Anonymity by Design: Protecting While Connecting
04 September 2014 - A Workshop on in Istanbul,Turkey
The following is the output of the real‑time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Good morning, people, shall we make a start?
Welcome to workshop No. 146, Anonymity By Design, protecting ‑‑ Anonymity By Design. You see the title. I had protecting and I forgot the last two words on my notes. Protecting while connecting.
And for today, we have ‑‑ based here at the IGF. We're very happy also with collaboration from the Pirate Party of Turkey. What we're going to do today is to examine particularly in the form of case studies so you can get some detail, ways in which anonymous communication protects and must indeed protect the right of privacy and freedom of expression as enshrined in the human right, the international covenant of civil rights, ICCPR, I can never say the whole thing. Ensuring covenants and the European Convention on Human Rights. Which of course were written for the off‑line world. But as we know the fact that these rights in the off line world legitimately need to be protected and enjoyed on the online world has been confirmed by the United Nations council. Our concerns are articulated in the IRPC's Human Rights and Principles for the Internet, which we have in Turkish and English and Arabic for you for ‑‑ and apologies for the problematic binding and Spanish and German and Indonesian on its way.
Anonymity By Design, Protecting While Connecting. I look forward to a great discussion. We have a highly expert panel and I think we have a highly expert audience. Allow me to introduce myself and the panelists and briefly tell you how we hope to run this session. My name is Marianne Franklin, I am together with Robert Bodle on my left‑hand side, co‑chair of the Rights and Principles Coalition for the moment because I'm the out‑going co‑chair of the Rights and Principles Coalition. And I'm also professor of Global Media Politics in London. We all have multiple identities here.
Robert will open the session and frame our debate for today and be followed by a Ms. Sophie Kwasny, head of the Data Protection unit at the Council of Europe. Our third speaker will be Meryem Marzouki, who's at the Sorbonne University, and UPMC. And No. 4 will be Serhat Koc speaking for the Pirate Party IT; and No. 5, we're thrilled to have a member of the Youth IGF Project, Harriet Kempson, who is technically a young person.
And No. 6, plenty of time to think, Dean, my work, if I pronounce that correctly, from the APC Erotics Project. And last but not least, Tapany testify Nan from the Finland ‑‑ and a member of the principle rights and coalition. And I work with you all today.
So the idea is for your first intervention panelists if you can keep it to three minutes, you know. I will try not to have to cut you off. There will be time for you to return to details and further discussion as we proceed. Is that okay with everybody?
So okay. Let us begin with Robert Bodle.
Thank you, Robert. The floor is yours.
>> ROBERT BODLE: Thank you everyone for coming. My name is Robert Bodle, co‑chair of the IRPC, with Marianne, and Associate Professor of Communication New Media Studies at Mount St. Joseph University, and adjunct professor at Miami University of Ohio, U.S.A.
Intention of this talk is to make a case of my talk ‑‑ is to make a case for online anonymity as a fundamental human right, to be valued and protected as an important enabler of other rights, in instrumental good. What I'm setting out to do is try and create a new consensus around anonymity. That would be my goal.
Anonymity is articulated, the right to anonymity is articulated in the IRP charter, rooted in the Universal Declaration on Civil Rights and the ‑‑ civil and criminal rights, transposed to the charter. And these include Clause 3, the right to liberty and security on the Internet; clause 7, freedom of association; clause 8, right to privacy on the Internet, especially Subsection E, right to anonymity and to use encryption; as well as Clause 9, right to digital data protection.
The problem is that the possibility of online anonymity is disappearing, and secure communication is becoming more and more difficult to achieve. We're living in a mass‑surveillance society where the default online is persistent user identification. And the cards are stacked against anonymity due to many factors, including dragnet government surveillance, the proliferation of spyware, state‑sponsored deencryption efforts, which coincides with dominant business models online, tracking and collection ‑‑ collecting people's communication, and navigation to sell to third parties as user data, to target ads and personalize content. Which has ‑‑ for censorship, social stagmentation, and political polarization.
Another card that's stacked against anonymity is user practices on social networks which privilege attention‑seeking, fame and sameness. Which recent studies show mitigates against sharing political views on current events for fear of deviating from dominant views of one's social graph, or one's sum total of connections, known within communication studies as the spiral of silence.
And finally the last card that's stacked is biased mainstream reporting on anonymity. Which either focuses on the moral panic related to cyberbullying, cybercrime and cyberterrorism, or maligns activist uses of anonymity, Internet paradigm that dismisses hactivist ‑‑ valid form of nonviolent civil disobedience.
Secure communication and online anonymity is disappearing, and the online environment is fraught with pervasive ‑‑ attitudes: Why should anonymity exist in the first place? What is the value of online anonymity; why should it be protected in regulation and governance of the Internet?
