Online Anonymity

Whether you go under a cloak of anonymity on the internet is becoming less and less of a choice and more of a silent submission to online giants such as Google and Facebook.

Free web analysis tools, email and search are allowing the likes of Google to be at the forefront of our lives and collate data on all of our habits. Social networking sites mean you have to take care when on a night out as your activities may well be revealed through photos and location updates.

Internet service providers have a record of your exact browsing history and anyone with the right skill set can trace your location in a matter of seconds through your IP address. This means that unless like the fictional spy Jason Bourne you only use internet cafes for very brief periods, you are very much at large on the web.

Many social networking sites don’t like people using false names. Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Social Business at Google and ambassador for Google Plus argues that the company do not wish to push people into using their legal names but are merely trying to maintain a ‘positive vibe,’ drawing a comparison to enforcing collared shirts in restaurants.

The counter argument is that if people are not willing to reveal themselves online why should we pay any attention to them? Does it set a better tone if people are held accountable for their actions on the internet?

I would firmly argue however that the benefits of loosely surfing the web far outweigh the possible consequences of the odd person taking liberties of online freedoms.

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