internet anonymity

Are We Ending the Age of Internet Anonymity?



If we are ending the age of Internet anonymity a lot of things will probably change. But some things will remain the same. From what I gather in the links below, the purpose of ending Internet anonymity is more about creating laws to protect people on the web just like there are laws to protect people in all aspects of society. Think about it. I know we complain about motor vehicles, but would you really want to live in a society where no one had to have a driver’s license, insurance, and registration? Though most of us would continue to be safe responsible drivers, there’s still that devious segment of the population that would take advantage and put the rest of us in danger.

I don’t think most people abuse Internet anonymity. But for that small devious segment of anons who do abuse Internet anonymity lawmakers are now fighting for protection. I don’t know how this will work with authors who have pen names. But I would assume that authors who have pen names and are not abusing them on the Internet, nothing much will change for them. The reason these laws are going to pop up eventually is to protect people from Internet crime, most of which seems to stem from Internet anonymity.

I could list blogs in the publishing community where devious Internet anonymity runs rampant. Some of these anonymous people have multiple anonymous identities and they spend a good part of their lives terrorizing innocent people who have no other recourse than to just sit back and take it. And it’s not just in publishing. I’ve heard politicians claim they’ve been abused by Internet anonymity and I’m sure that’s why the new laws are being pushed. I’ve also posted about many businesses that have suffered bad reviews left by their competitors thanks to the lawless Internet and anonymity. And these things affect businesses and livelihoods.

Sometimes it’s so bad that some of us get paranoid about Internet anonymity. I recently blocked someone for this reason just based on simple facts. I saw multiple identities, I saw classic Internet bully tactics, and I saw all past information about this person disappear from the Internet for unexplained reasons. For me it’s an automatic red flag. I lose patience and I don’t want that filtering into my life.

In any event, I do think we’re entering into a new age of the Internet. I’m not sure I like every aspect of it, but I don’t see how else things can change unless laws are put into place to protect innocent people from Internet criminals. So far the honor system we’ve been seeing on the Internet isn’t working.

Internet Protection Act Would Eliminate Anonymous Online Comments In New York

A new bill in Albany has its sights set on anonymous Internet trolls. The Internet Protection Act would require sites to have online commenters identify themselves.

The Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) and Senator Thomas O’Mara (R-Big Flats), would require New York-based websites to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”

It’s happening in the UK, too.

The unmasking of Internet trolls: New laws will make websites responsible for vile messages unless they reveal identities of bullies

Cowardly Internet ‘trolls’ who post vile abuse on Facebook and Twitter will be identified to their victims under laws unveiled today.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke wants to strip away the cloak of anonymity which shields website users who peddle lies and vicious smears.

Internet companies will be expected to agree to rules over how to deal with libellous comments posted on their sites.

Defamation – new law may put an end to online anonymity

It is often said that the Internet is a ‘law-free zone’ where users can say or do as they please. This may be about to change. New legislation is being put forward by the government that may bring the era of online anonymity to an end.

The changes are contained in clause five of the defamation bill, which was published several weeks ago and is currently on its way through the House of Commons.

The issue has gained prominence in the wake of several cases of online harassment, most notably a case where a Brighton woman, Nicola Brookes, obtained a judgment against Facebook, forcing it to reveal the identities of ‘vicious Internet trolls’ who posted abuse about her online.

So it’s clear things are changing and I’ll be watching to see if these laws are implemented. If you notice, I don’t post any photos anymore unless I know it’s legal to do it. Although I’ve always encouraged anonymous comments on this blog because I know people tend to be discreet with regard to erotic romance, I’ve also had to police more than a few comments I considered too vicious to post in public. If these laws don’t happen soon, I’m sure they will happen eventually. Like I said earlier, I’m not sure I’m thrilled about them yet. But I have experienced several defamatory cases personally because of Internet anonymity and I haven’t been thrilled about it. At this point, there’s nothing I can do about it. If there are laws, I will pursue the real identities of the people who tried to defame me in public, openly and with my own name and identity.

Photo from Morguefile.com.

A NOTE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER (Kenn W. Kiser/aka click): The photos on this Web site (including mine) are not part of the Public Domain. Each photographer maintains full copyrights to their individual photos and grants usage so long as you obied by the Terms posted on this Web site. If you use my photo(s) and have a moment, I’d love to hear which ones and how they were used. Just curious. kennkiser@yahoo.com – Thanks! 😉

Internet Victim’s Troll Fight is Backed by High Court

I’ve been following issues like this for a long time: Internet bullying, trolls, and how the courts will eventually have to step in and do something about it to set some standards. Precedents will need to be set as more and more people start to use the Internet.

So far most average people in the mainstream use the Internet for basic things. They shop sometimes. They download coupons. And whenever there’s a medical issue/crisis, they google it to find out more information.

But for the most part the majority of people in the mainstream are not on the Internet as often as people like me, or other bloggers out there. It’s still a relatively small group. As an author, I came late to the party in 2002, and I never would have done anything digital if an editor at a small press hadn’t told me that it was time to start submitting my work as an e-mail attachment. Up until then, I had an e-mail account but used it for very little. I’d always submitted my manuscripts in hard copy and didn’t want to change.

