Possible solutions to online privacy vs. anonymity

Unfortunately I was absent for most of the solution brainstorming session but I was able to talk to a group of 4 other students briefly before I left for an appointment that could not be changed. This allowed me to bounce a few of my key ideas of them, which I have found extremely helpful during my initial development stage.

Some of the possibilities I brought into class to discuss:

  • Complete rework of the internet as we know it to allow for anonymity in some sections but to keep accountability on the ‘surface web’.
  • Create a global ‘verification system’ similar to twitter’s verified sticker to provide assurance to those wishing to know who they are talking to and therefore increase security and accountability without sacrificing ones complete identity.
  • Create a social campaign that is targeted to early teens to show them the damage of online bullying and predation to hopefully improve their understanding of the consequences of misusing the Internet.
  • Create a social campaign to raise awareness of the ability of other Internet users to mask their identity. Show audiences that they cannot always trust what is written on any site on the Internet.
  • Create an interface between a of the shelf fingerprint reader to create a user end identification device to ensure that you are the only individual curating your online identity, posts and communication including photos and other forms of media.

My strongest idea currently is to create a global ‘verification system’ similar to twitter’s verified sticker to provide assurance to those wishing to know who they are talking to and therefore increase security and accountability without sacrificing ones complete identity. This would be a government led program, which would automatically tag every reference of you with a verified stamp next to your name to prove your identity and link you to what you post. This just extends the ideas of Facebook profiles but matches them with official documents such as driver’s licenses and passports that are used for verification and are not then released to the public. This could then be tied into my idea of using a fingerprint reader to generate said symbol on a use to use basis to ensure that the content that you are posting can be identified by law enforcement if needed whilst not revealing personal information to other users.

I feel that this proposal could provide a significant change to the way that general users of the internet interact with others and will provide a much safer internet for children and allow for the sharing of reliable information without destroying the freedom of speech that activists and journalists require to create the articles that they would normally publish.

Jack Sinclair

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