EIGHTH INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM
BUILDING BRIDGES ‑ ENHANCING MULTI‑STAKEHOLDER COOPERATION FOR GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
OCTOBER 24, 2013
ONLINE ANONYMITY, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND INTERNET GOVERNANCE
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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication access realtime translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
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>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Can everyone take their seats, please if they haven't already done so.
Okay. I think we seem to have almost everyone here. Thank you very much for coming and welcome to workshop number 55, entitled "Online Anonymity, Freedom of Expression and Internet Governance."
Can everyone hear me. Good morning, my name is Nicola Douglas. I'm hear part of the YIGF project. We will discuss online anonymity, and freedom of expression and Internet Governance. Last year in Baku, the team discussed ‑‑ conducted a workshop, and some of the conclusions which arose from the discussion were anonymity gives power, that it can offend, but that it also gives people a voice, and that it can aid freedom of expression.
But at the same time, it can provide a mask which encourages people to behave differently for the worst or the better. And we think it's particularly relevant to the IGF subtheme, human rights, freedom of expression and the free flow of information.
So in preparation for the IGF summer camp, we created a working definition. But if anyone has any other opinions on this, we're going to be exploring varying perspectives on what anonymity is and we are very interested to area that because other perspectives is really what is quite key here as part of the multistakeholder discussion that IGF is. We are looking for a broad range of perspectives so we can have a broad discussion in this workshop and that's what we are aiming for, broad discussion on the issues in the title and thus increasing everyone's understanding about the topics that we are introducing here other investigating here.
So I'm all stressed, especially as young people that this is our experience and our perspective and the industry, it's their perspectives. So we're all limited in the fact that we can only talk about how we perceive things. So just to put that out for everyone.
So quickly, the structure of the workshop, I will first ‑‑ I'm going to introduce everyone and everyone is going to be talking ‑‑ the team, they will be talking about the survey that we conducted this summer, which we will be referencing throughout this workshop. And then we are going to ask all of our panelists the benefits of anonymity and its relationship with freedom of expression, followed by a 5 to 10 minute reflection where we will welcome questions about the floor and then we will talk about the challenges that anonymity poses with respect to Internet Governance.
Finally, a longer discussion at the end and we hope to get lots of feedback there and then I will make some concluding remarks.
Without further adieu, I would like you to stand up and give a wave when I say your name. To begin with, the members of YIGT, the youth Internet governance project, Matthew Jackman, 18 years old, Jack Passmore, 17 years old. Micaiah Gordon, 15 years old and Jaydene Reece‑Gardner, we are all from the United Kingdom. I'm Nicola Douglas, I'm 18 years old as well. And it's to introduce our other youth participants we have Vivian Chuen Yee from Hong Kong who is here with that mission. Luis Cuende who is a advisor to the vice president of the commission. We'll clap at the end. We have a few more panelists to get through. Industry analysts, we welcome Simon Milner, director of policy in the UK and Ireland for Facebook and Ana Lucia Lenis, with Google. And Nigel with ICANN and that's it for industry. Civil society now, Donny Bu have Indonesia who is here from I can watch and finally last but definitely least, Marion Franklin who is the chair of the Internet rights and principles commission, and for those of you who didn't know, and also related with goldsmith University. We would like to mention Hannah Broadbent who will hopefully bring in some remote participation.
So now, I will hand over to the rest of the team. We're going to talk about the survey we conducted this summer and Jaydene, I think you are going to begin.
>> JAYDENE REECE-GARDNER: We designed a survey to explore global opinion on anonymity, freedom of expression and Internet Governance. It was conducted in three phases of discussion. Through an elimination process, we accumulated key questions that we thought suited our theme. The survey was promoted through Childnet's Internet context and was open for a month. Open questions were included in the survey, blended with some closed ones to enable respondents to express themselves a key almost of our theme.
>> No total, 1,383 people took part in our online survey. 50% of the respondents were 13 to 18 years old. And 40% were 19 to 35, and a further 10% were over 36 years old.
There were responses from across 68 countries, and the highest of which came from Finland, the United Kingdom, China, and Mexico. And India.
Other countries that took part included Afghanistan, Germany, Peru, and the United States. There was also a survey that showed almost 65% of the respondents had interacted anonymously online in the past year. While the other 35%, they had either ‑‑ they either have not participated in anonymous acts or they did not know if they had.
>> So we all admit and accept that anonymous use on the Internet is now commonplace and this was revealed in our survey with two‑thirds saying they acted anonymously in the last year. But further to this, actually a third of our respondents admitted that they actually used false names to achieve anonymity, which is extremely interesting. However, this, you know, raises the question of trust. And does this breed a culture of distrust with anonymous use?
>> We also found that there are many different methods of online communication. You can use anonymous comments on a service.
>> We found from the survey that people used anonymous sites for two main reasons and then obviously a lot of other reasons but the main reasons were to protect personal information, so 65% of the respondents said that's why they were using anonymous sites and the second was to be safe or to feel safer. So perhaps we can see that there is, perhaps, a false feeling that anonymity is complete security and complete protection, but to everyday users anonymity provides the security and the privacy they are looking for. So protecting personal information and feeling safer were the two things that anonymity brought to our respondents.
>> We also found that respondents would feel they could express themselves more freely online if they were anonymous, without having the fear the repercussions. We found nearly two‑thirds said they would likely say what they wanted online if they were anonymous.
>> Okay, obviously with the feeling that they can say things more freely, that does lead to the kind of flip side of an anonymous use which is the negative side. And the abusive side of anonymous use. And so we found that 71%, which is really quite high number, which I will come back to as well, felt that people were nastier if they were using anonymous sites. They fell they were nastier. That's a negative effect from anonymous use. 30% said they received abuse from anonymous sites and 25% so that's one‑quarter of the respondents admitted felt that they would be nastier online and this comes back to a statistic we will mention in a moment, which is that 86% of the people still believe that anonymous use and anonymous sites are crucial, you know, possibly stretching into they be a right online. It's interesting that these people highlighted that there are abuses from anonymous use but then they still see the necessity for anonymity online.
>> And to the negative reasons for anonymity, because there are quite a few which we discovered through our survey. Reasons such as bullying, hate speech, sexual harassment, and the spreading of false information and rumors. We found that the percentage of people that thought that people were more abusive when they were anonymous online was more prevalent in the younger age brackets with peaks, 84% in the 16 to 18 category. And there was a steep decline in people who agreed with the statement as the age ranges goes up to 36 years plus.
>> But as always we can't forget the positive implications of anonymous use. And 50% of our respondents said they found good from anonymous use and they gave different examples, help and advice. They felt they could give compliments and also to the extent for human activists they could criticize governments. So they all tie into the bracket of freedom of expression, which obviously is hugely linked to anonymous use, how people feel more free online.
If you missed any of the stuff you said and you want to find out more about the survey, there are 50 copies on the door out but we are trying to introduce the ideas an the foundings that we found throughout our survey.
>> So to summarize the points that we found, the majority of people felt that it's important to allow people to be anonymous online if they wish to be. And supporting the statement we had 86% of our respondents agree with that. So as in the offline world, we control what information we share with different people, and anonymity can be a way of separating the personal information you will might share with family or friends from the information you will might share with someone you don't know, say a stranger.
