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The Forum > Article Comments > UN Security Council moves to end anonymity on Internet > Comments

UN Security Council moves to end anonymity on Internet : Comments

By David Singer, published 19/5/2016

The use of the Internet as a communications tool has been fuelled by the anonymity afforded to those who use it enabling all kinds of hate and incitement to be spewed out daily.

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You say that ending anonymity "... does not prevent anyone saying whatever they want to say within the bounds of what is legally acceptable."

Herein lies a big problem. What is legally acceptable varies wildly between jurisdictions. For example, it is illegal to criticise Islam in places such as Saudi Arabia; many things are caught in the web of Thailand's lese majeste laws; participating in discussions of queer issues in Russia can put one in gaol.

The internet is a tool, like knives, guns, biological engineering, or cars. It can be used for good or bad. Anonymity can be a good thing, too. It allows the vulnerable to speak. I have benefitted from the freedom of conversing with others via a pseudonym, for reasons I won't go into here. The ability to speak freely can be a lifeline.

Just how far do you propose to go? Encryption is a tool that provides some of anonymity's benefits. If something is encrypted (as is common), it is unreadable, and hence the content unknowable to the authorities. That can be useful if you're a criminal, and it can be a life-saver if you live under a criminal regime.

To even attempt to remove anonymity from the internet would require grotesque, heavy handed repression. It's unlikely to meet its objective, but the sort of measures that would have to be attempted by governments are not worth it.

I know that you mean well. Terrorism is a scourge, and the propagation of hate on the internet is a real problem. But recourse to this futile attempt at a solution is probably an even worse danger to us all.
Posted by Mayan, Thursday, 19 May 2016 9:51:30 AM
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Have to agree with mayan add can only add, the last time I looked the UN didn't make laws for sovereign nations!

Moreover, even if it could mayan makes an incontrovertible case for rejecting the proposal out of hand!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 19 May 2016 11:09:22 AM
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Being controlled by murderers and despots, the UN Security Council is more likely to be interested in identifying people who speak against the dictatorial United Nations itself. That this grubby, would-be world goverment suggests such an attack on everbody (not just terrorists who they have proven to be hoplessly inept at putting down), once again shows that it should be abolished; at least, Australia should sever all ties with it.
Posted by ttbn, Thursday, 19 May 2016 11:42:48 AM
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Anonymity should be a choice not a regulated dictated tool of any State, Government or other institution.

Everyday people use anonymity whilst transacting their way through life, you don't need to provide your name, address, phone number whilst going shopping, eating at a restaurant or attending a political or social demonstration in the public sphere, examples only. Thus, why should the Internet be any different. I agree people should be civil when using anonymity, but there are times, particularly when dealing with foreign political issues, posts regarding dissent etc where anonymity provides a basis for safety in this ever increasingly PC world.

As for quoting Sam Powers, well I would think again about taking any of her advice seriously, Powers was once one of those wonderful neocon ratbags in the US government advocating for more death, violence and hegemony, particularly the rape and pillage of the Middle East, and was one of the primary voices behind the destruction of Libya. We have seen the great result this foray into madness let loose, thanks to the likes of this woman.

Your entire article smacks of hypocrisy David noting your clandestine like support of Zionism, ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and a continuous need to counter the mounting evidence of the current military, political, social and economic destruction of non Jewish people's residing in the broader ME arena.

As a lawyer I am sure you would like everyone's contact details, especially those on OLO who don't agree with your continual racist postings, for me, I will stick to the facts and enjoy my anonymity, the last thing I need is you calling to harass me or threaten me with legal action you have conjured up in your own mind.

Cheers Geoff (or maybe I am Sam or Bob or someone else completely)
Posted by Geoff of Perth, Thursday, 19 May 2016 2:51:05 PM
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Geoff: When you write "clandestine like support of Zionism, ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza" you really do betray yourself.

Zionism is nothing more than the belief that the Jewish people have a right to live in the land from which they were mostly ejected, namely Israel. It's not a secret agenda. For two thousand years, generations around the world declared "next year in Jerusalem", and now it is a reality. It's no more sinister than support for Aboriginal or Native American tribes to be restored to the lands from which they were expelled, or had otherwise were alienated from.

As for cleansing, given that the Arab population of Israel has increased year after year, either the Israelis are gratuitously incompetent or they simply do not have an agenda of ethnic cleansing.

It's interesting to note that the Palestinian Authority's leadership is on record as desiring a Jew-free state. Now that is a policy of ethnic cleansing, and when combined with declaration of a state from 'river to sea' is a policy of wiping out Israel and getting rid of all Jews from the area.
Posted by Mayan, Thursday, 19 May 2016 5:06:08 PM
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This article has nothing to do with stopping terrorism.
Its well within the US powers to shut down the ISP's that are known to be used by terrorists, but they don't even try to stop use of those apps.
David even quoted Steven Crown of Microsoft himself as saying "there is no silver bullet that will stop terrorist use of the Internet".

David do you really think the people here are that stupid that we can't see your true intentions?

The description of this article referred to 'hate and incitement' not terrorism, and David's just using terrorism as a point to legitimise his argument.
This article has everything to do with using a fear of persecution and legal proceedings to silence any political dissent against Israel.
I can provide examples where Israel already does this in some countries.

David...
Why are you here? Why don't you go back and live in Israel?
I don't mean it in an offensive way, but if your whole life revolves around it as your constant stream of articles suggest then why don't you go live there?
Why do you push a foreign agenda onto the Australian public when you could just go and be in the very place that consumes your thoughts and writings?

How about this instead -
If you don't want to hear other peoples opinions to your bias articles, then YOU shouldn't publish them.

Note for others:
Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 for free because its built with all kinds of spyware to gather data which Microsoft then sells to corporations.
I would not recommend upgrading to windows 10.
Existing paid programs may not be compatible on your new operating system.
If you haven't done so already, turn off your automatic updates otherwise you will be forced onto Windows 10 and you may also lose all your data when the upgrade occurs.
Posted by Armchair Critic, Thursday, 19 May 2016 5:50:23 PM
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