British Labour MP Jess Phillips says she has been bombarded with more than 600 rape threats in a single night. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks should be made to record people’s real identities, said Phillips. The security minister, Ben Wallace, has called for digital IDs to end online anonymity; while Theresa May has used the G7 summit to call for tech companies to tackle attacks against women.
What good reason is there for people be anonymous on the internet? None that I can think of. If you have something to say you should have the courage to say it openly, and be prepared for someone to argue against your point of view. Anonimity encourages the bullies and yobs and brings out the worst in a section of the population, who, prior to the age of the internet, couldn’t spread bogus news, make ad hominem comments and unsupported accusations, not to mention nasty, cruel comments on fellow school students. The stance of the Libertarians that foul language and nasty accusations are the exercise of “free speech” is total baloney. Total freedom is total license. There have to be rules of truth and decency – and Epicurean moderation.