Home > News > Perception of Online Anonymity May Be Fading • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


Perception of Online Anonymity May Be Fading

Perception of Online Anonymity May Be Fading
Get XBIZ News
Aug 4, 2011 6:00 AM PDT    Text size: 

LOS ANGELES — Consumers’ perception of online anonymity may be coming to a rapid end, if a number of recent “anti-privacy” initiatives are able to take hold.

A subject of great concern for operators of adult websites whose customers may only visit under the belief that their journey is untraceable, online anonymity is under attack by both government and online industry forces — forming some occasionally surprising alliances, while underscoring a variety of shared, common interests.

For example, the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, a strikingly misleading piece of legislation, would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to maintain comprehensive identity, billing and network access information on customers — holding this data for a minimum of 18 months, as a means of furthering investigations.

This is raising alarms among consumers and advocacy groups who fear both security breaches and corporate greed leading to prolonged data mining of this sensitive info.

“Personally, I’m insulted as a porn-loving American girl to be included by way of consumer participation in this disgusting and misleading characterization [and] that my privacy has just been sold for something that doesn’t actually help the children,” writer Violet Blue blogged for ZDNet.com. “I don’t feel confident that treating us all like the criminals our system can’t catch is going to protect any children, especially when the people who passed the bill can’t — or won’t — distinguish the difference between legal adult pornography and pedophilia.”

“The bill is mislabeled,” Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), stated. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”

Those “other purposes” could include civil and private investigations, such as divorce proceedings or other complaints unrelated to child abuse or “Internet pornographers.”

The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) recently penned a letter to Congressional leaders, protesting the naming of the bill and providing evidence that conclusively demonstrates that there is no link between the legitimate online adult entertainment industry and traders in depictions of child sexual abuse.

The foes of freedom balk at these assertions, however, such as Morality in Media CEO Patrick Trueman, who countered that “Nothing could be further from the truth,” calling ASACP “a pornography front group,” which is asking Congress “to continue protecting illegal pornography.”

This erroneous drumbeat is echoing in intensity as we approach our election cycle, fueling calls “to do something about pornography on the Internet” — the cornerstone of which is privacy and the protection of Americans’ 1st and 4th Amendment rights.

Interestingly, online powerhouses such as Facebook and Google are also jumping on the anti-privacy bandwagon.

In the case of the latter, Google’s desire for user transparency seems to be tied to the company’s anti-spam initiatives associated with its new “+1” social searching function, as evidenced by its “real names” program. While at a recent speaking engagement, Facebook Marketing Director, Randi Zuckerberg is quoted as saying “I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away.”

“People behave a lot better when they have their real names down,” Zuckerberg said. “I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”

Although this notion has been proven correct on any number of industry message boards and other online forums, the self-serving nature of these corporate stances are profoundly reshaping Internet culture by bringing accountability into the mix; but this so-called “civility argument” — like conflating images of child abuse with lawful Internet pornography — is yet another disguise for the enemies of privacy to wear.

“The problem with the civility argument is that it doesn’t tell the whole story,” wrote Eva Galperin for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “Not only is uncivil discourse alive and well in venues with real name policies (such as Facebook), the argument willfully ignores the many voices that are silenced in the name of shutting up trolls: activists living under authoritarian regimes, whistleblowers, victims of violence, abuse, and harassment, and anyone with an unpopular or dissenting point of view that can legitimately expect to be imprisoned, beat-up, or harassed for speaking out.”

Given the current political climate, this could easily include consumers of legitimate adult entertainment — caught up in witch hunts, in the name of “protecting the children,” or combating fraud, identity theft, personality obfuscation and piracy.

Regardless of the details and how this all plays out, one thing is for certain: the loss of anonymity on the Internet, or even its perceived loss, will induce a chilling effect on the consumers and providers of online adult entertainment, making the ongoing protection of customer privacy an issue for adult operators — and not the sole province of the FTC.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


Camming Issue: Juan Bustos Eyes Technological Challenges, Opportunities

Today’s live cam industry is based upon technology — but it is also driving technology and the business models it enables, bringing both challenges and opportunities to the companies competing... More »

Camming Issue: Studio 20 Snapshot

As one of camming’s most vibrant capitals, Romania boasts a bevy of beautiful and talented models, along with an advanced technological infrastructure and professional cam studios that support this... More »

Camming Issue: An Evolving Business

One of the most visual examples of the growing maturity and success of today’s live webcam industry is found in the emergence of professional cam studios. These facilities evolved from simple locations... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.


XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA

ANME Founders Show

Jan 14 - Jan 15
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 20 - Jan 22
Montréal, Québec
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!