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[P]
'Anonymous' Message Board posting not so anonymous in the UK

By Gossi The Dog in News
Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 12:36:22 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

In this article, The Register reports how an 'anonymous' message board poster who was posting messages about the company Scoot has had his identification details handed over to Scoot thanks to a successful court ruling. Is this the shape of things to come? Annoy a company with your opinons on them and get your ISP handing away your home address?


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'Anonymous' Message Board posting not so anonymous in the UK | 30 comments (30 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
We live in a day and age when compa... (none / 0) (#7)
by Neuromancer on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:54:45 PM EST

Neuromancer voted 1 on this story.

We live in a day and age when companies rule the world.

Needs substabtially more write-up. ... (none / 0) (#11)
by Rasputin on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:56:17 PM EST

Rasputin voted -1 on this story.

Needs substabtially more write-up. As it is, it's just more MLP.
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

-------------------- ... (none / 0) (#17)
by susanc on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:24:29 PM EST

susanc voted -1 on this story.

--------------------

I like digitiser too.

More writeup... (none / 0) (#5)
by kraant on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:26:55 PM EST

kraant voted -1 on this story.

More writeup
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

so? ... (none / 0) (#14)
by eMBee on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:51:04 PM EST

eMBee voted 0 on this story.

so?
if you want your posting to be anonymous then you'd better take real precautions, using proxies and anonymizers...

--
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX

Interesting source of debate, altho... (none / 0) (#16)
by Dr. Zowie on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:54:11 PM EST

Dr. Zowie voted 1 on this story.

Interesting source of debate, although the news isn't all that new...

Again, interesting. I'm very much ... (none / 0) (#9)
by Dangermouse on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 06:17:44 PM EST

Dangermouse voted 1 on this story.

Again, interesting. I'm very much in favour of this story being run, but purely because I feel strongly about the anonymity / privacy issue.


-----
No one has "Rights", neither machines nor flesh-and-blood. Persons...have opportunities, not rights, which they do or do not use. - Lazarus Long

So what happens if a British subjec... (none / 0) (#8)
by marlowe on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 06:31:52 PM EST

marlowe voted 1 on this story.

So what happens if a British subject goes through an anonymizer service on the US? Or on Seeland for that matter?
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --

Yep. ... (none / 0) (#3)
by bmetzler on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 06:45:28 PM EST

bmetzler voted -1 on this story.

Yep.

What next, claiming that because you were wearing a mask that the hold-up was anonymous?
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.

But what if that information isn't ... (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by paranoidfish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:03:28 PM EST

paranoidfish voted 1 on this story.

But what if that information isn't easy to come by? The chances of, say, K5 tracing an anonymous posting, accross national borders to ny isp (as an example), and then my ISP actually handing over my housemates details, then my housemate admitting it's me using his dialup are slim to say the least.

Even the article suggests that Scoot are having trouble, even with a court order.

Ironic that they deal in contact info :-)



more please!... (none / 0) (#2)
by joeyo on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:07:53 PM EST

joeyo voted -1 on this story.

more please!

--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

Why, yes, with a court order anyone... (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by Perpetual Newbie on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:10:09 PM EST

Perpetual Newbie voted -1 on this story.

Why, yes, with a court order anyone can get logs from one of these anonymous sites. The message board did not give up the information voluntarily, they were ordered by the courts to do it, and faced penalties if they refused. This would be the case in any country, not just the UK. The only question is, how easy is it to get a court order for this kind of thing?

With the UK and most of the EU spon... (none / 0) (#12)
by deimos on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:20:34 PM EST

deimos voted 1 on this story.

With the UK and most of the EU sponsoring "surveillance" networks, are you surprised?
irc.kuro5hin.org: Good Monkeys, Great Typewriters.

Where's the writeup? ... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by skim123 on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:03:11 PM EST

skim123 voted 0 on this story.

Where's the writeup?

Anyway, there is no such thing as true anonymity. Besides, be a man and be proud of what you say.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Re: Where's the writeup?... (none / 0) (#21)
by Gossi The Dog on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 04:13:11 AM EST

...and then get your details handed out because some company doesn't like what you say. Hmmm.
Gossi Da Dawg!
[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by PresJPolk on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 08:27:45 AM EST

A man like William Lloyd Garrison? He would have been strung up on sight, had he ever travelled too far south.