>> That is on. Okay. Well, thank you very much for that, everyone.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think it's very important ‑‑ I call it like the idea, something that Matthew mentions but the ideas of random acts of kindness on the Internet. We will go focus on positives later on of the first of all, I will begin with some introductory questions but just to reiterate the fact that we will be referencing the survey throughout and, again, it is by the door. I will say it again because we have 50 copies there and we would like them all to go. So do pick one up on the way out.
Just to begin with introductory questions. This is directed to the youth panelists and you can answer all three or just one. I will come to Vivian first, actually so just to say the questions, how do you define anonymity? What does anonymity mean to you in practice? And do you feel that you can be completely anonymous online? Are.
>> VIVIAN LO CHUEN YEE: Yeah, hello, I'm Vivian from net mission. I think it means I don't have to reveal any personal information online, so I can be nobody on the Internet. I can be whatever person that I want. And it means that I can do something that I dare not to do in the reality or something that I want to do in the reality but I was confined by some various factors.
For example, I feel bad for my school policy but yet as a good student, I cannot blame the school directly or express my feelings to it. So if I go online and be anonymous, I can leave a comment in my school website so they will understand what I feel bad about without really knowing who I am.
But, however, I don't think that I can be completely anonymous online. Even though I hide all of my information, like my name and my sex, and my personal email address, et cetera, still I believe there are professional technicians that can track my IP address and track all the information that I left online. So probably that's my opinion on these three questions.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Luis, you would like to say anything on this? I know Eline definitely does.
>> LUIS CUENDE: Yes, I think anonymity is more like my online activity cannot be tracked or logged in any like, technical way. So when I approach a website, for example, the ISP or the government or the website, doesn't know that that account is just linked to me.
What was the second question, I'm sorry?
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: So what does it mean in practice?
>> LUIS CUENDE: In practice, yes, it means exactly that, that when I log in, for example, the website doesn't, like, track down my activity to my person.
And I don't really feel anonymous. When you are, for example, creating a fake account in a ‑‑ you know, in Chrome or whatever browser you are using. So the website doesn't know who you are because you are creating a fake account, you know, with a Window or whatever you are using but your ISP still, like, tracking every single HTTP request you are doing to their server. So it's like the ISP and the government, it's very clear that they are tracking us down. So the website may not really know who you are really but the ISP does, and the government in the end also does because of the US. So I don't feel anonymous in any way.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Okay. And Eline, you would like to answer some of those questions?
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: Yes, I will say something about defining anonymity. I think if you talk about, it it's really important that you realize that you are talking about a relationship. You are only anonymous in relation to somebody else. For example, if you are on a forum, you might be anonymous to the other users of the forum, but you are probably not to the moderators or the owners of website. You really need to be aware of that. I can't's why I feel you are never really anonymous. You can almost always be traced back to you. So I think if you talk about being anonymous, you really depend on the website, who is protecting your privacy. So you always have to trust in a sense somebody with your information.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks very much. I'm going to come to jack now. I think you have a comment on this?
>> JACK PASSMORE: For me, I believe, anonymity is an evasion of accountability, and evasion of the consequences of our actions.
It provides a mask for freedom and confidence, and it can give someone to change the personality and change human behavior online. I don't believe you can be completely anonymous online. Anything and everything you do online, can be tracked by data aggregation and with advancements in technology and the rate they have been evolving in the 21st century, I believe there will come a time when nothing is hidden and users will all be stripped of their anonymity and expose themselves.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks, very much, Jaydene, you would like to make a comment on this?
>> JAYDENE REECE-GARDNER: I define anonymity as using a service without a substantial amount of people knowing your true identity, and at times without accountability. I don't use any anonymous services, but in practice, it would definitely mean to me someone I couldn't identify. I don't feel you can be completely anonymous because you can be traced by using an IP address, for example. Many people who are in touch with the technological side of things have ways around it, and I think that people who wouldn't bother to investigate who you are, if you were anonymous, yeah, you could be completely anonymous to them. So, yeah.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks, Jaydene. I think what we ‑‑ the vibe I was getting from the panelist is so anonymity in itself does not exist. He can be traced. We are all aware that there's data out there about us and that, you know, the government ‑‑ it's available there for people to find out about us.
But at the same time, from the perspective of young people, I think that it's been identified that maybe as Eline is saying, we are not anonymous to other people on the service ‑‑ that we remain anonymous to other people in the service, and so that, you know, if there is a case of signor bullying going on, you are not necessarily able to find out would that is, who that is, that's sending you the anonymous abuse because as Jaydene was saying, we are not technologically advanced because I personally don't know the second thing about IP addresses. I'm sure you all do. I personally don't. I think it's an interesting distinction to make. I it's something we should keep in mind in the nature of anonymity, yes, it doesn't technically exist, but in some people's perspective, it definitely is, there and it is a problem.
So I think we'll move on to first sort of section of our discussion which is the benefits of anonymity and its relationship with freedom of expression. So I'm going to start 64% of the respondents in our survey said that they chose to be anonymous in order to protect their personal information. And sort of to carry on from that, I'm asking the panelists why might you choose to be anonymous instead of using your real name. Eline, I think you have something to say here.
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: Yeah, I wanted to say something about young people, but then more maybe about in the Section 19 to 23, because in countries where social change and political change happens so it's really young countries, and young people can bring about the change. And I think the Internet is an important means for them to communicate their ideas, to be critical of their government and to bring about change. So in that sense, it's really important for them to be aware of the fact that it's always ‑‑ almost always possible for the government to trace down who they are, and there are so many cases of bloggers being arrested.
So I think that this awareness should be there, but then if they are aware of that, I think they can still be anonymous to some extent, that they cannot be traced and really express their opinions and can bring about a change.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much. We will come to Vivian. Would you like to say something about this?
>> VIVIAN LO CHUEN YEE: I would like to pass this time to Ella.?
>> Personally, I ‑‑ I agree that, you know, I would want to be anonymous, instead of using my real name because first of all, you know, if I'm anonymous, then obviously people wouldn't know who I am on the Internet, like, I'm able to just, you know, speak out, you know on my own opinions and say whatever I want on the Internet without having anyone really know who I am. And personally, I feel that if I will wasn't anonymous and if I use my real name, I would feel, that you know, I'm being exposed on the Internet. Like someone knows my name and someone knows that this is my opinion. So, you know, basically, you know, I would rather be anonymous than use my real name.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much. I think we are going to come to Matthew now.
>> MATTHEW JACKMAN: Thank you so much. Yes, as you said, people want to protect their personal information, but I kind of see it as more the kind of power and the security aspect and also, it's simple and there's almost no stress in anonymity, there's no worry about your personal reputation because it's not necessarily you. You are just kind of blank and the words come out. So I would like to put this in kind of a ‑‑ if you imagine Internet use in an interview situation and you imagine the kind of face‑to‑face interview is real name usage, and you are judged on how you look, your image, everything you say. But an anonymous interview would be over text and you are sitting in your massage chair and it's all very nice and very simple.
You see the positives for the anonymous use. It's stress‑free. It's good. And there's no prejudice. There's no kind ‑‑ you are not judged on anything because it's just the words you are saying in the interview but then the face‑to‑face is more authentic. It's more real. Okay? And you are judged on everything. So you want everything to be the best it can for yourself, and you will notice, I guess in this workshop, when you pass the microphone, you all turn around to have a look at the person who is speaking. You know, you don't just listen to their words. You look at them. You judge them and then you start making interpretations. So that to me is, you know, the kind of distinctions there. And I e ‑‑ I see the positives why people choose anonymous use but the trust issues that are raised with that are very important.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks, very much, Matthew. Do you want to make another comment there?
