We liked the article because it highlights why Anonyome Labs exists and states a position we’ve always believed in—that there’s a genuine place for anonymity and pseudonymity online.
For years solutions to the growing problem of trolling and abuse have largely centered on ridding the internet of anonymity—forcing people to reveal their real names and identities when they engage online. But unmasking the vile troll won’t stop the abuse; instead, it would leave the honest majority of users without protection, freedom and control.
Often when the legitimate need for anonymity and pseudonymity is discussed, the conversation starts and stops with the most vulnerable groups. While a completely valid use case, this tends to marginalize the general need to a niche, a notion that Anonyome Labs rejects. We started our company in 2014 expressly to provide such services for the general public.
We believe that all people should be able to determine how, when, where, and with whom they share their personal details, and that level of control is best delivered via digital pseudonymized identities.
Of course, the public discourse needs to catch up to the broader need for anonymity and pseudonymity. As John Herrman says in his article: “When represented at all, positive uses of anonymity and pseudonymity are portrayed as narrow and exceptional; it makes sense for dissidents, for instance, but what does everyone else have to hide?”.
That’s why we’re pleased to see the nuances of anonymity and pseudonymity explored in a publication as mainstream as the New York Times. The world needs to have this conversation.
Because after all, as Herrman says: “The desire for semi-anonymity shares one concern: control. A troll wants control over who knows what about him; a master-of-the-universe type wants to decide what gets stuck to the family name; a young person needs a space to figure things out; an older person needs a space to change. And yet, the desire to be different to different people is as familiar as family, as common as having friends and living around other people, valuable to the powerful and the weak. Who hasn’t, at some point, yearned for that kind of agency?”
It’s hard to argue that those sentiments aren’t universal, even if you also think Internet trolls are ruining the world.