A man like Salman Rushdie? Groups in Iran have put up millions of dollars as a reward for his execution.

A man like Martin Luther King? Social equality didn't quite appeal to everyone.

Too many people have been attacked and killed for spreading ideas, and stating beliefs, for it to be said that to desire privacy and anonymity is to be less of a person.

[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 10:05:29 AM EST

OTOH, who cares what some anonymous voice says? The strength of your convictions should carry you through any adversity your ideas may arouse.

[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by PresJPolk on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 10:28:32 AM EST

The strength of your convictions should carry you through any adversity your ideas may arouse

I sure hope that's a joke, given that it's posted by Anonymous Hero. :-) Just in case it's not, though:

How can the strength of ones convictions carry one through a more powerful adversary? Look at the Black Panthers, who had the will to fight back. They were assassinated and jailed very effectively.

A social movement can only succeed if the masses favor the movement, or at least feel somewhat sympathetic to its followers. Anonymous voices can be an important first step toward building up support.



[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by skim123 on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 12:39:31 PM EST

All those men, though, did not hide behind the veil of anonymity. Do you think civil rights would have progressed as they had, had Dr. King written anonymous letters to the editor as opposed to getting out there and saying, "I am standing up for what is right."

If you are true to your convictions you will speak out as yourself, and be proud of it.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by PresJPolk on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 01:40:22 PM EST

If you are true to your convictions you will speak out as yourself, and be proud of it.

In the past, change has happened slowly, because most people have families and friends to think about. When one challenges powerful adversaries, people other than onesself can be hurt. Therefore, it's been a rare leader that instigated change.

With the internet, though, we have an opportunity to allow for the safe exchange of ideas, and dissemination of information. Just as the rise of the secret ballot improved politics, so can the rise of the anonymous posting.

The blood of patriots may indeed water the tree of liberty, (I'm not sure of Jefferson's exact phrase), but wouldn't it be nice if we could have change, without hurting the instigators, more often?

As for the question, would people listen to anonymous voices, look at the news media. Anonymous sources are quoted all the time. It's not a new idea.



[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by skim123 on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 12:17:25 AM EST

We seem to differ in ideology. My opinion is that if you have beliefs and you wish to express them, stand up and express them.

If you look at Kohlberg's Five Stages of Morality, you'll see that those in the fifth stage - folks like Jesus, Dr. King, Hitler, Ghandi, Malcom X - did what they did because of their convictions. They did not worry about persecution - they had a strong belief and stated it and supported it publically. Those folks who wish to hide behind the viel of anonymity either don't have that strong of beliefs or, more likely, do not have as high a level of morality, as defined by Kohlberg.

IMO, the bottom line is, "If you believe in something strongly, stand up and say it." I don't know if you are religious, but, assuming you are a Christian, I assume you have no problems standing up and saying, "I believe in Christ." Now, even if Christianity became a frowned upon religion, if you are a true believer you would still have the courage to stand up and affirm your faith.

(I am not religious myself, just using religion as an example...)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by PresJPolk on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:37:40 AM EST

We seem to differ in ideology. My opinion is that if you have beliefs and you wish to express them, stand up and express them.

Absolutely.

The way I understand you, you're looking at anonymity and saying, "Why would someone need that? People should want to be associated with what they're saying."

I'm looking at the technology and saying "By default, people can be anonymous. This can have nifty never-before-seen effects on society, so let us not take explicit action to destroy that."

One is focused on the motivation of the individual, the other is focused on the motivation of the government/society.



[ Parent ]
Re: Where's the writeup?... Like El Zorro (2.00 / 1) (#30)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 08:19:18 AM EST

Like El Zorro? Why did he wear that mask? And the Lone Ranger? And Batman?

Our culture has a long history (Robin Hood?) of recognizing the benefits of sometimes not revealing your true identity.

This tool can be used and it can also be abused. Do any of us know of any tools that can be used but cannot be abused?

A Nony Mouse!

[ Parent ]

If you don't post through a remaile... (1.00 / 1) (#15)
by the Epopt on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:30:01 PM EST

the Epopt voted 1 on this story.

If you don't post through a remailer or other anonymizer, you ain't anonymous. Trusting some corporation's privacy statement to protect you is like trusting a peeping tom to install your window blinds.


-- 
Most people who need to be shot need to be shot soon and a lot.
Very few people need to be shot later or just a little.