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: If I can respond to that. What I notice in this panel, which is really interesting, we are talking about the reality and that offline world is maybe more real, and I don't necessarily agree with that, that I think you are ‑‑ your online identity can be a bigger part of you as your offline identity. They may be different but they are still a part of you. So I have to say that I don't think it's more real. It is just as real Internet is a part of our reality, actually.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Do you want to respond to that, Matthew?
>> MATTHEW JACKMAN: It's inning. I think when you use an anonymous site, you kind of start afresh. Okay? You start ‑‑ obviously, it's you, I'm formulating the ideas. Yes, I am form an identity, and I go back to it, but essentially I'm starting a clean site. Yes, it's ‑‑ you know, I agree there's a lot of connections but I think anonymity makes you. The behavior changes make you act in a different way on the anonymous site.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Can you agree with that Eline. Is that something you would like to respond? I'm quite enjoying this. It's going on across me. It's good to get the discussion in.
I think if we finish up with that, the more positive uses of anonymity, but Micaiah, you have something to say here.
>> MICAIAH GORDON: Well, positive anonymity is something that we did look at on our survey, we' found out that half of our respondents have seen anonymity being used positively online. And more 16 to 18‑year‑olds had seen positive anonymity being used online than experienced negative abuse directly.
And one quote we did get was a female from Mexico, would is age 13 to 15 and she said that she uses anonymity to stand up for someone. And another male from Finland, also in the same age bracket said people often come to help anonymously when someone is being bullied by someone else would is also on an anonymous being. And I think that this does show that being anonymous gives people the confidence to stand up for others where they might not have done in real life, and also it gives people, like, the kind of confidence that they might not normally have.
And another male from the US, age 26 to 35 said, I'm trans but not out on the Internet. When I talk about trans issues I don't want it connected with the same person that other people know and I think that this is because anonymity allows people to seek advice about subjects they are embarrassed about or don't want people in their personal life offline to actually know about. So thank you.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks for that Micaiah. Anonymity does give more confidence and I think Ella also has something to say about this, or is that okay, or Vivian? If either one of you wish to respond.
>> I definitely agree with what she said. I feel that teenagers nowadays in real life, they would feel completely afraid of being judged on whatever they say, so anonymity really helps them to have that confidence online. So basically, you know, they get confidence from, you know, saying stuff online, in contrast to offline where they would feel afraid.
If a teenaged girl, she suffers from personal problems, for example, she has problems in schools, then should would be able to tell people online, anonymous people online, maybe chatrooms, you know, having fear of being, you know, judged basically.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks very much for that, Ella, I think it's definitely a point to make, that fear of being judged is always there and it's prevalent for young people, especially when it come from societal norms and things and what you do and do not feel comfortable saying in front of your peers in an offline environment. It may be something you feel incredibly confident if you are feeling anonymous as some people want those opinions to be linked back to them.
So I think where we have been neglecting our other panelists. How does anonymity impact freedom of expression? So we are looking for positive uses here and maybe some global case studies that you could possibly offer to the discussion.
So I'm going to come first to Mary Ann, so just to recap.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I was tweeting. I was tweeting. Sorry. I was sort of listening. I can't multitask.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I'm sure you were. It's okay. Anonymity impacting freedom of expression and the positive uses.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Yes, I suppose my example for today. I will give you first half of the example from the positive side, I had written about this young woman called "The Once Homeless Girl." 16 years old when her family found themselves homeless through the mortgage ‑‑ the crisis, the economic crisis in 2008, very unfortunate. She was able to go online, make contact with people through a gifted mobile phone, blogging eventually as the once homeless girl, in other words quite anonymously because homelessness is a shameful condition for her and many people, and it's also one of the many forgotten communities. This allowed her to discuss many issues about being hopeless and what happens to you when you come from a good background. She said I'm in this terrible position.
I call it having an Avatar, having another identity online allowed her to say this. Her blog became extremely significant and Huffington post picked it up and I will continue the story later.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much. So I assume we will get the challenges a bit later on.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Yes, yes.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Donny, if I could come to you. I know your organisation does some work specifically with human rights and I wondered if you could give us any perspective on how anonymity impacts this.
>> DONNY BU: Yes, so first of all, I want to say anonymity more or less is part of the right to be available on the Internet, because this is the hyperconnected world. So we have to ‑‑ we have the right to be unavailable.
But this depends on the ‑‑ in the use of the anonymity itself, because we know that there's a reason why people do the anonymity or why people go online anonymously, first, because they want to be freedom of constraint and the second the freedom of responsibility. So for the people who choose to be anonymous because they want freedom of constraints, it's good, because it's part of the freedom online because it's part of the human right.
But if people would like to go online anonymously because there's more freedom of responsibility, that's very bad. Now sometimes the people, they just, you know, they think that anonymous is not good. For example, for some cases, in Indonesia, if you speak or if you are voicing about corruption, for example, or you have information about corruption, and you are a blogger and you put your name on all of your data, clearly on the Internet, it will harm you or your family. So you have to ‑‑ you have to share it anonymously.
But then, because ‑‑ because the people have power, then they can, you know, persuade the mass media to say anonymous is bad. So the challenge is not only how we can become anonymous, but the challenge is how the people understand, how the people ‑‑ we can educate the people, how to choose which one information is legitimate and credible and which one is not, because the information, the information, not only because it's anonymous. Sometimes the mass media also given the price information. It's not about the anonymity, it's about the credibility of the source of the information.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Okay. Thank you very much for that. I'm just ‑‑ I'm aware of my time and I just asked you a question, I would say for later but a quick question for the both of you, if you could give a one word brief comment issue.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: One word?
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Do you think that anonymity is necessary for freedom of expression?
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Yes, absolutely.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Yes, absolutely, Donny?
>> DONNY BU: Yes.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: It's a strong yes from that side.
>> NIGEL HICKSON: I would like to comment. The answer is yes, but the comment is if we go back to before the Internet and the Internet is the world. Cyberspace, let's forget this stupid term. The Internet is real. You know, this is the reality of today. My generation, when we wanted to protest, we didn't, you know ‑‑ we didn't have the Internet. We went to rallies. We went to demonstrations. We went to the speakers corner in Hyde park and we stood up and shouted at politicians and we shouted at anyone that would listen. Yes, we wanted to be anonymous at some point. We didn't necessarily want people to know who we were. Other times, yes, we wanted to give our names because we wanted to represent an organisation or a society. So surely, this is the balance that's a reality.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think that's a very interesting point you make, Nigel, the sort of ‑‑ we do want to be anonymous, maybe if you are politicized, you want to be anonymous to the powers that be, perhaps but to the other people that you are trying to connect with, I think it's important that your name is known, I think. This was mentioned in our workshop earlier this week, workshop 19, was talking about with Louise Bennett. We have taken on board some ideas from that and I would welcome any comments from the floor later.
So I'm aware that all of this discussion of anonymity maybe has been perturbing some of our panelists because I think we will come to industry representative Simon, I will ask you how to make provisions to encourage freedom of expression because we have heard a lot about ‑‑ we have heard a lot about how anonymity is necessary to encourage it, but I think we would like some thoughts from you on this.
>> SIMON MILNER: So, I think most people here will know that one of the decisions that Mark Zuckerberg made in the early days of Facebook is it would be a real name environment. Actually, I think without that, Facebook wouldn't be what it is today. It wouldn't have grown to be a community of over 1 billion people, because actually people like to connect with people they know in the real world and that's what makes Facebook such a strong success.
