anonymity

submission deadline  
30 Sep 2015

Issue Editors: Götz Bachmann, Michi Knecht and Andreas Wittel

Anonymity is deeply tied to the European values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Concealing one’s identity can enable freedom (as in the anonymity of speech), support equality (e.g. in anonymous application procedures), and provide the basis for non-reciprocal relationships as expressed in the value of brotherhood (e.g. asking a stranger for directions). It is capable of traversing cultural differences and is essential for many contemporary forms of sharing, communality and collaboration (e.g. commons based peer production such as Wikipedia entries and open-source software). However, it is also contested and, indeed, under threat: networked databases, biometric identification and surveillance technologies such as CCTV are matched by discourses that condemn anonymity and celebrate transparency and openness. Legal, technological and moral imperatives towards transparency contribute to a process in which anonymity is increasingly under attack. As a consequence, the ‘end of anonymity’ has been... more

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