K5_Arguing_HOWTO
As much as I hate it, this sort of ... (1.00 / 1) (#18)
by Cariset on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:38:53 PM EST

Cariset voted 0 on this story.

As much as I hate it, this sort of thing (and the requisite outraged reaction from us computer geek types) is becoming so commonplace and done to death that I'd almost rather not discuss it, but simply file it on my list of "stuff that sucks". I'm not yet jaded enough to vote against it, though.

This is policy at all websites, as ... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:59:33 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

This is policy at all websites, as far as I know. It's currently your job to protect your own anonymity if you want it protected, because no one else is doing it for you.

____
Not the real rusty

+1 = interesting ... (1.00 / 1) (#13)
by mind21_98 on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 12:10:44 AM EST

mind21_98 voted 0 on this story.

+1 = interesting -1 = specific to UK -- 0 Anyways, aren't the EU privacy laws over there supposed to keep this exact stuff from happening? Just another example of capitalism degrading into greed, which degrades into becoming paranoid about their image. I'm waiting for a big stock crash to happen so people will stop with the 'greed' mentality. But I doubt that will happen while I'm alive. And I also do not want it to happen (even though I'm not spoiled, I'm not stupid either.)

--
mind21_98 - http://www.translator.cx/
"Ask not if the article is utter BS, but what BS can be exposed in said article."

There is such a thing as true anonymity... (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 01:28:31 AM EST

There is such a thing as true anonymity, and if we work for it, we can make it happen today.

I want to see the old cypherpunk ideals live on. I want to see a net where every individual has control over his or her identity and privacy. But we need to create and use the systems that will make it possible. Cypherpunk remailers offered true, cryptographically secure anonymity over e-mail. We need similar systems spanning the range of net services, and we need them to be both accessible and ubiquitous.

If stories like this concern you, seek out projects like Freenet. Learn about them, use them, and most importantly, contribute to them. If you care about your privacy, start taking it into your own hands. Remember, <bold>cypherpunks write code.</bold>

From Eric Hughes' Cypherpunk Manifesto:

...therefore, privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system. An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired; this is the essence of privacy.

We cannot expect governments, corporations, or other large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy out of their beneficence. It is to their advantage to speak of us, and we should expect that they will speak. To try to prevent their speech is to fight against the realities of information. Information does not just want to be free, it longs to be free. Information expands to fill the available storage space. Information is Rumor's younger, stronger cousin; Information is fleeter of foot, has more eyes, knows more, and understands less than Rumor.

We must defend our own privacy if we expect to have any. We must come together and create systems which allow anonymous transactions to take place. People have been defending their own privacy for centuries with whispers, darkness, envelopes, closed doors, secret handshakes, and couriers. The technologies of the past did not allow for strong privacy, but electronic technologies do.

We the Cypherpunks are dedicated to building anonymous systems. We are defending our privacy with cryptography, with anonymous mail forwarding systems, with digital signatures, and with electronic money.

Cypherpunks write code. We know that someone has to write software to defend privacy, and since we can't get privacy unless we all do, we're going to write it. We publish our code so that our fellow Cypherpunks may practice and play with it. Our code is free for all to use, worldwide. We don't much care if you don't approve of the software we write. We know that software can't be destroyed and that a widely dispersed system can't be shut down.



Speaking of which (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by cypherpunks on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 02:55:11 AM EST

Anyone notice that the "cypherpunks/cypherpunks" login works here?

--rusty :-)

[ Parent ]

What will Her Majesties government do... (3.70 / 3) (#22)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 07:08:25 AM EST

...if it turns out that the majority of UK citizens on the Internet making slanderous and/or libelous statements are too young to be legally culpable?

For that matter, if underage teenagers arn't prosecuted, then what kind of a precedent would that establish under UK law for prosecution of adult offenders?

I can see that this is opening a really sticky can of legal worms.

If they don't prosecute juveniles because they are afraid of the public backlass, then that kind of shoots the idea of adult prosecution.

If they do prosecute juveniles ( by, for example, fining their parents ), then I think that a number of the UK media companies will jump on board the contraversy for all it's worth.

Either way, I tend to suspect that Scoot may have bitten off a very large mouthful on this one.

You might be strangling my chicken, but you don't want to know what I'm doing to your hampster.



'Anonymous' Message Board posting not so anonymous in the UK | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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