Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 1:50 AM

Anonymity - A Binary Switch?

There's been a slew of postings on the topic of anonymity, so I thought I'd jott down a few of my thoughts too... and collect the links here.

Key Points:
  1. Norlin’s Maxim: Your personal data is shifting from private to public.
  2. What becomes public stays public.
  3. If the default for digital identities is anonymity, it will give the user more control.
  4. The default in most systems is not anonymity.
  5. Anonymity and strong identity should be orthorgonal issues, and can be technically.
  6. Anonymity is not typically supported in most systems, so the stronger your identity, the less anonymous it is.

Binary Switch? Eric Norlin critics Dave Weinberger in that Eric believes that there is a spectrum of choices from anonymous, through a range of pseudonymity, to unanonymous identities. Eric asserts that "... online identity is *not* a binary issue." I wonder. If you believe in "Norlin’s Maxim", then so long as there is some small piece of information that links a pseudonym to the user, sooner or later, a pseudonym identity becomes an unanonymous identity. I believe that anonymity is a binary decision. If your digital identity is not fully anonymous, then it is (or soon will be) unanonymous.

Resources:
  1. Ben Laurie, Anonymity is the Substrate (http://www.links.org/?p=123). August 24, 2006.
  2. Akma Adam, Plus Ça Change (http://akma.disseminary.org/archives/2006/08/plus_a_change.html). August 20, 2006.
  3. David Weinberger, Anonymity as the default, and why digital ID should be a solution, not a platform (http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/anonymity_as_the_default_and_w.html). August 16, 2006.
  4. Dave Kearns, Yet more on anonymity (http://vquill.com/2006/08/yet-more-on-anonymity.html). August 15, 2006.
  5. Eric Norlin, Should the online world reflect the "real" world? (http://blogs.zdnet.com/digitalID/?p=61). August 15, 2006.
  6. Bavo De Ridder, Do you really think you are anonymous? (http://bderidder.wordpress.com/2006/08/15/do-you-really-think-you-are-anonymous/). August 15, 2006.
  7. Kim Cameron, Dave Kearns takes on anonymity (http://www.identityblog.com/?p=530). August 14, 2006.
  8. Dave Kearns, More on Privacy vs Anonymity (http://vquill.com/2006/08/more-on-privacy-vs-anonymity.html). August 14, 2006.
  9. Tom Maddox, Ben Laurie on Anonymity (http://blog.opinity.com/2006/08/ben_laurie_on_a.html). August 14, 2006.
  10. Dave Kearns, Anonymity, identity - and privacy (http://www.vquill.com/2006/08/anonymity-identity-and-privacy.html). August 14, 2006.
  11. Kim Cameron, Norlin’s Maxim (http://www.identityblog.com/?p=525). August 12, 2006.
  12. Willliam Beem, Security by Obscurity (http://william.beem.us/2006/08/security_by_obscurity.html). August 10, 2006.
  13. Eric Norlin, Anonymity and identity (http://blogs.zdnet.com/digitalID/?p=60). August 10, 2006.
  14. David Weinberger, Transparency and Shadows (http://www.strumpette.com/archives/162-Cluetrain-author-dispels-absolute-transparency-myth.html). August 8, 2006.
  15. P.T. Ong, Strong Identities Can Be Anonymous (http://blog.onghome.com/2005/03/strong-identities-can-be-anonymous.htm). March 11, 2005.
  16. P.T. Ong, Support for Anonymity (http://blog.onghome.com/2005/01/support-for-anonymity.htm). January 30, 2005.

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