There are many ways to answer this. One is to look at the role of anonymity as rights such as privacy and freedom of expression. Another way to answer this is to provide evidence‑based support of the uses and affordances of anonymity.
Let's first summarize anonymity as a right. The ability to speak anonymously has traditionally been understood as enabling broader democratic rights in the U.S. Constitution. To quote McIntire versus Ohio Election Commission, anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority ‑‑ similarly interpreted in the digital context by the Council of Europe's declaration on freedom of communication. And in a report to the UN general assembly, Frank la Rue, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion/of expression testifies that, quote, indeed throughout history people's willingness to engage in debate on controversial subjects in the public sphere has always been linked to possibilities for doing so anonymously, end quote.
According to la Rue's framework, the right to anonymity must be protected, and the state must not regularly track human right defenders, activists or opposition members.
So the laws of anonymity and pseudonymity in online spaces has a chilling effect on freedom of expression, undermines privacy, and threatens people's lives.
Another way to answer this question or to create ‑‑ perhaps build a new consensus in support of the value and necessity of anonymity is looking at the uses and affordances of anonymity. Affordances studies show that anonymity affords minimal accountability, which encourages people to take risks for ideas, develop arguments, and express themselves. Anonymity affords safety from fear of reprisal and ridicule, which enables the vulnerable and marginalized being able to participate without others getting at them. Also safety from public exposure encourages people to reach out for help, advice and consolation.
Evidence supports that another affordance which counters the civilizing effect of identification theories, suggests that anonymity is not a cause of instability online as many claim ‑‑ an example of that would be hate speech ‑‑ but that people are rude with or without using their real names. And offensive speech is often moderated by online experience, not by using real names.
A common misunderstanding is that anonymous misunderstanding encourages people to lie, misrepresent and deceive. Yet research prove that the Internet's relative anonymity makes people more inclined to disclose honestly. Anonymity can encourage honest self‑disclosure and be a liberating experience, especially for those lonely and stigmatized. The affordance of disinhibition allows people to speak spontaneously and candidly about things, enabling intimacy.
The uninhibited public opinion.
There are many affordances that anonymity enables. These studies have found to be contributing factors that enable freedom of expression, community‑building, and collective action; and enable important uses including whistle blowing to fight government abuse and corporate malfeasance, investigative reporting which relies on the protection of the confidentiality of their sources, and prodemocracy activism and human rights defenders who require safety from reprisal.
The point of this talk is to argue for a new consensus to support anonymity as a fundamental right that enables other rights and freedoms. We need a sea change, a cognitive shift that recognizes the value and necessity of anonymous and secure communication online. In practical terms we also need capacity‑building, technical competency in the uses and practices of secure and anonymous communication.
But beyond this we need to mainstream these tools and practices for everyone and reduce the technical complexity of anonymous and privacy‑ware tools and applications. We need to make anonymity the default, and identification a choice, not the opposite.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you, Robert. You have set the standard for us. Thanks for framing the debate so coherently for us.
If you're tweeting, #netrights and @netrights to keep our remote participants informed. Thank you.
I'm now going to turn to Sophie Kwasny from the head of data protection.
>> SOPHIE KWASNY: Is it working?
Good morning. Thank you.
So I was already on another panel on the right to be forgotten, where it was very difficult as a Council of Europe representative to have right to privacy on the one hand and right to freedom of expression on the other hand opposed in this sensitive topic. I'm glad those rights, fundamental freedoms, are brought together, because anonymity is serving to the right to privacy as it is to the right to freedom of expression.
But still as a Council of Europe representative it is not that easy. Both of those rights are not absolute rights. They have limits. And in particular for the prevention and repression of crime. So while the Council of Europe is promoting and defending human rights, there are limits. And this is reflected in our work on this particular topic. We have made some progress.
I think it's good to acknowledge that, as you said, there is declaration of the Committee of Ministers that calls for the protection of anonymity, by in our text you see this double side and the limit that has to be proved.
So I would like to point out to you a recent guide to human rights that has been adopted by our Committee of Ministers, which legally it's legal instrument ‑‑ it was adopted in April ‑‑ and there you see that anonymity figures indeed under freedom of expression and information. It's the Paragraph 6 of this guide which says that you may choose not to disclose your identity online. For instance, by using absolutism, affirmation. Then this ‑‑ how would you say it?
The fact that indeed the right can be limited, the guide says; however, you should be aware that measures can be taken by national authorities which might lead to your identity being revealed. That's the first part where we have the anonymity being mentioned in this guide on human rights.
You also have it under the right to private life data at that protection part of the guide. And it goes also even further. It refers to a recommendation that our Committee of Ministers adopted in 2012 on the protection of human rights with regard to search engines. And there is a recommendation that is done to protect the data security against unlawful access to users' personal data by third parties, including to an encryption of identification between the user and social networks. There I think it was a good recommendation by the committee in that text in 2012. It has been again recalled in the guide for Internet users.
