Identities (WTF Series, 1)

Some say that it’s very important that they be able to use one identity while doing one thing, and a different one for another. In ‘cyberspace’ they want to be able to express themselves without that expression being tied back to them.

My gut reaction is that I don’t like this. It seems dishonest. It’s contradicts what is possible in meat space, where I have to stand behind what I say and do. Do they have something to hide? Shouldn’t they be held accountable for their statements?

Yes, but, some say, the net doesn’t forget. You can do a search on something you said or posted at the beginning of (internet) time and it will still show up. Don’t you ever say something that you later regret? Or that is innocent now but harms your reputation later?

Like many things, the speed and scope of computers and telecommunications changes things. Where in the past it was workable to consider impersonation as a bad thing, perhaps in the 21st century it is perhaps reasonable to support multiple digital identities.

Maybe. But the world works on personal relationships and reputation. I am willing to do business with you because someone I trust has told me that you are a good person.
Posted on April 6, 2004 and filed under Uncategorized.