But it's also an incredible platform for freedom of expression and that's partly because of some of the tools we provide. People can create a page about something they really care about and they can communicate with millions of people via that page, without necessarily revealing their personal identity and that's something that people find very powerful within Facebook. So any suggestion that Facebook's real name policy is inhibited its ability to be a platform for freedom of expression is clearly proven wrong by the number of campaigns and causes that have been promoted by that platform.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think that's a definite point to make there.
Ana Lucia, do you have any thoughts on this?
>> ANA LUCIAN LENIS: I thank you. Well, I think the anonymity is part of the freedom that we have to, and the options we have in the Internet and all the tools the different companies are providing, all the freedom it gives us, the Internet to express ourselves.
So then we have the opportunity to decide how I want to express myself, or it depends. Sometimes I want to express something to my parents but not to my friends or ‑‑ it depends, is it ‑‑ it's a reflector of the real world that ‑‑ and our real relationships. Sometimes I want to share the picture or it's something with my friends and I want to spread that it's me. It's Ana Lu or I want to search for medical information that maybe I don't want to express like me, maybe I want to be in incognito or use something different. So this is a freedom that the ‑‑ that we should have in the Internet, and it's not ‑‑ and I think that we need to think all the time in the balance between the individual freedom, the civil liberties and additionally the ‑‑ the protection of the citizens and sometimes I ‑‑ I totally agree that these are a huge concern, the issue about the surveillance or what is happening with my data. There are a lot of issues that you need to analyze and every circumstance is different.
It's something between a balance in the regulations and the freedom of expression and the rights. So we have to consider all of this when we have to.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much. I'm just briefly going to come to some of our panel members and more questions on the floor. So I will take you in about ‑‑ we will give it a few minutes or so. Do we have any remote participants that want to make a comment, Hannah? Nothing at the moment? (Off microphone comment).
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Ana Lu said, sometimes you want anonymity. Can anonymity help to develop and support, for example, using a pseudonym or a fake name, as someone that can be trusted but not necessarily with a real name. So Jack, do you want to share some of that?
>> JACK PASSMORE: Well, the development and the exploration of this is something that changes through the year and maybe people who are new to technology or services such as social networks like Facebook and Twitter will take on online persona and experiment and choose who they want to be. The only issue that may arise is anonymous services or the use of pseudonyms may give rise to a mask, or cloak that doesn't gift with anonymity online.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think it's Jaydene, you would like to ‑‑
>> JAYDENE REECE-GARDNER: Thanks. I think it can ‑‑ well, mostly before I used to solely believe that if you are using an unidentifiable user name, then you can't possibly be developing your identity, and I couldn't see how it added to the quality or supported your true identity, however, upon getting the results of our survey, my opinion has differed. Firstly, now we have interpreted from the results that people find their true identity for exploring online and some may want to do that anonymous.
Also, a female from 36 in the 36 plus category addressed her pseudonym is that name is me more so than me real name. Even though your parents give you a name that you may or may want your true identity, it doesn't mean that it's the real. Some may feel they can develop their true identity through being anonymous.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks, Jaydene. I think we are going to come to Jack and then Eline, and then I'm quite aware of my time. So I'm just going to add in another question really quickly but you can come back to it.
Okay. Sure. Sure. So just Jack then, and, Jack, I think if you want to, you can sort of answer the question now about using anonymous sites to avoid accountability and the potential consequences of sharing your views. So just ‑‑
>> JACK PASSMORE: I will come back to the question we just had about online exploration of identity. And I will come to our survey now because we have some amazing results that were shown from this. 65% of people said they are anonymous online to protect their personal information, which is great because then you get to avoid data aggregation because that is not always the safest way to explore it by putting your personal information. 29% of people said it was to protect their reputation, from employers or professional capacity. And 36% of people use an being with a false name. And these results could suggest that people using anonymity online to explore their identity and have the chance to be someone different, and act or behave in a different way online to how they usually worked in real life.
And we got a couple of quotes, some from our survey. We gave people the chance to express themselves rather than tick boxes and have statistics. This is from a female in Finland in the 16 to 18 year category. She said teenagers are trying to figure out who they want to be and being anonymous allows you to try different social roles safely. It's all about safety online. I haven't got a problem with being anonymous if you want to be, as long as you are doing it safely. That's the key point.
And many people also mentioned that anonymity online is fun and should be fun and has the capacity to be fun, and we have another quote from a male also in Finland in the 16 to 18‑year‑old category. We said it's fun to have a fictional identity for games and I agree with Xbox live and things like that. You do end up having your own little Avatar when you are online gaming. 31% of 16 to 18‑year‑olds were anonymous online because it is fun. 31% of all of our younger users and the higher percentages for this question were prevalent in the younger age brackets.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think what I really love about that is there are so many different positive uses of anonymity. Obviously we haven't quite focused on the negatives yet. I think we have the random acts of kindness. We have got of idea of being politicized and expressing your opinion and supporting causes that you agree with, obviously, Facebook provides for that in other ways. But the idea that anonymity can do more so on other sites.
I think we probably have some comments from the floor by this point. Where I missed some of the questions I intended to do, but ad‑libbing it.
So let's go. Who do I have from the floor. I have someone at the back. Pippa, you are ready to run?
So someone at the back, I remember name organisation, you are affiliated with, and speak up clearly because some of the mics are a bit low. Is that one not working? Okay.
>> PARTICIPANT: I'm from Bosnia. Not young anymore. Just in the spirit. This is my only thing. A few questions to understand your survey. Was the survey just produced in English or did you have the local version translated? And you had questions regarding sexual identities, minorities and all of this issue?
Second, I would like to say that anonymity ‑‑ and I mean, please it works for everyone. It's a principle you have or you don't. If you ‑‑ if we don't have anonymity as a principle, we can't cope with the negative side of not having it. If we have the principle there, then we can work out how no balance rights, because principles, once they are or there are not. But I'm really interesting in knowing which kind of question we are addressing all the other minority issues that make people question of life or left to be online in anonymous and safe way. Thank you.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much for that comment. I will respond to what you mentioned about the survey very briefly and, yes, it was translated into I think five different languages, and I would imagine Spanish probably was the main other one, because Childnet is a charity ‑‑ a charitable organisation and it was through their contacts that they found the people would took their time to translate it. So we're very grateful for those people to do so. Unfortunately we weren't able to get it in all languages. That's an impossible task to do a lot of time unless you have Facebook and you have 1 billion users who can translate for you at any time. I don't think Childnet quite has that many contacts yet, unfortunately.
Is there any comments from the floor? Come over here. Again, name and organisation you are affiliated with.
>> PARTICIPANT: No?
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Yes, we can hear you now.
>> PARTICIPANT: My name is Jorge, I'm a Mexican journalist. Congratulations for the panel. I just would like to make a quick point in regards to anonymity. This is, of course, our right, we have to have the right of anonymity on the Internet, but in certain parts of Mexico, and Latin America, anonymity is a matter of life or death, particularly because citizens wore using Twitter to report about drug violence can be killed. And they are protecting the activity, their identity. They are using tools but they protect their anonymity and reforms or whatever.
