Should The Internet Really Be Anonymous?
// Posted by Kevin on 02/16/2014 (7:36 PM)
In the film, “We Are Legion,” the members of the group Anonymous talk about how information should be free. In fact, the rationale for most of their internet attacks have something to do with a group or individual limiting the free spread of information on the internet. However, during the film I could not help but wonder whether Anonymous is hypocritical in their actions? They want information to be “free,” but they still keep their identities hidden while on the internet. It seems to me that the notion of freedom comes along with a certain ownership of oneself. In the most typical use of the term freedom, one thinks of individuals that want to gain the liberty to be who they are. Consider, for example, Jews that were oppressed during the reign of Hitler. Once Hitler’s reign came to an end, they achieved the freedom to be who they wanted to be. They could practice their Jewish faith and possess the freedom to not hide who they are. So going off this more typical depiction of the meaning of freedom, aren’t these individuals remaining “anonymous” going against the movement they claim to support?
I believe that alternative views of what the internet should be are much more useful to supporting the concept of freedom. Consider Mark Zuckerberg, who we discussed in class thinks that the internet should make people feel free to be themselves. We post information to sites such as Facebook, and as a result the world has a better idea of who we really are. In a sense, one may consider it very freeing to share information about yourself over the internet. It represents us owning up to aspects of our personalities, and being will to share these more intimate details with those who know us. In my opinion, it is visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg who are truly supporting free information. Mark Zuckerberg is saying, let’s not hide who we are. Join this forum and have the freedom to be exactly who you are and share with those around you. In contrast, Anonymous seeks to hide who they really are. They have no interest in the liberation of expressing your true nature over the internet, and rather they choose to hide their identities from the world. Is this really what it means for information to be free?
To give my personal opinion, I think that members of Anonymous may raise some reasonable questions about what information the government allows to be shared publicly, but raising these questions anonymously really does no one any good. It seems that all they really want to do is make a scene and watch the world burn. There is absolutely no reason that they cannot take a more productive approach to the things that they do. Work with the government to find a more reasonable balance of free versus hidden information, as opposed to working against them. They will never accomplish what they claim to desire unless they are willing to step into the public eye and create change through legitimate politics. I do not necessarily agree with what it is that they want, but lets try to be a little less childish about this whole operation.