And now, working in digital publishing, most of what I do is on the Internet. Most people I know pay all their bills on the Internet now. If they don’t, they’ll be doing it within the next few years. The changes have already been implemented and we’re not going backward. And with so many people now getting into social media, there are going to have to be rules to follow, rules just like we follow in every day life.

This article from The Independent in the UK is fascinating, because it gets into a good deal of what we’re going to be seeing in the near future.

A mother who was tormented with abusive messages by so-called
online trolls has won backing from the High Court to have the identities
of those who targeted her disclosed.

The days of hidden identities and blatant game playing on the Internet are coming to an end. And it’s about time. For too long people like me who don’t hide their identities have been interacting with what can only be best described as blatant fakes. Please don’t misread this. I’m not talking about authors using pen names. Authors have been using pen names for many reasons for years and there’s nothing wrong with that. Actors use stage names, etc… What I’m talking about are the loud voices on the Internet that blog and comment and sockpuppet with outrageous names and vicious voices that are designed to intentionally harm and defame people. They bully and troll with more than one identity, and they do it because they know they can get away with it. It’s happened to me once, where someone left a defamatory remark, not just a vicious remark. I complained to the web site in question and they did nothing about it. What happened to me online wouldn’t have happened to me in a newspaper, where people are required to prove who they are before they comment. That’s what living in a civilized society is all about. That’s why there are legal ramifications with regard to defamation of character. And once it’s on the Internet it’s there forever.


Nicola Brookes, 45, faced “vicious and depraved” abuse on Facebook after she posted a comment supporting former X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza when he left the show last year.

This clearly isn’t the first time this has happened on the Internet. I’ve personally witnessed this “vicious and depraved abuse” in more than one place. And in almost every single case where I’ve seen this it happened because of Internet anonymity. I don’t know if it’s possible to enforce everyone using his or her own identity on the Internet, but I do think things are going to change now that the courts are going to start revealing the identities of Internet trolls and bullies. There sure are a few I’d like to see exposed.

Ms Brookes, from Brighton, East Sussex, said today: “I’m going for the strongest possible prosecution against these people.

“I want them exposed. They exposed me and they invaded my life.

“I didn’t ask for it. They wanted a reaction from me and now they have got it.”

She added that it was the “speed and viciousness” of the postings that first alarmed her, along with the lack of action by police, as she praised her legal team.

I don’t blame her. I applaud her! I want to see them exposed, too. I not only want to see those anonymous freaks exposed, but I want to see more exposed. This exposure is even more important than fines, because when others who bully and troll realize that they can, and will, be exposed it will set an example and put an end to a great deal of destructive behavior on the Internet. Web sites where people can comment and interact anonymously have clearly failed in this respect. In many ways, they almost seem to enjoy the controversy caused by these anonymous trolls. I have seen Amazon comment threads that have roasted, defamed, and ripped people to shreds. And all these comments were anonymous. Not one single person had the guts to stand up and use his/her own identity. Not once.

What really bothers me the most is that there are still actually people out there who would argue about exposing these “vicious” trolls. They feel it’s their right to maintain anonymity on the Internet at all times, so they can continue to do what they do without paying a price. I read a blog post the other day where the blogger slammed someone for exposing the online identity of someone who had been harassing her and I sat with my jaw hanging.

I don’t agree there should be anonymity in many cases, especially when it comes to bloggers and web sites where ethics and trust are involved. As I learned in journalism 101: if you have something to say/write in public you should be able to stand behind your own name and identity. Or don’t say it at all. The ability to stand behind your own good name is at the very core of being a good journalist, which often makes me laugh when I see SOME bloggers trying hard to be journalists but using fake names and identities to do it. They use excuses and say they don’t want to reveal their real names and identities for security reasons. My take on that is if you’re not tough enough to handle the ramifications of being vocal with a public platform, then don’t do it.

But it shouldn’t end there. It should be across the board, right down to social media for everyone. I know my good friend who owns a home remodeling business and has a web site would also like to see that the reviews he’s getting online are left by real people, not anonymous fakes who slam him in reviews. They slam him because they are his competition and they are jealous of the business he’s doing. It happens to him all the time, and he knows who it is and yet there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s happened to my mechanic, and even to my druggist.

Ms Bains, a partner at Bains Cohen, the legal firm which is bringing the action, said today: “The police do have the ability and the resources to find out who is responsible for this type of abuse.

“The order that was granted from the High Court was called a Norwich Pharmacal Order which is a disclosure order compelling Facebook to give us whatever information they have.

“We don’t know how useful that information is going to be until we have it.

“It may turn out to be fake. If that’s the case, it will be the internet service providers (ISPs) who will be most useful to us because they will hold the bill-payers’ addresses and we will have to get a further order.”

In other words, they are going after these trolls and they aren’t going to stop until they get an identity and they get these people exposed. And I couldn’t agree with them more. I know that if I were in the same position and someone started to screw around with me like that, I’d being doing exactly that same thing now that I know it can be done. It’s time for some new Internet rules. It’s time for the mom and pop Internet mentality of quasi snark and absolute disregard to stop. And I believe we’ll be seeing more of this very thing in the future as more victims of Internet Anonymous Abuse start to surface all over the world.

If you want to read more, which I think would be wise, please check out the link I provided above to get the full impact of what’s happening. These cases have been cropping up in small doses for the past year or two. People are tired of the abuse of power that Internet anonymity has created.