So for them, I think that's crucial.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I would agree with you. For some people in the world, anonymity is crucial. It protects them on a day‑to‑day basis. It was definitely something that arose last year. I was participating in a workshop about speaking about hate and we were talking to a youth blogger who was ‑‑ shared with us stories about how anonymity has saved his life on a number of occasions. Do we have any other comments from the floor? One over here. One over here. Possibly one over there. We will see if we have time. Can we please keep it brief because I'm aware there are so many people, but please, do go ahead.
>> I'm from Germany. In German law, we have laid down in the privacy and the data protection law the right to anonymity and synonymity. I was wondering whether you can extract the figures for Germany, if you have respondents from Germany, if that's related to the legal situation?
And the other question is whether you have knowledge about the legal situation in other countries, whether there are similar laws like in Germany. Thank you.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Sure. I'm sure ‑‑ I also was quite interested in the respondents from Germany because I aware of the situation there. I think we definitely ‑‑ unfortunately, we were not able to compare on a country basis. The age trends seemed to stick out more for us and I think some of the trends that have been brought up so far have been interesting, indeed.
I think we have a comment from the front row here if I'm not mistaken.
>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you very much. My name is Robert Bodle, and I'm a college professor, as well as a member of the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition. I'm really interested in this topic and I'm really enjoying this. This has been a great panel.
I wanted to share a paper called, "Wannabe On the Top, Algorithmic Power and the Threat of Invisibility On Facebook."
And it looks at age rank on Facebook and how your friends' posts are filtered for you. What this researcher is finding, Tonya Butcher is finding is people are negotiating the tension between being not paid attention to, and also being anonymous. So I'm wondering if you found in your findings, in your survey or in your own experiences this tension between being noticed, and being anonymous, and that might lead you to kind of decisions that you wouldn't want to have to make.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think that's an interesting comment. It calls into mind a quote from Oscar wild, I think he said something along the lines of the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Particularly pertinent here.
Eline, do you have a comment to make in response to that? Yeah, sure.
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: I wanted to respond to you because I feel there is not a tension between being anonymous, but it's a tension about being invisible and being noticed and being anonymous is something, I think is really different from it because your identity on the Internet can be anonymous, but really visible as well because it's a different identity you create, which as I said is still a big part of you.
And I wanted to say something in response to what we talked about on the right to anonymity and I think that shows how the tension between businesses and government on this subject can be really important because in a sense, the rights to anonymity should be ‑‑ is a government issue, I think. Like, maybe it should be a global law, but in the end, still now local governments are responsible to it.
So in countries like Mexico, where the government is what he said, is actually trying to interfere in that, I was wondering how businesses should act in that sense, because do they have to follow the law in those country and give up people's right to anonymity as well or should they take a political stance and do not do that?
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think Eline highlighted a contentious issue there, which I think a lot of companies may struggle with and businesses too.
Now, I'm looking at the time and it says 11:55. I think a couple more comments from the floor should be okay. Because we'll get some more discussion at the end of the workshop, but here and here and that's the final two comments I'm taking for this section. I will come you to the end. We have timetabled in some more discussion.
>> PARTICIPANT: My name is Carmen, and I'm have Estonia. My comments regard only the German legal system and Dr. Robert Bottle's comment before me that ‑‑ about the Germany and the anonymity there that's legal principle there, I think Germany ‑‑ the German legal system is a very good example because they really have a lot of court cases regarding anonymity there.
Have been court cases relating to teachers rating portals and so forth. However, when Facebook enacted their last privacy rules on 2012, then German data protection authority actually challenged it in the court because the privacy rules have real name policy in it. So Facebook kind of says you can't be anonymous any more when you register to be a user. When they find out that you provided a false name, your rights to present them the copy of photo ID. So just to give everybody a notice that this has been in the court, and the court first level was ruled down. They said, well, you can't apply German law because Facebook is situated in Ireland in Europe, but the authority has this promise and then public did declare that they will go forward with it.
So the Facebook is not really anonymous and so you can't really be invisible anymore.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much. I think the German example is a good one to bring in for this issue and the last comment from the floor and then we will start the next section of our workshop which is the challenges that anonymity poses.
>> PARTICIPANT: My is name is Caroline, I work for the Association for Progressive Communication is the woman's rights program of the organisation. And we have been working past three or four years on a protection that this is focused on sexual rights and Internet rights and I just wanted to bring the input that, like, for the reach we have been doing and also the recent survey we have been doing, like anonymity, like, comes as a major point of discussion, and it's ‑‑ it's extremely important, but I just wanted to respond in regards to real name policies on Facebook. I think activism, especially for people that cannot be identified because it's a patter of life and death, actually.
But they do still need to organise and then communicate with others to ‑‑ to demand ‑‑ to make their demands heard.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Yeah, I think our survey definitely reflected that with sort of the respondents who identified with the LGBT community, we are seeing that anonymity was a necessity for them, and that in order to come out or to just talk about the issues that they didn't feel that they could talk about with their friends, so that's from a more social situation, but also on the level above that, just being an activist for the community itself, in countries where holding such views is a matter, again of life and death as we seem to be returning to.
So I will end that part of the discussion there. But don't worry, I will come to any more questions at the end.
So just to begin section two of the workshop, the challenges posed by anonymity, and that this would specific consideration to Internet Governance. So I think we're going to come to Eline first for the question, how does anonymity impact on behavior online? Would you like to answer that or should we ‑‑
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: No.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Okay. Okay in which case I think Ella, you definitely would like to answer this question. Ella ‑‑ Ella can tell you because she's probably better prepared than I am.
>> ELLA: Hello. Hello? It's pretty simple. I feel that anonymity, you know, how impacts behavior online is that some people, they may feel that, you know, when they are online, and be anonymous, then they wouldn't be able to, you know, be identified for other people, and this leads to the point where they would, like abuse anonymity. Like, they would feel that they don't know ‑‑ because they know that people don't know who they are. They would abuse this and do whatever they want or say whatever ‑‑ whatever they want on the Internet and, you know, Francis Boeing, they would feel more comfortable to bully someone on the Internet because they wouldn't get caught and stuff.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think Eline would like to respond that one.
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: Yeah, I remember I had something to say. Because ‑‑ (no audio) they were in a lot of trouble. That's when I think the key issue is erroneous that anonymity online is virtually impossible still.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: So we're getting the impossibility of anonymity, again. So Matthew, I think you want to make a comment here?
>> MATTHEW JACKMAN: Yeah, no, no, I will say something here.
For me, anonymity does remove some of the social norms and really becomes a bit more spontaneous in what you say, that's just how I view anonymity. I feel it's more of a conscious stream of thought and I think less about the implications. So I say something that is probably more provocative and I think the gentleman at the front was saying that what are the tensions. You want to be anonymous and maybe anonymity provides that ability to being more provocative and thus you say things that are not attached to you but you do it to be noticed because, you know, it removes the restraint and the ethics and behavior does become a bit more reactive with emotions rather than reason which guide your actions which are just my thoughts on that.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks, Matthew.
Marianne. I will thought I would surprise you again. Oh, good. Good. So impacting on online.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Yeah, yeah, once homeless girl part two. We will now call her Nadia. Because as she became more confident and more visible, because I'm enjoying this important distinction here, became more visible amongst the blogging community, she was contacted by a wonderful activist who has been doing homeless TV. So he met her in a large global city on the planet which shall remain for the moment anonymous. And did a video of her and that's how I discovered her.
So here was her name. Here was her face. Here she was. So I became interested because this has been research I have been doing for some year and I organise an interview.
