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Blogger anonymity becomes a thing of the past! June 18, 2009

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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by Eyndia

If you have been reading the papers in the past 24hrs, I am sure you would have read about the British judge that has ruled that bloggers have no right to privacy because they effectively publish on a public forum.

The term ‘massive can of worms’ springs to mind!

The entire case centres on NightJack, a now defunct blog that once was the insights (albeit controversial and sometimes just plain inappropriate) of a British Police officer and The Times newspaper, who’s reporter seemed to go on a legal witch hunt to find out the true identity of the blogger.

Don’t get me wrong, NightJack’s blog seemed a little vigilantly and irresponsible at best, with posts discussing compromising details of ‘live’ cases and extreme opinion about the Police force in general (including how to avoid them), but what this landmark case has managed to do is  throw any bloggers right to anonymity into question.

Personally, I think there can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ ruling on this. If, as bloggers, we want anonymity for whatever reason then we should be allowed to have that. It would be like having an avatar in 2nd Life and then people being able to seek out your real identity just because they want to.

So what box does this fit into? Is this a privacy issue? An internet security issue? Or a personal safety issue?

The freedom of speech that the social media allows us, combined with the ability to adopt an online persona that either mirrors or contradicts our ‘real-life’ personality should be our right as a blogger, not the courts.

The Guardian blog wrote “Overall, there’s a shift online away from anonymity. In the context of social networking, an identity, a profile picture, a name and more contextual information ‘humanise’ the conversation and encourage more constructive, less aggressive comments and discussions because posters are accountable for their contributions.”

It will be interesting to see how this case will make the ‘online message’ change, if we are to be devoid of the right to privacy? Should we become a nation of conformists, just in case someone (The Times, in particular) doesn’t agree with something we have said online? Or do we fearlessly blog and allow our opinions and views to be heard by those engaged enough to read them.

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