People these days are well aware of something important they must carefully protect: their identity. There was a time when it was fun to spread your identity across the web-registering your high school information, showing off your latest vacation photos on your personal web site, or posting your resume for others to see-but things are rapidly changing. Many people are finding their lives completely ruined by identity theft and paying a high price for their carelessness. It just makes you want to be anonymous.
Often people look at you with suspicion when you want to remain anonymous. Being anonymous usually means there is something you want to hide. We are all too aware of the abuses of internet anonynimity by spammers, spyware programs, and other illegal activities. But there are many legitimate reasons for the average person to want to protect his or identity.
Identity theft isn’t the only reason to protect your identity online. Here are some other top reasons to protect your identity:
1. You don’t want your activities going on your “permanent record”
It doesn’t take long to realize that just about everything you do online is recorded, copied, linked to, and potentially stolen. People are increasingly surprised when they show up for job interviews and the interviewer is aware that they don’t really get along well with others, that they often complained about their old boss, or that they recently bought a large quantity of a certain medication on an auction site. Teachers in school often warned about your activities going on your “permanent record” but search engines like Google make this record a reality. It is easy for prospective employers, creditors, stalkers, or even your new girlfriend’s mother to do a quick background check on you.
2. It might be legal, you just don’t want everyone to know you do it
There are many online activities that are perfectly legal and even moral but just aren’t something you want to advertise your involvement in for one reason or another. Perhaps you don’t want your boss to know that you do some moonlighting on the side or you don’t want your co-workers to know about your sewing hobby. Whatever it is, these are legitimate reasons to protect your privacy.
3. A layer of protection
While doing business or other activities online you might someday-inadvertently or purposely-make someone angry. We all know that it is impossible to please everyone and some people will go to any lengths to extract revenge. If you run a web site, one of the first things another might do is use a WHOIS tool to get the information you used when registering your domain. Your phone number and home address in the hands of the wrong person could be devastating to you and your family. Had an eBay sale go bad? The last thing you want is that person calling you at home all hours of the night.
Furthermore, there are many people who want to hide from an ex-spouse, business partner, or someone else who might be stalking or harassing them. There is no reason for you to expose your personal information to the world.
4. You are famous
There are celebrities, government officials, CEO’s, and other famous people who need to protect their online identity, but in our modern world of blogs and 24-hour news coverage, it is common for someone become famous overnight. Maybe it was your horrendous American Idol audition or the YouTube video of you making a fool of yourself, but more and more people are finding themselves famous for one reason or another. Protect your privacy now in anticipation of that 15 minutes of fame.
5. Your opinion is unpopular
Whether it be political, moral, or simply unorthodox, many people find you can’t state an unpopular opinion without some kind of backlash. Usually it results in an inbox full of hate mail but sometimes the backlash could be serious if governments or powerful crime organizations are involved. Protecting your identity could even be helpful in reducing the often abused legal threats, takedown notices, or DMCA claims that too many people use to prevent you from excersizing your legal right of stating your opinion.
So ignore what people might think, being anonymous isn’t paranoia, it’s prudence.