So she tells me as she became more prominent as once homeless girl, she started to discover this was on Facebook. She started to link up to Facebook. She got LinkedIn. She was having friends appear that she never knew. So this was the sort of automated linking in that Facebook does and this had some consequences she started to feel not so comfortable with. For instance, there were friends who weren't saying ‑‑ they were saying things she didn't like and someone else set them up as homeless girl. So she immediately had an issue with her profile, with her persona. We are not talking about anonymity so much as having another persona.
So she decided she became more confident, I will be finished in a minute, but she would actually come out and actually tell the world who she really is, because she wanted to advocate for homeless issues. And this was being picked up by Huffington Post which insists that you sign off as someone real. Now we know it's Nadia and I won't give her the last name because of the third part of the story that I will talk about.
She started to notice had a she was linked in automatically through these mechanisms that social networking websites, commercial social networking sites use to enhance the social networking but also for market research. She started to notice that visibility, even though she was supposedly anonymous had some sort of other layers she had not thought about.
I know how to finish the story but I'm not so sure where it will fit so can I just leave it hanging at that point? We now know who she is, what she looks like, what her first name is. To be continued!
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much, Marianne. I'm excited now. I can't wait. ‑‑ I'm definitely coming to you in the discussion at the end. Mental note there.
So I think for that question, sort of how does it impact online behavior, we definitely had a lot of answers for that. And I think part of the ‑‑ part of the reason that Mark Zuckerberg adopted the real name policy, it combats some of these challenges and stops them effectively, it removes some of the harms anonymity can cause. I really should be able to pronounce this right by this point in the workshop.
So I'm going to turn to industry representatives now. What are the challenges that anonymity poses for industry and how do you personally meet these challenges. Simon, you talked about ‑‑ you talked about the real name policy. If you think there's anything else would you like to mention here, Nigel, I'm coming for you because I know you have some things and Anna Lucia, is there anything you would like to mention? Yeah, do go on.
>> SIMON MILNER: So one thing that we clanged recently on Facebook was in regard to the young people, including those of you under 18 on this platform, to speak publicly. So we used to have a requirement that ‑‑ so we used to have an imposition that anybody under 18 on Facebook, the maximum audience they could have was friends of friends.
And one of the things we were hearing from people is that that meant that their voice was restricted. So actually, we were not enabling them to be as visible as they might to be on certain issues. So we have now changed that, and young people 18 can post publicly but what we also did is provide a lot of education around that to explain what that means. So if you are public, then that means other people can contact you and you may get friend requests and this goes to the point about Nadia may get friend requests from people you don't know. And Facebook's policy and advice, is only accept friend requests from people that you know in the real world.
We recognize that enabling a public voice for young people brings challenges as well. Not every safety organisation likes what we have done but we will see how it plays out.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think young people definitely welcome what you have done. I think part of freedom of expression is being able to choose your audience. And if you want to broadcast public, that's a choice to be made by the individual. Nigel, I welcome your comments.
>> SIMON MILNER: I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Nigel, a comment just to return to the question, challenges anonymity poses for industry and how ICANN, in particular, now as an organisation meet these challenges.
>> NIGEL HICKSON: Yeah, no, I mean, I mean, there's no doubting that, you know, this ‑‑ this debate is one of balance. And, you know from what we have heard from the panel, from what we have heard from business, from whatever, I mean, you know, there's no ‑‑ there's no absolutes in this game. I mean, in terms of ICANN, what does ICANN do? It manages the top level domain system. So we get involved in anonymity in the sense that if someone wants to register a domain name address, then do they do it in their own name? Can they do it in someone else's name? Can they remain anonymous? And under the registry agreement, we have just concluded, yes, they can remain anonymous.
But, of course, that only goes so far. And it's very important that certain individuals can remain anonymous when they join online groups, when they join sites when they join whatever because they might be doing things, protesting in their environments or doing things where their anonymity is very important to them.
The challenge for industry, of course, is that one, it only goes so far, and for a registrar of domain name addresses depending where that registrar is located, that registrar will be subject to lawful access. I mean, if the police come along and knock on the door and say, you know, we are trying to find a posting that's been made, and there might be good reasons why the police want to find that posting that's been made for the security forces or whatever. Because some on the panel have said the person might be using the anonymity to abuse or whatever. So there could be very good reason. On the other hand, of course, they could be using their anonymity to do something vital for their community. And therefore, there's always going to be a challenge and that is a challenge to industry.
But as long ‑‑ and, you know, I will finish here, but as long as this transparency, and, you know, we can take this where we ‑‑ and we haven't mentioned transparency. If people understand the conditions under which their anonymity can be challenged, then that, you know ‑‑ that is ‑‑ I'm not saying it's okay, but at least it's a step in the right direction. But if they have not idea the conditions under which their anonymity could be ‑‑
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I feel your pain, don't worry.
>> NIGEL HICKSON: It's early in the morning as well. The anonymity can be challenged, then the whole edifice of what you are doing collapses. If you haven't got that confidence, and really it doesn't matter whether you are being anonymous or whether you are speaking, but if you haven't got that confidence to know what is happening to your information, then you are in a really serious position.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much for that Nigel, and I think it's true. Just sort of the idea behind it is I think maybe an issue for education, educating people for what is happening to your information, something that was discussed in the privacy workshop. I think there's crossover between the two and a fruitful area of discussion.
>> ANA LUCIAN LENIS: I want to use a word that one of the panelists has mentioned and that is trust and the relations that we have within our industry. Maybe highlight two main issues. The importance of the tools that are available to protect our information, and the location. It's very important to provide good information to young people and how to provide tools to protect our own data.
Being anonymous is only one expression of the liberty and the freedom that we have to protect our privacy and to ‑‑ and to decide ‑‑ or have the options to share the information with the audiences, not only one that I think is our ‑‑ reflects some of the concerns that are included in the survey.
And the other one is that the concerns about what happened with my information and ‑‑ and I think that it is ‑‑ and the relationship with the government request, and the ‑‑ and security that is very important too and we need a balance. So I think transparency here is very important.
And, for example, what, in 2010, we launched the transparency report and it's something that is important not only for the olders, like me, it's important for the young people to have request of their data of the citizens.
Finally, I want to conclude that it reflects important for us, for the industry, that this kind of surveys is reflecting what our users are thinking, no and the young people. Sometimes we are thinking ‑‑ or we have round tables with people that is, I don't know, 30, 40, 50s.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Older and people who are aren't using your services. So, yeah.
>> ANA LUCIAN LENIS: Absolutely. The future is the young people. And sometimes when you talk about, I don't know, the games and the Avatar, I feel like, oh, I'm getting older. It's very important to understand and see what do you think? What it means an Avatar and your concerns about your privacy and the Avatar's privacy too.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: It's a good thing that we conducted the survey then and are participating in this workshop, indeed because we are all very keen to tell you what we think of the services that you provide. That's why we are here, after all.
So just I think we are going to continue now just it's a bit of a curve ball question, but Luis, could anonymity restrict the growth of the Internet? It's an interesting question and the reason I come to you because I know for the sort of programming and development that you do, we're just really wondering, if you think your success, you have been very successful, I was very impressed when I read your bio, but could it have been limited if you had been anonymous, as in were you able to sort of ‑‑ were you better able to promote yourself as it were through the using of your real name, maybe as opposed to a pseudonym or being completely anonymous? Any thoughts?
