Friday, June 7, 2554

Upending anonymity, these days the Web reveals all

Now, apparently, is the place where he died the anonymity.

A commuter in New York that tangled verbally with a conductor on Tuesday — and defended herself asking "do you know which schools, I've been to and educated as they are?" — has been identified publicly after a fellow pilot posted a video phone meeting on YouTube. The woman, who had gone to NYU, was ridiculed by a group of bloggers, one of which was the last episode of "Name and shame on the Web."

Women who were friends of pen on-line former representative Anthony d. Weiner Similarly learned how quickly Internet users can sniff all the details of a person's online life. So did the men who set fire to cars and shops looted in the wake of Vancouver's Stanley Cup defeat last week, when they have been identified, marked with online acquaintances.

The collective intelligence of the two billion Internet users and fingerprints that many users leave websites, combine to make it increasingly likely that any embarrassing video, every intimate photos and every email Indelicato is attributed to its source, if that source wants it or not. This intelligence makes the public sphere more public than ever before and sometimes forces personal lives in public view.

For some, this may evoke comparisons to repressive Governments in the Middle East that control the exact punishment offline and online protests. But the positive effects can be numerous: criminality can be booked, can be rebutted falsehoods and individuals can become icons of the Internet.

When a freelance photographer, Rich Lam, digested his photos of the riots in Vancouver, saw several shots of a man and a woman, surrounded by police officers in riot gear, in the middle of a kiss like nobody's watching. When the photos were published, a worldwide roundup of sorts followed to identify the pair kissing. " In one day, relatives of the couple had leaked news websites for their identity, and there were, on Monday, her show "Today": Scott Jones and Alex Thomas, the ultimate test that, thanks to the Internet, every day could be a day that will be remembered around the world.

"It's kind of amazing that there was someone there to take a photo," ms. Thomas said "Today".

The "couple kissing" will probably only worth a tweet of Fame, but it is worth noting that were monitored at all.

This erosion of anonymity is a product of pervasive social media services, cheap cell phone cameras, photos and videos free Web host, and perhaps most important of all, a change in people's views on what should be public and what should be private. Experts say that sites like Facebook, which require real identities and encourage the sharing of photos and videos, have accelerated this change.

"Humans want nothing more than to connect, and companies that we connect electronically wants to know who says what, where," said Susan Crawford, Professor at the Benjamin n. Cardozo School of Law. "Consequently, we are more popular than ever."

This growing "publicness", as it is sometimes called, comes with significant consequences for the trade, for the political discourse and for ordinary people to the right to privacy. There are the efforts of Governments and corporations to create online identity systems. Technology will play an even greater role in identifying individuals once anonymous: Facebook, for example, are already using facial recognition technology in ways that are alarming to European regulators.

After the riots in Vancouver, unnecessary spaces such facial recognition technology — they simply combed through social media sites to try to identify some of the people involved, as Nathan Kotylak, 17, a star on Canada's junior water polo team.

On Facebook, Mr. Kotylak apologized for the damage he had caused. Reports not only hit him, it influenced his family: local news media reported that his father, a doctor, had seen its rankings on a site review of medical practice,, after people posted comments on his son's involvement in the riots. Other people then went to the website of the doctor and improve his place.

Predictably, there was a reaction to the identification of persons involved in the riot-assisted Internet alcohol-fueled. Camille Cacnio, a student in Vancouver, who was photographed during the uprising and who admitted to stealing, wrote on his blog that the "21st century witch hunt" on the Internet was "another form of bullying".

In the area of New York commuters who was the object of derision on-line last week shut down both her Twitter accounts and LinkedIn once his name bubbled up on blogs. Even if the person who originally posted the video took down cell, other people quickly republished, giving new life history. The poster of the original video remains anonymous because his YouTube account was closed.

Half a world away, in countries such as Iran and Syria in the Middle East, activists sometimes have managed to identify victims of violence and dictatorship through YouTube videos uploaded anonymously.

They are also able to identify false: In a case widely publicized this month, a blogger who claimed to be a Syrian-American and lesbian herself called "A Gay Girl in Damascus" proved to be an American man, Tom MacMaster.

The investigator was led by Andy Carvin, a strategist for NPR who exhaustively covered Middle East protests on Twitter. When said sources who were skeptical of the identity of the blogger, "I just started to ask questions on Twitter and Facebook," Mr. Carvin said on CNN. "Have you met someone in person? You know you at all? As I asked, but I've learned, because no one had even met her, presumably had reporters who interviewed her in person. "

Mr. Carvin, his followers and other on-line used photos and server log data to connect your blog to the wife of Mr. MacMaster.

"Advertisement" — something normally associated with celebrity — "is no longer scarce," Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, written in an essay of this month.

He postulated that because the Internet cannot be made to forget "pictures and moments of the past, such as an explosion on a train or a kiss during a riot," the reality of a world government inevitable is a problem that we're going to hear about a lot more. "

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