The Importance Of Online Anonymity

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Anonymity has been a hotly debated topic since anonymous expression has been possible. The debate on the ethical nature of anonymity has been exacerbated within the past twenty years with the rise of the internet and the impacts the internet holds. Many claim that the internet needs to be expunged of anonymity in the name of public safety, however others claim that anonymity is essential for freedom of expression. Every time a news story of harassment or cyberbullying comes to light, the freedom of anonymity online comes under scrutiny. However, the preservation of online anonymity is crucial to the liberty of individuals, allowing them to exercise proper freedom of speech without fear of those in positions of greater power. Despite the potential…show more content…
This applies especially for anonymity online, given the Earth’s populace’s reliance on the internet. One of the most notable instances of the impact of anonymity as a concept lies in the events leading up to the ratification of the United States constitution. More specifically, anonymity was a cornerstone of the Federalist Papers (Lewis). The use of anonymity in this instance was used to protect the identities of the authors (in this case Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay) through the use of a pseudonym (Publius), which served to protect them from suffering the wrath of the majority (Anonymity). Without this use of anonymity being possible, our nation as it is today would not exist. While the American people do not live under circumstances as critical as those of our founding fathers, the means to allow the United States citizens to be willing to express controversial opinions still needs to be exist in the same capacity it did for the authors of the federalist papers. This opinion is also shared by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU serves to protect the rights of individuals deemed to exist within the constitution of the United States, and their stance on online anonymity is made clear in their statement: “The right to remain anonymous is a fundamental component of our right to free speech, and it applies every bit as much in the digital world as it does in the physical one” (Online). Given the ACLU’s history and high regard for federally given rights, it is evident that anonymity should be valued as an inalienable right, just as much as freedom of speech or the right to bear arms. Going even a step above the ACLU, the United States Supreme Court also recognizes the importance of anonymity for the purposes of freedom of

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