The Problem with Anonymity

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Blake missed a shot at the end of a playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder that could have won the game.

As a result, he received death threats via Twitter.

Of course, the Twitter account of the sender was set up using fake information, thus allowing the sender to remain anonymous.

Any reasonable person would recognize that this is taking things too far.

Threatening somebody’s life over a sporting event is the epitome of losing perspective.

But no reasonable person is surprised at hearing this story either. From comments on YouTube postings to chat rooms, the Internet is filled with hate speech and people taking things too far.

And most of the time it is done anonymously, and that is problem.

Writing over two thousand years ago, Plato recognized the problem of anonymity.

In book 2 of The Republic, Plato’s brother Glaucon tells the story of the Ring of Gyges.

The story is of a farmer who finds a ring that makes him invisible.

He uses this power to rob, cheat, and kill.

Think Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man.

 Read the rest of this Calgary Sun article at http://www.calgarysun.com/2012/06/01/scott-web-of-anonymity-breeds-bad-behaviour
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