society and unavoidable. Anonymous communication can be achieved in real life by sending an unsigned letter or making an anonymous phone call. From the large number of users who take advantage of anonymous services on the internet, it can be seen that these services are truly necessary and fill a specific need. The availability of the technology to set up such an anonymous server also makes the elimination of such servers virtually impossible; as soon as one is shut down, another one is created. The current availability of such services eliminates the need to forge an identity or use another person’s identity to correspond anonymously. People on the net are anonymous to some degree anyway because of the inherent characteristics of the medium. Services providing additional anonymity are only expanding on this feature of the net.
Pseudonymity comes in useful in that it allows users to send mail to pseudonymous users in response to their mail or post. People are able to respond to emails that they like or dislike or that they find offensive or disruptive. This makes the pseudonymous user more responsible for his or her actions than the completely anonymous user. They are still accountable for their actions on the net but are protected from “real world” damage.
Abolishing anonymity servers is not necessary since the technology exists to produce kill files which allow users to choose for themselves what they consider offensive. This allows individuals to filter out anonymous posts and emails which they dislike, while still reaping the benefits afforded by anonymous services. Although some people will automatically discount any anonymous postings, other people don’t care who wrote it, as long as it is intelligent or funny. Still others use anonymity specifically to allow their opinions to be judged on their merit, rather than by the name attached to them.
4. Arguments against anonymity
With the benefits of on-line anonymity also come the disadvantages. Extreme abuse and illegal activity on the net is one of the most visible drawbacks to anonymity on the net. In general, abusive and frivolous anonymous email and posting is done mostly by users who have just discovered anonymity servers and whenever the novelty wears off, the frequency of the abuse decreases. However, a small minority of people who use anonymity servers are sociopaths who are attracted by the ease with which they can avoid responsibility and accountability for their actions. Examples of the these actions include kidnapping, terrorism, harassment, personal threats, hatespeech, financial scams, disclosure of trade secrets and exposure of personal information or secrets, among other things. One user expressed the desire to ban anonymity from the internet because he had no recourse against an anonymous user who posted his address, phone number and the name of his employer on the internet in retaliation for something that he had said. Although such uses of anonymity go against the philosophy of ‘netiquette’ which citizens of the net use to partially govern the net, it can be argued that the user who complained would have been protected from this retaliation if he had posted his original comment anonymously.
Some people argue that the use of on-line anonymity in these cases of abusive or hurtful activity are especially bad because people are more likely to believe things that they see in print, as opposed to something they hear in an anonymous phone call or conversation. The instantaneous means by which this printed information can be distributed around the world also gives many people cause for concern. Additionally, it is almost impossible to control illegal activity which is perpetrated or discussed anonymously over the internet since, in most cases, police are not able to track the offender down. The recent case involving penet.fi and the Finnish police is one exception, but this instance is in the extreme minority of cases where the identity of an anonymous user who has used the internet for criminal activity has not remained secret.
Some users value free speech so much that they have no problems with the hatespeech which a minority of users profess in anonymous posts and emails. They do, however, object to the fact that these users use anonymity as a shield for their beliefs. Some people use the existence of this problem to argue that anonymity is only needed to avoid retribution due to lack of understanding in the on-line society. They feel that dealing with societal problems which make people feel the need to express their opinions anonymously is a better solution than sanctioning these problems by allowing the existence of anonymous services. Additionally, many of the people who cause the intolerant conditions in some areas of the net which cause people to feel the need to express their opinions anonymously are the same people that abuse the anonymous services by using them to attack their opponents with impunity. There is a possibility that this problem could be diminished if societal problems were dealt with directly instead of discussed anonymously. This argument loses significant power, however, due to the fact that these problems have persisted for centuries in real-life society as well. Rude, inappropriate and offensive emails and posts were present on the internet long before anonymity servers were created. The best way do deal with rude people is to ignore them, and not to eliminate a service which has many benefits to the net. As one user mentioned: “It is akin to …closing down the highway system because a few people speed.”
Some users agree that anonymity is useful for some newsgroups or discussions on sensitive topics, but they object to the fact that anonymity servers provide anonymity for everybody on every newsgroup. They feel that each newsgroup should decide whether or not they want anonymous posts and then set up a server designed specifically for that group. A number of newsgroups already function like this, but other newsgroups that object to anonymous posts are still subjected to them because users are able to use global services such as penet.fi. Many users feel that the introduction of such services has changed the culture of the net.