>> LUIS CUENDE: So I think it really depends. For example, it would be really important for the growth of the Internet, the anonymity, because think of about countries such as China, where there's the censorship. So they are getting to the Internet thanks to the things not providing anonymity. So in that respect, our anonymity is helping, like, growing the Internet with new users and new people in the services but on the other hand anonymity is hard like the big data movement, because, you know, the quality of the services that we use on the Internet, it depends on the data you provide, you input.
So for example, there's an advertisement based on my interest. So it makes the service better. But if you are anonymous, that kind of hurts the quality of the service you are trying to use. So on the one hand, anonymity is helping to grow the ‑‑ I think the user base of, you know ‑‑ the quality of users, connecting to this these services but on the other hand, it's helping the big data and all the back end infrastructure, they got information about you to make the services better for you. So I think ‑‑ yeah, I think it helps but on the other side it doesn't help too much.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks very much Luis. I'm definitely getting a sense of balance and contention, that I definitely will reflect on in the conclusion.
So just, and speaking of conclusions, we are actually coming to the end of the second part of our discussion right now and so I will ‑‑ I'm going to ask you a quick from earlier that I didn't mention for fear of time, but it's about the idea of accountability. So, again, speaking from a young person's ‑‑ young people's perspective, when it comes to interacting with our peers online, how accountable we think are for the things we say, and I will just bring the question up for you. This is directed at Jack and Micaiah, I'm asking them if people ‑‑ do you or do people in general use anonymous sites to avoid accountability and potential consequences of sharing their views? So jack, I think I will come you to first?
>> JACK PASSMORE: Well, personally, I tend not to be anonymous online because I believe whatever I'm going to say, I would say to anyone and I would take the consequences of my action and I have nothing to hide. I wouldn't shy away from accountable for that.
And more generally, I feel people tend to become anonymous to sort of shy away from accountability and hide from the consequences of what they say. And this is in our survey by 71% of people felt that others are more abusive than when they are online and this could imply that anonymity provides a mask for someone to exhibit a different personality to what they would usually inbound real life.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you, jack. That's an interesting opinion. Obviously we set that against people who use anonymity for activists to protect themselves but definitely in our social situation, we can see that people are less accountable for their actions, especially as the online and the offline worlds are the same. Nigel mentioned earlier, there's no such thing as cyberspace, it's just one space now. The discussions that bullying moves from in school, in the playgrounds to on the Internet and people can be less accountable for their actions there if they are able to use services anonymously.
So Micaiah, I know you have something to say about this. So, again, avoiding accountability and the potential consequences of sharing your views, what do you think?
>> MICAIAH GORDON: Well, is this on? Okay.
Well, I don't personally use the Internet anonymously, because it's just not my thing. I like people to know who I am. My friends know what I'm saying, and it's perfectly fine if everyone knows what I'm saying. It's nothing too controversial. But I will draw from the survey where a female from the Netherlands, age 26 to 35 said that she doesn't want everything I say online to be documented and searchable for the rest of her life. And I might change my mind.
And I think that this shows that people do use anonymous site to avoid accountability but also because they have shared a controversial taboo but not because ‑‑ not just because they have shared a taboo view, but out of privacy and security for themselves as well, and another lady from Kenya, age 19 to 25, said that she uses the ability to be anonymous online to discuss issues of sex, early marriage and other taboo subjects. I think this shows the use of anonymity is an advantage to her because she's able to express herself, when discussing certain subjects. So, yeah.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thanks, Micaiah. I know Simon has something that woe like to add in here.
>> SIMON MILNER: Yes, one thought to add to this. One of things that people use on Facebook, they use their privacy settings and they change the privacy setting far more than older users. And Tilley, it's very much about audience. So the point that the person from Netherlands in the survey was saying, was it Netherlands or Sweden, actually the point is that if you use those settings on Facebook, everything you say is not publicly searchable by everyone. So things you have only shared with a small number of people can only be seen by those people.
So I think that's what we see, particularly young people understand that, and therefore they can be themselves is but be themselves with different kinds of people, and different kinds of issues.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you, Simon. It's a good comment to there. Eline, I will come to you. We have ten minutes, but personal experiences about the challenges that anonymity poses.
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: Well, yeah, since we were talking about accountability as a good thing but that really depends on which country you are talking about. I wrote a dissertation about anonymity. I tried to contact the activist but that was not possible because that was anonymous. In that way, anonymity is used to a good way, but on the other hand, because the government doesn't allow them to be who they really are in the real world, which she just said doesn't exist, they are limited in expressing their views because I wasn't able to contact them that easily.
So in that case, the role of government is so important in this sense.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Did you get your essay done in the end?
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: Yes.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: So I think now, the question I had to move into the discussion was do the benefits outweigh the challenges. I think we have heard through the discussion no, because you can't really ‑‑ you are can't ‑‑ one can't outweigh the other. Both are important. So there's a balance and this has been reiterated time and time again.
So comments from the floor now. Marianne. Can we finish that store? I'm quite interested.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Okay. Part three.
I will give you the ‑‑ yeah, okay. Part three. I feel like Aesop. So Nadia has now come out. She's no longer invisible and so in a sense, she's no longer anonymous because there's a link between anonymity and visibility and invisibility. So having the post publishing the articles and things are going very well. Homelessness, in definitional terms are a pathway in and out of various homelessness. By this time she and her mom had found accommodation. As she became more stable in her life and her mother was more stable, it had a traumatic effect on both of them. They found somewhere to live. She started to think about being once homeless girl, her persona and then she was becoming less and less enthusiastic about all the unwanted attention she was getting. This is my point with this part three, her own community started to get ahold of her once they knew who she was with her last name which was now being used which I will not give.
She was getting some very unpleasant responses from her community, very upsetting. So coming out to owning being homeless, showing that you can become nonhomeless, you can get out of the situation by using her full name and being out there and her real person. Once homeless girl now Nadia with letter last name has decided it was enough and she just recently decided to discontinue her Twitter feed, discontinue her blog, and return to anonymity in the sense that she asked the Huffington Post to take down her articles because she wanted to retreat from this unwanted visibility.
And that took some time. I had to offer her legal advice by friends. Fortunately she managed to persuade the Huffington Post to take down her articles. They did, which is good. She's discontinued. She's blogging under another name, herself and in terms of my publication of her story, we conferred and she said, could I please ‑‑ because I was working with letter visibility option. Could I take away her surname. She's still very concerned about being pursued about her community ‑‑ by her community who do not like hearing that a member of their community has been homeless. She's no longer homeless. She's done her A levels. She's going to go to university and she will make a thing of it.
So she's experienced the double sided ‑‑ the double‑edged sword that we are talking about today but I will let others comment. The moral of the story, I will pop in if I have time. I hope that was clear. Nadia, a very, very brave young woman.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you. It was an intriguing story. I think it's given us all something to talk about. Let's move in from the discussion. Comments on from the floor. At the back and then over here.
>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you very much. Good morning. My name is Andy, I represent ‑‑ I belong to artist international and hopefully I can present by other colleagues here. So I do agree with this debate is not being ‑‑ it's not whether being anonymous or not is good or bad, but I think that the best things, the impacts or the challenge of being anonymous or not.
So here we are discussing that we are using the Internet as a part of our life. We have to agree that we have to educate the people who use that. So when being anonymous, they are using human rights as a basis as a platform, as a perspective and so we know we are not going to violate other rights, for example, like that. Because in our case, for example, the women would are living with HIV and AIDS and also the LGBT groups as we know this is the more generalized group here in Indonesia. We will found that being anonymous or is not the issues here.
