Edge & anonymity

3 01 2007

Yes, this is an unashamed plug for a favourite web site of mine, Edge. Provocative, yes, entertaining, always, it is a collection of essays and articles by leading scientists and thinkers and definitely worth a bookmark if you like to give your brain cells some aerobics.

A couple of days ago I was reading an Edge article by Jaron Lanier on why he thinks anonymous collective web sites, such as this one, that allow anonymous postings are such a bad thing. He explains far better than I can so I would refer you to the page. Having realized that this blog falls squarely in the criticized I have decided that maybe I should explain why I have chosen to be anonymous (though all my friends know who the author is!).

I initially set this all up to try and explain just what goes on in Zimbabwe and just how absurd it all is. It can be difficult to explain even to people who are visiting the country just how weird it all is, often defying the most basic logic (I will address more of this in the next post). I was anticipating being very critical of the Zimbabwe government not to mention the highest authority of the lot. However, it is illegal to be critical of the president (and the police force) and that could get me into serious trouble. One can be held without charge for up to 21 days in Zimbabwe and like most third world countries, Zimbabwean jails are just not worth visiting. So, I thought that maybe staying anonymous and being critical was a good idea. Then I realized that maybe the “authorities” are not that stupid and could if they wanted find my email address and track me down from there. Call it paranoia, but there is a law lurking in the background called the “Interception of Communications Bill”. The title speaks for itself and as I understand it, it would require the various ISP’s to install the hardware and software to filter incoming and outgoing communications (this would also allow the government to eavesdrop on phones). For the moment it has been withdrawn under the recommendation of a parliamentary select committee as being “unconstitutional” (seriously!) which it most certainly is, though this has never stopped the government doing whatever it likes in the past.

So I have not been nearly as critical as I intended and I have stayed anonymous.

Jenni and I

The dog and her author. 


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One response

3 01 2007
Daniel

Nice view. It could almost be Gloucestershire or Southern Shropshire. Trying to throw them off your trail?

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