Over the past few years, the desire for privacy and anonymity online has become a relevant and pressing issue in today’s political climate. When talking about anonymity, usually two clashing points of view arise. Those who are firm advocates of anonymity online based on their desire to browse the internet freely and securely and on the other hand those who find that anonymity poses a major threat to national security.
Anonymity has been widely misused to spread hate speech and harass people across online platforms, which does nothing but doubt the legitimate reasons and benefits anonymity can grant on a larger scale to its users. In this post I will dive deeper into the advantages of anonymity and why is it needed to guarantee our privacy.
Anonymity gives you a voice
A factor to consider as discussed by Bruce Schneier, board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is how anonymity plays a role in keeping not only himself but also those close to him safe. The same happens when someone wants to make a significant claim against big organizations or government entities but are scared to do so If they can be easily identified or targeted and opt to do so under the condition to shield their identities or use a pseudonym- an example of this is when the Federalist Papers was published.
Many people claim anonymity online is a tool that enables them to keep their professional online activities separated from their private life without the interference of one or the other. For instance, that was the case for an organizer who participated in the Arab Spring uprising and did not want his political views associated with his work at Google.
“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 . . . at the hand of an intolerant society. U.S. Supreme Court decision in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission.”
Some interest groups who would benefit from anonymity and using SKY ECC are:
Journalists: Remember Watergate’s scandal secret informer “Deep Throat”. Perhaps if it wasn’t for anonymity that source would have never revealed the information he had. As a journalist protect your democracy and sources by remaining fully anonymous while sharing confidential information through an anonymous app, without risking and exposing yourself to dangerous situations.
Activists: Perhaps you want to expose government corruption, or go against an oppressive government regime, by making yourself anonymous you ensure your safety
Whistleblowers: Anonymity is a great tool, especially useful to keep harmful government retributions away from you while being an advocate for transparency and freedom of speech.
Women: Avoid harassment online and enjoy online freedom
Other minorities: Remain safe and anonymous while fighting for your rights.
“When I first started blogging, I wanted my identity to remain secret because I didn’t want my online activity to interfere with my professional life. I wanted to keep both as separate as possible. I also wanted to use a fake name because I wrote about politics, and I was critical of my own government. A pseudonym would shield me and my family from personal attacks. I wanted to have a comfortable space to express myself freely without having to worry about the police when I visit my family back in Morocco.” -Hisham Khribchi
“I might be a state employee. I might not want my children to get grief at school. I might be fleeing from an ex-partner who was abusive and would rather he not know where I am. My family might not want to talk to me anymore. I might alienate my best friend. Maybe I don’t feel like having a brick thrown through my window. My spouse might work for the Palin administration. Maybe I’d just rather people not know where I live or where I work. Or none of those things may be true. None of my readers, nor Mike Doogan had any idea what my personal circumstances might be.” -The Alaska Muckraker (AKM)
Before we move, I believe it is necessary to point out how brave the people mentioned above are in the fight for their causes and ideologies. Taking into consideration for example how journalists are easily targeted and harassed, remaining anonymous allows them to reduce risks of attacks and people finding out their address.
Regain control of your privacy through anonymity in chat apps
Whilst in the past many writers and bloggers could go about publishing stories under pen names to protect their privacy successfully. In today’s world for journalists such as Brian Krebs or security technologist Bruce Schneier it is hard to try to shield their privacy no matter what they do, since personal information related to them can easily be found online just by searching their names.
Nowadays with personal information being an asset to many companies, digital platforms such as social media apps and chat apps actually incentivize the use of people’s real names to encourage interaction and build virtual communities. As a result of this kind of online behavior, we unintentionally surrender to our right to privacy.
To no one is a surprise that online chat channels have become one of the world’s preferred communication channel for its ease to rapidly and easily share an idea with a group of people. Let’s take WhatsApp as an example a widely used chat app worldwide, they have recently updated their app to include an encryption message feature, however, think about the fact they still require you to sign up with your phone number or email which is directly linked to you, allowing people to easily access your private information. Therefore, we end up with the false pretense our information is private and anonymous.
Have you ever wondered how can you avoid contacts from finding you in WhatsApp or Telegram? Perhaps you do not want that everybody with your phone number to contact you unexpectedly, have access to your profile, or even know you have downloaded the app. This is one of the disadvantages of non-anonymous chats, your profile can be seen by anyone who has added you to their contact list. For instance, if you want to share information through a private channel with an investigator, Telegram might not be your app of choice, given you can easily be tracked down.
Let take a look at 4 advantages of using anonymous Chat apps:
- Choose who can message you.
- Choose who has access to your profile and information.
- Choose the information you are willing to share with the person you are in contact with.
- Choose to have overall authority over your personal information and privacy
Take the reins of your privacy and control what people know about you through anonymity. Protect your privacy and understand privacy is an inherent right of every human being.
SKY ECC’s guidelines on anonymous messaging – Become anonymous by using SKY ECC
SKY ECC was created based on the principle that neither ourselves nor our Partner resellers store personal information respecting always your right for privacy and desire to remain anonymous. Henceforth, why we have diligently worked to provide you with an app that allows you to sign up and manage the app anonymously.
At SKY GLOBAL, your right to anonymity is something we take really seriously. Additionally, before updating, launching new features, or partnering with new resellers, we must always be certain that we are able to protect our customer’s right to privacy.
Unique anonymous messaging features of SKY ECC
Find expressed below the 5 principles built-in our anonymous messaging app:
- Randomly created HEX triplet code as SKY ECC IDs
- No phone number or email are required to sign up (an internal email address is created solely for the purpose to enable device management)
- Avoid being found through any contact list by other SKY ECC end users
- The only way to chat with someone through SKY ECC, is to have their SKY ECC
- Connecting with persons by randomly entering IDs has a low probability of entering a valid SKY ECC- as a consequence of these actions your account can be terminated as established in our terms of service
You have full autonomy to manage your account, meaning you have the freedom of choice to set any account name and profile picture you desire. With this being said we encourage you to set an identifiable name to your ECC ID, this way you protect yourself while allowing your contacts to recognize you.
Another useful feature we have included in our app is that we have allowed contacts to customize your displayed name on their contact list to identify you easily among other contacts. But don’t worry since that name will only be visible to them – which lowers the risk of impersonation, defamation, and misinformation.
Accountability through anonymous messaging
We are all for security and privacy and believe through anonymous messaging we can hold accountable those with power positions while watching over your safety and guaranteeing your freedom of speech and the right to democracy.
As portrayed by the US Supreme Court decision, we quote:
“The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. But political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.”
In short and most importantly at Sky ECC this is why we stand strong behind anonymity as a means for privacy and safety.