Web anonymity battle starts anew

Preach. Via The Hill.

“The ability to speak anonymously [online] is critical to the ability to speak freely, to speak on the matters of public policy,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president of consumer interest group Public Knowledge and a former member of the U.S. delegation during the U.N. conference.

Some countries, including China and Russia, have reportedly argued that anonymity on the Web poses a risk to cybersecurity and makes it harder for them to go after hackers and other malicious actors, which leaves Internet users vulnerable to online fraud schemes, virus-laced spam and malware.

But free speech advocates warn that the push to ban anonymity in the name of cybersecurity is simply a facade for efforts by authoritarian governments to crack down on political dissidents and critical speech they disagree with on the Web.