But then whether we still use ‑‑ we don't use our name or being anonymous, we still get violence and blockage by, I don't know who is going to block our website for something like that.
The second one is here we know there are representing of the industry side. We do believe that the involvement of the multistakeholder, including industrial aspect is very important here because we know that we are using the social medium made by Facebook and Twitter and so on and so forth. We don't know whether they use the human right as their platform to what it is to protect our rights as a human. And we know the survey result here, you say that 86% said it was important to people, who were anonymous online, if they one. I want to know more, is it any further. It's not only about anonymous but it's more than what is the ‑‑ what is the solution if then we get for example, environment receive anonymous online and it may be necessary if it will be anonymous. So I want to know ‑‑ or.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: There wasn't anything in our survey about solutions to the problem but I'm sure everyone here will have their own idea, about solutions to the problems anonymity poses and I think, you know, in order to safeguard anonymity is a right. So moderator. So we will take the comment at the back and then the remote moderator with remote participant would like to make something. So please continue.
>> PARTICIPANT: My name is Anthony Bouch, I work in the area of cyber security with Internews. On the topic of behavior and accountability I think it depends on context and I don't believe it automatically removes social norms or whether it's necessarily an attempt to evade accountability and I would like to suggest to the panelists that perhaps identity is, in fact, defined by a set of shared values and behaviors whether using a real name or a pseudonym and that within a given online community, it's the protections offered by or afforded to that community that set the stage for participation and behavior, whether for individuals having fun or seeking medical advise or for journalists attempting to defend human rights.
I also if you don't mind, Jack, I would like to suggest that your confidence in using your real name and taking responsible for your behaviors online stem in part from those protections and the protections that you benefit from in the part of the world that you currently live in.
And so protections, shared values and identity, I think are an interesting topic and perhaps as if not more relevant than whether anonymity is actually a good or bad and the pros and cons of anonymity in isolation.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much for your comment. Does anyone ‑‑ we've got one from the remote participant.
Just to note is this any other comments from the floor? Eloise.
>> So we have got one comment from Charlie would is based in the Philippines and he's part of the peace and conflict journalism network and he's asking that there are a lot of issues out there that need to be reported in the media, but the media's challenge on anonymity is that we don't have a named source in the case which is important because provides accountability and credibility. And also when the media reports on anonymous sources the danger can be transferred from the anonymous source to the journalist who reported it and he thought perhaps from Donny Bu or any of the other panelists.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Does anyone have comments they want to make on that? So any of the industry panelists.
Do you want to maybe repeat it just again, Hannah and briefly. Donny, I think this question was addressed to you, but just a brief ‑‑
>> PARTICIPANT: Or if anyone in the audience wants to comment how the media can find it difficult to source anonymous kind of quotes that they are getting or references about stories. So how do they kind of show the credibility when anonymous users reporting something to them.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: I think Eline, struggled with that writing your essay.
>> ELINE VAN OMMEN: Yeah, what do we actually mean by the media? Are we talking about the old‑fashioned media? The TV would wants to have a real person online or do we talk about media in the more than modern sense because anonymous bloggers, I don't think that's a problem at all. It's a really popular tool and becoming more and more important. So I don't see the problem. Maybe it is still a problem for old‑fashioned media, but ‑‑ well, they have a lot of problems. So ‑‑ sorry.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I think reporters without borders are a source for our idea. Our media freedom in the UK, the right to keep your sources anonymous is part of journalistic ethics in old fashioned media and the right to ‑‑ and the right to protect journalists in the new fashioned media, namely online bloggers is becoming more and more recognized. So we are rally at the cutting edge of thinking about these things. The reporters without borders and some of the work being done for social citizen ‑‑ citizen journalists I think is a very important point of the intersection but these things are not self‑expression. The reporting has to be don't following journalistic ethics in and old‑fashioned forms.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Donny, Nigel? Is there a comment you would like to make?
>> DONNY BU: There's some ‑‑ so they quote the source anonymously. If they quote from the anonymous source. So quoting the anonymous source. But there's a separate case, the anonymous source person. So it's not about ‑‑ again, it's not about the anonymous or anonymity, its about the credibility of the source. Which information relies on the internet and it has the credibility. How to understand this source of credibility ‑‑ it's a pain way. From the response of the followers?
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: We can definitely see that. I hope the repot participant got the response they were looking for.
>> NIGEL HICKSON: Just very briefly on this. Is just, I mean, incredibly important. Again, it's an issue of competence a and whether it's old media or new media, the journalistic experience is absolutely critical that sources can remain anonymous and there has to be confidence in the legislative framework of whether journalists or whether publication is based if that should happen.
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you very much, Nigel. The I this the final comment from the floor I see spun a few rows back would like to make a point.
>> PARTICIPANT: Well, actually, my name is Miswan and I come from Cambodia. I don't know how many of you here know Cambodia.
All right. Regarding to the technology in Cambodia, it's new to Cambodia and the people who can access, it's the people in the capital city and the town, that can access the Internet. Currently most of the young generation, they actively participate in the dissemination of information about the political and they even don't know about how to protect themselves from sharing those kind of information.
So my question is just, like, I want to ask you whether it's your project to provide some, you know, kind of training courses to you know, target communities or citizens. Before we can say that the citizens, they would share the information and something else.
And then so is your organisation or other organisation here provide, you know, some training courses about online safeties or any online that the community and the people can learn from that?
>> NICOLA DOUGLAS: Thank you. Yeah, the organisation that we are part of the Childnet International, I'm sure they would be happy to talk to you especially regards online safety. It's what they do.
So I'm sure Yolga will have a response at the end.
So I think that's everything. I'm aware there's some people that haven't come to ‑‑ that I didn't call on, but I think ‑‑ yeah. Okay. We'll conclude because ‑‑ oh, we are five minutes over, I'm sorry, everyone, you probably want to go to lunch.
So conclusion, I'm really bad at this bit, but sort of ‑‑ what we saw really here was the survey results that we have been mentioning throughout, as far as the benefits and the challenges are concerned, we definitely saw a benefit on the peer‑to‑peer level. It protects people, from the societal norms that we were talking about, and it was mentioned earlier on that anonymity might be codes of conduct within sort of a specific place. I'm not entirely sure about the theory that you are working on there. I didn't pick it up quickly but I would be really interested to talk to you about that at the end as I'm sure other people would do too.
And then maybe a wider context that this discussion is in and on a peer‑to‑peer level, we can see that there are benefits to anonymity. And, you know, we have mentioned sort of the LGBT community and being activists and human rights bloggers for whom anonymity protects them. It is a necessity and it's a life or death situation. However, on the other hand we see the challenges of anonymity, and people use it to evade accountability and for other reasons. I will think a part of that, it's always education. When we see that 86% of participants agreed that we have to have anonymity, that we want it there at least on some services, maybe not on others, it does depend on the context and the platform, but that we really do need to educate people about its uses, how to use it well and I think that ‑‑ that is being done now. It should be done more in the future and asking people about ways that they can solve the problems and that they see in their day‑to‑day lives and the anonymity causes so we can improve and make sure the benefits really shine through.
Thank you very much, very much, for coming, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you very much. I would urge you to clap all of our panel because I think have been amazing today. Thank you very much, all of you for your answers. So another round of applause, please and then you can all go to lunch.
Oh, and survey on the way out, people, it's just over there.
(End of session 12:38 p.m.)
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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication access realtime translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
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