Who goes there?

Eric Fanner, writing in the International Herald Tribune, notes that some people would like you to use your real name on the Internet, if you please:

Online anonymity is essential for political dissidents, whose role has been highlighted in the uprisings in the Arab world, and for corporate whistle-blowers. In the United States, the Supreme Court has found a constitutional basis for protecting anonymity.

Why, then, are the calls for restrictions on Internet anonymity growing?

Last month, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich of Germany said bloggers should disclose their true identities, citing the case of the Norwegian terrorist suspect Anders Behring Breivik, who had blogged under the pseudonym “Fjordman.”

Um, no. Breivik actually blogged under the name “Andrew Berwick.” He did, however, make numerous references to the work of Fjordman, whose name is Peder Jensen. (I’m not revealing any secrets here: Jensen outed himself last month.) Friedrich did not confuse Breivik and Fjordman, so this error is clearly Fanner’s.

Still, if anything, the error reinforces Fanner’s point: if the media can screw up your identity, it’s probably just as well that they don’t know you.


  1. fillyjonk »

    7 September 2011 · 10:33 am

    This strikes me as being not unlike the concept that “since people once hijacked planes with boxcutters, we now need to effectively strip every passenger getting on a plane to be sure.” Including manhandling children and making people using walkers sit by while their walkers are taken to bits.

    There’s always evil in the world, but levying more and more rules against basically law-abiding people in the slim hope of catching the evil few seems wrong to me.

  2. Old Grouch »

    7 September 2011 · 12:22 pm

    Well, at least now we know how reliable Eric Fanner is.

RSS feed for comments on this post