Opinion: On Newspapers, Public Discourse, and the Right to Remain Anonymous
Posted in: Censorship at 03/10/2011 18:35
In a recent Washington Times editorial titled "Internet trolls, Anonymity and the First Amendment," Gayle Falkenthal declared that "the time has come to limit the ability of people to remain anonymous" online. She argued that any benefit to online pseudonyms has long since dissipated and anonymous commenters have polluted the Internet "with false accusations and name-calling attacks." Newspapers, she wrote, should ban them entirely.
This argument is not only inaccurate, it's also dangerous: online anonymity, while allowing trolls to act with impunity, also protects a range of people, from Syrian dissidents to small-town LGBT activists and plenty of others in between.