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  1. Chinese Government Wants Its Citizens to Use Real Names on the Internet

    Ah, yes, the time honored argument about whether or not people should use their real names on the Internet. While the common use of pseudonyms can indirectly give bullies and harassers freedom from accountability, requiring people to identify themselves can have a chilling effect on those who use them as shields against harassment, and especially political persecution. Guess which side the argument of China is on?

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  2. New Site Lets You Send Anonymous Emails to Anyone…’s Spam Folder

    How could this possibly end badly?, or Leak, is a newly-launched site that lets users send anonymous messages. Have something to get off your chest? Wish someone would tell the intern who chews with his mouth open to stop doing that? Now you can. At least in theory. In practice it appears that all the anonymous messages I've sent have found their way to spam folders.

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  3. Surprise! A New Study Shows Anonymity on the Internet Makes People Jerks

    "What? Internet comments are fine. This guy's a f*$%ing idiot." —The Internet

    In case you're new to the Internet, most websites allow users to comment on things they watch and read, and those comments frequently degenerate to anything from non-constructive criticism to outright hate and bigotry. Why does the Internet make people such jerks? Anonymity is often cited as a reason, and a recent study shows it probably is.

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  4. Turkish Government to Ban Fake Social Media Accounts

    Dozens already arrested for posting slander under false names.

    Anti-government protests in Turkey have gotten increasingly violent over the past month. Thousands have been injured in clashes with law enforcement. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag claims social media has become the protestors primary weapon, and that he intends to "lay down some rules."

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  5. Google Play Integrates Google+, Say Goodbye to Anonymous Reviews

    As we're almost certainly all aware, anonymity and the Internet tend to go hand in hand, but it also allows for a vast amount of people to be horrible to others with almost no culpability. There's no guarantee that removing anonymity would actually stem the tide of trolls, but it's an argument folks make on the regular. Thanks to a recent update, Google Play is no longer a haven for such activity. In order to post reviews, users now have to do so with their Google+ account. Bummer.

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  6. The Downside of Internet Anonymity for Women

    The Internet is a fascinating place primarily because of its commitment to anonymity. We simply wouldn’t have the web without it. Trolls, spam, scams, controversial Wikipedia edits, WikiLeaks, basic user safety, all are dependent on having a hidden identity. User anonymity is fundamental and inseparable. But ever since the great RealID debacle of 2010, I’ve been thinking about how this same anonymity is a contributing factor to why women and racial/cultural minorities struggle to find acceptance in open anonymous communities like forums, social news communities, and especially online gaming, and whether it’s possible to do anything about that. What are the disadvantages of staying anonymous? Well, it starts with the simple assumptions we make about those around us, and in particular what we assume about the concept “human being” when we have no other input. >>>Full post at The Mary Sue.

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  7. Tor Is Developing a Router for Anonymized Home Internet Use

    Tor has long been embraced by web privacy advocates as a solution for browsing the Internet mostly anonymously in an era when this has become increasingly difficult to do. While Tor isn't perfect at hiding the identity of its user from certain methods of detection such as end-to-end correlation, its system, which consists of software that allows people to bounce around from node to node through a directory server (this set of graphics explains it in more detail), is pretty good at obfuscating the identity of a given web user, provided she is smart about turning off cookies and the like. At present, setting up Tor is a somewhat involved process in that it requires installing software and syncing it up with one's web browser to ensure that it's doing its job. (Tor does offer some self-contained browser bundles for download which make the process a little easier.) But according to a recent Technology Review article, there's a project in the works which could broaden Tor's user base and improve the network's performance: Developing wireless routers with Tor installed, "mak[ing] anonymity something that can happen everywhere, all the time," in the words of Tor project developer Jacob Appelbaum.

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  8. Now Watchable: 4Chan Founder Christopher “moot” Poole’s TED Talk

    Christopher Poole, a.k.a. moot, stumbled upon a Japanese forum and subsequently launched an Internet empire. So large and interesting an empire, in fact, that he was invited to speak at TED. The talk covers a surprisingly broad subject matter in such a short time. From the origins of the site to its social impact, he covers nearly everything about the what, where, why, and when, and distinct lack of a who behind his chaotic forum. In the brief Q&A after his talk, Poole is pressed to defend the supreme message of anonymity he advocates, and he does a great job. Other excerpts from the video include parental response, former music stars jumping out of floats, why his site's viewers are better than CSI, marble cake, and the game.

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  9. Chatroulette Map: Because Actual Anonymity on the Internet is So ’90s

    When everyone suddenly started noticing Chatroulette a month or so ago, a lot of the early, excitable commentary centered around how the anonymous, ADD blitz of introductions brought us back to the Wild West days of the '90s Internet, when chatrooms reigned supreme, strangers could really be strangers and no one knew you were a dog. Also: guys' wangs.

    So much for all of that: Chatroulette Map, a new web-based project, pulls IP addresses and images from Chatroulette to map user locations with alarming specificity. Especially if you're in a big city, you can actually chart logins and pictures with an alarming level of detail.

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