Privacy, Identity, and Anonymity: Series Overview

In this series we’ve looked at privacy, identity, and anonymity from several angles.

On the Internet, noone knows you're a dog

Famous New Yorker cartoon

In Part I, we looked at the sense of creepiness that comes from big entities tracking our actions—even if they are giving us value in return.

Part II separates anonymity from privacy, and explains more about what anonymity is and how it affects online behavior.

The history and varying types of privacy are explored in Part III.

We explore identity in Part IV, including the way people often use the Internet to recreate themselves.

Part V goes back to privacy, but this time we look at how people value privacy, and what they might trade it away for.

We really just scratched the surface. As our online behaviors continue to evolve, there will be privacy, anonymity, and identity implications to almost every change.

What we don’t have is a solution. The fact is that we all want:

  • To control our personal information, denying it to anyone we don’t think should have it.
  • Well-targeted and tailored web content and experience that responds directly to our own needs and preferences.
  • Access to reliable and complete information about other people and organizations.

Getting all these at the same time is obviously not going to work. Finding a way to meet these at a society level is even less likely. So we will have to find a set of compromises, and these will have to evolve.

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