IGF 2021 WS #212
Anonymity on the Internet: benefits and drawbacks

Organizer 1: Aleksandra Kuld,
Organizer 2: Daniil Golubev,
Organizer 3: Andrey Shcherbovich, McGill University
Organizer 4: Alexander Isavnin, Obey Your Laws, llc.

Speaker 1: Andrey Shcherbovich, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Joanna Szymanska, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Alexander Generalov, ,
Speaker 4: Alexander Isavnin, Technical Community, Eastern European Group


Alexander Isavnin, Technical Community, Eastern European Group

Online Moderator

Andrey Shcherbovich, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Debate - Classroom - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Ensuring a safe digital space: How should governments, Internet businesses and other stakeholders protect citizens, including vulnerable citizens, against online exploitation and abuse?
International standards: How should international standards address the different requirements and preferences of governments and citizens in different countries?

Anonymity problem in establishing safe digital space: it is necessary to resolve the issue of anonymity and secure the decision in international standards. Achieving a compromise on user anonymity will be step forward to proper internet governance.


There are various situations in which a person might choose to withhold their identity. Anonymity is often seen as an essential part of privacy, or liberty. However, unrestricted anonymity will inevitably lead to misuse of the right by criminals and malicious users.
Debate on the pros and cons of the document.

Focus areas:

- Legislation;
- Self-governance;
- Compulsion to de-anonymisation;
- Ethical side of conscientiousness when being online;
- Identity theft and user identification;
- Legal status of using a fake identity to achieve anonymity;
- Social networks and platforms governance policies regarding user anonymity;
- Legal and ethical issues of deep fakes;
- Anonymity on crowd-sourced platforms like Wikipedia, voting on online platforms, and making decisions on the basis of anonymity;
- Role of information from anonymous sources in info wars and spreading fake news;
- Legal status of the anonymous phone number services;
- Civic influence and lobbying by public organizations, using concrete examples of organizations with opposing views and belonging to the same stakeholder group (at least two). For example, in Russia there are two groups from the civic society (same stakeholder group), holding opposite views on the same problem (League of Internet Safety and Internet Protection Society).

The session's aim is to discuss what are the current boundaries and whether the society is ready for its expansion.

Expected Outcomes

Transition to deeper discussions on the following issues:

- Status Quo in anonymity boundaries;
- Possible boundaries status changes;
- Recommendations for specific countries;
- Best practices.

Two active participants with opposite views - pro&contra, moderated by neutral party. Other participants can engage after every discussed question and express their own opinion.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Social networks, university hub - engaging active community to discussion.