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‘Information wants to be free’

Interestingly, many of that principle's strongest proponents are selective in its application. While they're adamant that information in the sense of content should be free, they're equally adamant that information in the sense of identity should be strictly limited and controlled by its owners. Unfortunately, as soon as you remove identity you also remove accountability, and while there are edge cases (e.g. political dissent) where that's a good thing, most of the time it's not.

Personally, I think anonymity sucks. I'm all for pseudonyms, which have some continuity and reputation and thus some accountability. Modern cryptography provides ways to prevent impersonation, and even to claim a pseudonym if the owner desires, but when you consider methods such as traffic analysis it's not trivial. These are problems Freenet tried to address, but then they took a bit of a wrong turn toward complete anonymity. That, and the bad taste left in people's mouths by positioning a message system with some accidental persistence as a true data store, is why other systems eclipsed it.

Pseudonymity is what you get when you allow people to tightly control their own information. This is what Freenet uses: You have a private key to which you can upload and which you can use as pseudonym in messaging systems.

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