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The main point of the writer is that one can no longer hide ones identity when registering domain names.

I actually think this is a GOOD idea. Here's why. Assuming currently you can register a domain name with false credentials, the government can still track you down, because you are leaving some sort of trail - you log into the server, you pay the registration fees etc. However I can't figure out who you are? If you are a business, I can't track you down, if you want to hide.

If you had to present your true identity and I could look it up using a "whois" then I can say "Ah hah! Company X is actually run by person M who cheated me a few months ago, so I'm not going to deal with them"




You are missing the point, completely. The only thing this facilitates is:

a) Companies generating blanket lawsuits b) The government tracking who says what where

Hiding your identity has never been a problem for resourceful criminals. You either setup an company with a new name or get a proxy ('testa ferro' is the term I prefer) to do it for you.

Now, how many whistleblowers you'd think would be able to go through that just to make us (the general public) a favor? How many political dissidents would?

In other words, yours is equivalent to the argument most people brandish when talking about gun laws: "if guns were banned, then gun violence would go down!". No, it wouldn't. Those outside the law would get them in the black market, and those of us that abide to the rule of law would lose a valuable weapon (no pun intended).


>"if guns were banned, then gun violence would go down!". No, it wouldn't. Those outside the law would get them in the black market, and those of us that abide to the rule of law would lose a valuable weapon (no pun intended).

How does it follow that violence would not go down? Clearly if only 'business criminals' have access to guns, as opposed to everyone, there are in total less gun holders, and thus less gun violence...


Possibly because the legal users of guns do not use them as violently (on purpose or by accident) when compared to 'business criminals'.


This is starting to go offtopic but, I'd like to see data that shows that gun related death excluding accident are more linked to business criminals or gangs.

My current belief is most gun death are due to smaller things like family issues, neighboors getting in fights etc.


"Assuming currently you can register a domain name with false credentials, the government can still track you down, because you are leaving some sort of trail - you log into the server, you pay the registration fees etc."

False. During registration, I could use a public computer, or one of those services which hides my IP address. For payment, I can use a disposable credit card. Anonymity is a de facto requirement for free speech.

"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority ... It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation -- and their ideas from suppression -- at the hand of an intolerant society."

http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20051007151046... (The First Amendment Right to Anonymous Speech - Delaware Supreme Court Ruling in John Doe No. 1 v. Cahill)(2005-OCT-15)


Yes, but for that you would be doing something like setting up a blog on a service, or leaving anonymous comments on blogs/websites.

I would strongly support the "right" of people to leave anonymous comments on blogs. But does this provision affect that?


How is a domain name not speech? Someone might want to be anonymous if they own recoveringpedophiles.com or fucktheusa.com or ... There are plenty of legitimate reasons to be anonymous.


What you're saying is that you want everyone that sets up a domain to be required to not be anonymous. You're idea is that people that want to be anonymous should do it on someone else's forums/blog/CMS/etc (presumably someone else that is not anonymous). On the other hand, that someone that runs that forums/blog/CMS/etc is not required to accept anonymous comments or allow people to register for the forums anonymously.


Well, the way I see it, the reason for serious anonymity (as opposed to things like anonymity on forums like this one) is that you fear a powerful agent wants to silence the opinion/information you have to present. Like the poster above has mentioned, if you have a physical machine it's not that difficult to track it down.

I think it is more practical to post the information anonymously on a website, just as in the olden days you would post the materials anonymously to newspapers or TV stations.

If every website in the world stops accepting anonymous submissions, we are in deep do do already.


You're falling into the "if you've got nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear" camp even if you aren't directly saying it. You're alluding to the fact that anyone that 'really' needs anonymity has something to hide from powerful people.

In reality, there are a lot more reasons that someone might want anonymity. Someone hosting a forum for battered women might not want to get contacted by violent ex-husbands/ex-boyfriends looking to find the woman that left them (and went into hiding).


> anyone that 'really' needs anonymity has something to hide from powerful people

I'm on your side in this discussion, anonymity is a foundation of free speech. But I want to say that with battered women and people protesting powerful corporations and governments both, the person does have something to hide from powerful people - their identity - and that is perfectly reasonable. Wanting to hide my identity from powerful people who have the ability to harm me and whose crimes I am criticizing is common sense. I feel this idea that hiding something is intrinsically bad has become really widespread and has been accepted as axiomatic rather than being properly critiqued. I, and many others, definitely have something to hide from powerful people who can harm us because they don't want their dark deeds known and they will kill or hurt who they have to to make sure that happens.


My point was that at the extreme end of the power scale (governments, corporations), they can probably find you if you are paying for a server somewhere. But at the lower end of the scale (angry, violent ex-husbands) it's less likely that they will track you down through your server's ISP.

I felt that the idea that requiring identification for DNS registration was ok because 'you can just post anonymous comments on blogs somewhere' is dismissing perfectly valid use-cases for 'anonymous' DNS.




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