Anonymous Cop Pens Bizarre Editorial Calling for 'End of Anonymity on the Internet,' Says All Internet Posters Should be Forced to Register with the Government for 'Public Safety'Chris | InformationLiberation
Sep. 17, 2013
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An anonymous police officer writing for Salt Lake City's KSL.com penned a bizarre editorial calling for the end of anonymity on the internet. "Officer Anonymous" says everyone who wants to post comments online should be forced to register their email with the government in person at the DMV and be cataloged in a national database. The officer says this will end the problem of "trolling" and people "hiding behind the Internet."
From KSL.com's "Ask a cop" column titled, "Trolling should be illegal":
SALT LAKE CITY — First off, I am not talking about those silly wild haired dolls with jewels in their belly buttons. I am also not speaking about the ones that live under bridges and eat small children. I am speaking about the spineless bottom feeders who sit at their computer all day bullying other people with inflammatory comments and remarks.Let's address this officer's points one by one. First off, has anyone ever seen any evidence "trolling" has ever caused any specific riot? Despite this claim being the centerpiece of his article, he gives no evidence this has ever occurred.
Second, and again without evidence, the cop says "victims" of trolling are somehow forced to "drive aggressively" and made to "yell at their co-workers," because he says they're "being consumed with a way to find out who that person on the Internet was." Again, the officer provided no evidence for this claim. Not everyone reacts the same way to being verbally harassed.
Next comes his government registration scheme which he wants done in the name of "public safety." Again the officer lays out no plan for how this would be done. How could every last persons' email be registered with the government? How will every website be forced to require email and be tapped into the same government database? How does he imagine this will be enforced, and what makes him think there will be no way around his scheme and it will single-handedly end all anonymity?
Nonetheless, Officer Anonymous completely ignores the importance of victims of trolling being able to remain anonymous, imagine if every troll on every internet forum could look you up and know exactly who you are, that in itself is a nightmare, one this cop clearly never thought of. Blizzard Entertainment tried to roll out such a scheme on their Battle.net forum and dropped it like a hot potato after users revolted for those very same reasons. Imagine if on every medical forum where people talk about their private medical issues everyone was made to use their real name, how in the world would that contribute to human progress?
We have a laboratory which lacks anonymity and where everyone shows their face, it's called Facebook, and people sign up to it voluntarily rather than through force. Guess what, it's filled with trolls and even racists who don't give a damn about everyone knowing who they are. Let us go one step further, the "real world" is also filled with trolls and racists, and they don't care about being anonymous. Just because something happens "on the internet" doesn't mean it's a unique problem caused by the internet itself.
The anonymous cop ends his piece by saying he knows people may be "flabbergasted by [his] own hypocrisy" for writing his article from "the safety of anonymity," but he says "if you guys are willing to come forward, then so am I."
Indeed, I am flabbergasted by your hypocrisy. As you note, anonymity provides you with safety, a safety you want to deny others. Yet despite calling for its end, you're not even willing to lead by example. Instead, you limit your own commitment to your principles by tying them to the actions of the people you're condemning. "I'll only do what's right if people who are wrong do what is right first."
Good thing you are anonymous, because if you attached your real name to your article people would know what a complete and total hypocrite you are. No wonder you chose a job where you're exempt from the basic rules of human decency and civil society.
Chris runs the website InformationLiberation.com, you can read more of his writings here. Follow infolib on twitter here.