To communicate anonymously is a basic constitutional right. It is an integral part of the freedom of speech. However, anonymity on the Internet is increasingly not self‐evident. Anonymity is one of the characteristics of the Internet. Is misconduct overemphasized or is improper Internet usage on the rise in the last couple of years? Many governments and lobby groups are of this opinion and want more control over the Internet to prevent misconduct and misuse. Pleas for digital passports and other forms of (self)regulation and legislation are increasing or in some countries legislation is already being put into place to limit the freedom of expression on the Internet. It looks as if anonymity on the Internet will soon be something of the past. The Patriot Act in the USA is an example of the far reaching powers of authorities to limit freedom of speech. It does not only threaten freedom of movement on the Internet, it also affects the business of Internet service providers (ISPs), Internet cafes and libraries. The implications for Internet users and institutions, like libraries, are discussed. It is clarified with some examples from the USA and elsewhere.
Nijboer, J. (2004), "Big Brother versus anonymity on the Internet: implications for Internet service providers, libraries and individuals since 9/11", New Library World, Vol. 105 No. 7/8, pp. 256-261. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074800410551002
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