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The concept of Internet anonymity has received considerable debate in recent years. Internet anonymity means any interaction a user has on the Internet is shielded, so that his or her identity is not shared with another user or any third party on the Internet.
Here some good reasons why Internet anonymity is important.
Internet anonymity is of extreme importance for people who are living with certain health issues. Many doctors encourage their patients to use the Internet to connect with others regarding issues that they don't feel comfortable speaking about in public. With anonymity, patients can seek advice from other patients about how to cope with chronic diseases, whether this is HIV, cancer, or another health condition.
Internet anonymity can provide an important resource for people dealing with certain social issues to get advice without having to reveal their true identities, which is especially useful for vulnerable youth. For example:
Many of my friends and relatives rely on online reviews to decide whether to use a product, service, or business that they don't know much about. If safeguards weren't in place to keep the identities of Internet users safe, it would be less likely that customers would feel comfortable posting honest feedback.
With anonymity in place, people can go online to express themselves without fear. I've seen many online chat rooms that are full of people who are unhappy with their spouses, jobs, and lives. These people are free to openly discuss these feelings anonymously without judgment from people they know.
Do you have some tools you use to protect your anonymity on the Internet? Tell us in the comments!
Image: bykst / CC0
Great article, with excellent real-world examples.
This is a very important topic and I wish the general public would pay more attention to it. I believe that the average person grossly underestimates the extent to which they are tracked and identifiable on the Internet.
As for tools, none of the cookie blockers, TOR routers or other gimmicks are foolproof. The only effective solution I've found, short of avoiding social media altogether, is the use of multiple pseudonyms from generally public computers.