Uncommon Sense

March 24, 2022

WTF? Entitlement?!

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Race,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 10:30 am
Tags:

I saw a comment on the Internet in which the commenter argued that, well, “people are entitled to be anonymous if they want to be.”

Methinks entitlement has gone too far.

In this country (the U.S. of A.) there is no such entitlement. For example, you have to be known by the Social Security Administration just to get a job. You have to be known by some Department of Motor Vehicles just to be able to drive on public roads, etc. You cannot own a home or other property without showing up in public records. The only person I knew who tried seriously to become anonymous was doing so so that she could avoid paying taxes.

So, since the “entitlement claim” is referring to identifying who is “speaking” on the Internet, let us limit the discussion to that. Do people have the “right” to communicate anonymously on the Internet?

No. Simply because not being identifiable is incredibility difficult on the Internet. There are tracing tools and whatnot that allow people to be “located.” Search engines exist to search just for people. The very act of typing something and posting it leaves a trail of digital bread crumbs that can be followed. And if someone goes to that trouble and “outs you,” as in “AssKicker 831 is Joel Nerdly of Omaha, Nebraska,” what do you think the penalty is for doing that?

Right. <cricket, cricket, cricket>

What you do have is the right to try to be anonymous. There is no guarantee you will be successful.

I can think of only a handful of situations in which anonymity is appropriate (spousal abuse reporting, whistle blowing, voting, etc.) so I consider the use of monikers/pseudonyms/avatars, etc. to be suspicious. To communicate anonymously without a substantial reason is an attempt to avoid the societal pushback that causes us to think before we speak. Before the anonymity provided by the Internet, racist comments were disappearing from public discourse. Conversations held out in the open, at work, etc. were self-policed to avoid the approbation that one would get if one made racist comments. That is one of the few mechanisms by which a culture polices itself. But as soon as people learned they could communicate anonymously on the Internet, and hook up with other like-minded individuals, observable public racism made a big comeback in this country.

If some politicians decided to write a bill promoting the “entitlement to be anonymous” I would oppose it because it undermines our society.

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8 Comments »

  1. Yes, anonymity is technically “impossible” in today’s world. However, there are legitimate attempts by some to remain as anonymous as possible due to repercussions should they reveal themselves to certain individuals who “know” them.

    Case in point: There are some online atheists that go by pseudonyms primarily because they might very well lose their job and/or be ostracized by family members should they reveal themselves. While I agree that if a sleuth works hard enough, all will be revealed. Nonetheless, I tend to think those who prefer anonymity are fairly confident this isn’t going to happen … or at least the odds are minute.

    Now looking at it from the broader picture, e.g., in the world of politics … I agree that it’s a bunch of bullcrap and should not be allowed.

    Like

    Comment by Nan — March 24, 2022 @ 11:13 am | Reply

    • Considering all of the people who have been “outed” based upon Internet postings, I am not sure that the risk is worth it.

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 24, 2022 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  2. Good morning, Steve. Looks like Nan beat me to the punch, but I personally remain anonymous on this blog as I am a professional in a somewhat small community, and not being a religious type could give some people a poor impression of me that is not founded in reality. Once I don’t have this job anymore, I won’t need to be anonymous. However, the point is not who I am, it is the message I deliver. My message doesn’t need me, specifically.

    But you absolutely have a point when it comes to matters that ARE affected by who the individual is, such as legal issues. Legally, anonymity can’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by thespartanatheist — March 24, 2022 @ 11:20 am | Reply

    • As I mentioned to Nan, if your job situation is perilous, it may not be worth the risk to comment. Reading all you want can be done anonymously, but once you make comments or post blogs, etc. I think the danger of exposure is greater.

      And I understand the trepidation. I didn’t post anything remotely atheistic until I was well retired.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 24, 2022 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  3. People will say any dumbass thing on the internet.

    Like

    Comment by silverapplequeen — March 24, 2022 @ 2:20 pm | Reply

  4. I would extend that right well beyond the internet, but question calling it an entitlement.

    The forth amendment specifically gives one the right to not be searched without cause. So we clearly have a right to be unanimous. In regards to it being the individuals right to not subject themselves to … and I believe case law does indeed extend this right to include non-government entities. Although they may have requirements to get information to provide services.

    Rov vs Wade, extended privacy rights the grounds of the case are that health issues are private matters and as such can not be made illegal. The court found the 10th amendment [The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people] as granting people the right to privacy.

    That being said, people who don’t use their real names online seem to behavior poorly if compared to those who do use their names.

    Like

    Comment by Wayne — March 24, 2022 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  5. I have kept my anonymity for years simply because I’m an atheist in small town redneckville, praise jeebus Tennessee! Not so much for my sake, but for the kids. The kids are out of high school, and I’ve thought about dropping the SD, though I’m kind of used to it, and comfortable with it.

    But I think I’ll let the cat out of the bag soon. It’s been on my mind.

    I’m sure I could be easily doxxed if someone really wanted too. I have a wide internet profile.

    Like

    Comment by shelldigger — March 25, 2022 @ 7:52 am | Reply

    • I am not recommending that we invite trouble. Prudence is one thing, but hate mongers are another.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 25, 2022 @ 8:03 am | Reply


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