Sunday, November 4, 2012

Building a case against privacy on the Internet

My assignment for a Cuesta College course in Internet ethics is to argue that “Individual citizens don’t need the right to privacy in order to discharge their rights as citizens.”

Reviewing posts about Internet use and privacy, I encountered these selections:
On the subject of evaluating information for credibility:
  • Before accepting any opinion from an anonymous source, the discerning reader ought to ask why this person felt the need to be anonymous. Is he or she afraid of legitimate oppression as a consequence of speaking out, or does he or she merely want to sling unsubstantiated accusations or venomous personal attacks? (Feb. 22, 2011)
On being able to post to online forums anonymously:
  • A determined user can rapidly inflict as much damage as possible, because as rapidly as viewers flag an abusive post for removal by a moderator, the user can reinsert the allegations across multiple threads of dialogue. Since the user doesn’t have to leave a name, there is no accountability requiring the user to back his or her allegations with facts. (July 27, 2010)
These arguments present a view that favors accountable, known, sources over anonymity. They could certainly advance my assigned “con” position in the debate over Internet privacy.

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