What Exactly is Online Anonymity?

internet-anonymityIt’s pretty clear that to be online anonymously means to withhold public information about oneself and remain mysterious, just as a person might try to in real life. However, internet anonymity is much easier to keep identity at bay because there is no real need for face to face contact as there is in the real world. It is true that “the information they do reveal is controlled by the user” (“Staying Online Anonymously“). This way, only some parts of websites, or all, displays no identity of the person seeking privacy. By using an online anonymity tool, there is no way to be tracked by location, internet activity or personal information. Here’s an example of one such useful anonymity tool:

Because these identity blocking methods allow for little tracking of a person, there is a much less of a chance for hackers to get into computer databases. Therefore, viruses will occur rarely, if at all. Another perk is that any type of identity theft, such as stealing credit card information, is unlikely. This is due to the fact that any personal criteria a thief would need is hidden, making stealing a serious undertaking. It also goes without saying that being anonymous on social networks and chat websites creates a judgement-free zone to more freely voice opinions without the public crashing down. While the anonymous user can still read any comments directed at them, they are safe to know that those commenters will never know who really said it at all. This sense of safety opens doors for speaking the mind, and to many is believed to be “the most important aspect of free speech on the Internet” (“Staying Online Anonymously“).

Just as in most cases, there are positives and negatives when it comes to on online anonymity. While there are a variety of useful purposes for being anonymous online, there are also some scary realities. The common person may try to hide their identity from fraud, but that also means the delinquent perhaps doing the theft is also allowed to conceal their own identity. This makes it harder to track down stolen back accounts and forged identities. It also fosters a strange thought that the Internet could become a place full of conversation from faceless voices. If everyone is willing to share their opinion but no one is willing to take recognition for it, how much worth does it really have?