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Chapter 18. CAN YOU REALLY BE ANONYMOUS? > The Urge to Not Be Noticed

The Urge to Not Be Noticed

Something in each of us wants to be anonymous. We are not necessarily trying to hide, just not to flaunt our actions before the world or to feel that everything we do is known by others. Walking through a public place like a shopping mall shouldn't require us to identify ourselves. There is no authentication or authorization necessary to window shop. Similarly, we don't need to identify ourselves if we pay cash using legal currency. However, we give up the right to remain anonymous if we vandalize the shopping mall or provide counterfeit currency for our purchases. Then, those of us who didn't vandalize or pass bad money want the authorities to have reasonable tools to search for and find the miscreants.

Unfortunately, as we noted in earlier chapters, with newer technologies, it's getting easier to do “preventative” surveilance in public places. Cameras record the activities of more and more of us doing more and more things. Public safety authorities argue that it's more efficient to record everyone's activities so that should there be a bad action, the bad actor can more easily be found and brought to trial.


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