Another aspect that the recommendation dealing with search engines highlighted was the fact that to exercise your online identity you should be able to use absolutism. I'm sorry I referred to the search engine recommendation when it's about the social network. As a social network user, I should be able to use a pseudonym. There again this text makes the reference to the limit. And the limit actually comes and has been clearly stated in the decision of the court, of this ‑‑ the case KU against Finland, where the problem of precisely not being able to identify the perpetrator of a crime was a difficulty.
My last point for the Council of Europe, which is the cybercrime convention, I would like to highlight that in the explanatory part of the cybercrime convention. The anonymity ‑‑ anonymous tools are not meant to be criminalized. I will treat the text. The modification of traffic data for the purpose of facilitating anonymous communication or for the purpose of data encryption should in principle be considered a legitimate protection of privacy and therefore being considered as undertaken with rights.
Those are my contributions.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much. Important point about in practice there's always limitations. Dreams may be free, but practice is more complex. Nonetheless, these rights do exist.
We're going to move to our third speaker. I might at some point ask for some audience questions. Just so we get a sense of what concerns you. Then we can approach those questions at the end of the panel. If you have any burning questions for those first three or four speakers, we will have a brief moment. Not right now. Just hold it.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Because I would like to move, while we're in this thematic area, to Meryem Marzouki. Thank you, Meryem. I'll be giving you significant looks at certain points if need be.
>> MERYEM MARZOUKI: Thank you, Marianne.
I myself have questions to ask and ready solutions to propose. And to at least try this question, I would like to start with two quick examples. A recent example.
First example is that this summer we learned that two young ‑‑ from Birmingham in the UK who admitted after one year in Syria fighting ‑‑ who admitted fighting jihad, so in Syria. And the ‑‑ we also learned that before leaving for Syria, they bought on Amazon website two books: First one is Arabic for dummies, and the second book is the Qur'an for dummies ‑‑ from Amazon website before leaving for jihad in Syria.
I'm not going to comment on the absurdity of their acts, nor their insanity. Of course it's not the topic today. But simply I want to highlight the fact that first this kind of investigation on what he bought just before going to jihad was made by the law enforcement authority.
And second, that this kind of investigation was successful in that the information was indeed easily obtained by Amazon because the data were available more than one year after the purchase of the book on Amazon website.
The second illustrative example that I would like to use is very recent, because some days ago only it was reported that Asian police were ‑‑ with location for dating application from gays and so‑called gay radar, to ‑‑ and the police was using this to hunt on Egyptians, gays and lesbians, and arrest them.
So this of course was some days ago. And this news illustrated the danger posed by tools and services based on geolocation. Because the whole idea is to find whether there is other gay people around you when you are in some place also.
So this tool and these services are very dangerous because they are based on geolocation, and this is an important venture for the users of this tool.
By the way, the same happened the use of this app. by the police; the same happened in Iran where approximately 200 gays and lesbian people who were users were arrested.
These two examples ‑‑ and I'm sure there are much more of them, illustrate how electronic commerce, in the case of Amazon, as well as social networking users, applications and services are challenging the anonymity issue. Since this revelation last year, the NSA surveillance scandal has rightly, I would say ‑‑ has been one of the main discussion topics included here at IGF last year and this year also.
But today I would like to insist on the fact that you cannot see the forest for the tree. And we shouldn't discuss the issue of surveillance and other violations of the right to privacy, of which anonymity should be a main component, through the sole NSA piece.
First of all ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ first of all, we should inform about corporate firms' online tracking of Internet users for behavioral advertisement purposes and for profit‑making, of course. And this concerns first and foremost e‑commerce services, social networks, and other cloud‑based services.
Secondly, we should inform also about surveillance, not only for intelligence purposes, but also for law enforcement purposes, where most governments around the world have adopted at the national level laws allowing them to conduct massive and systematic collection of communication and traffic data. For instance, through the data retention laws. And we know that this data allows for the mapping of citizens' online activities and their personal relationships.
And third, it becomes very clear now there is a strong convergence between the methods and algorithm for data mining and behavioral analysis used on the one hand by corporations for commercial benefits, and on the other hand by law enforcement authorities for policing and security objectives.
Both are more and more relying on profiling and geolocation to fulfill their objective.
So now in conclusion, I will ask my two questions:
Given all these developments, I would like to raise now two questions for our discussion. First question is: Should we stick to an understanding of anonymity with respect to simply the identity of a person, or whether to, with respect to an extended, a more extended set of data and behaviors that can be used to provide groups and eventually persons as members of ‑‑ as potential members of this?
And my second question, and I will be finished: How should we deal with social networking applications individually and collectively when the very benefit as a user, the very benefit of such applications, resides in identifying others with whom we would like to interact?
How could we be anonymous if we want to find other like‑minded people, like behavior, and et cetera?
In other words, to conclude, don't we ipso facto consent to give away any right or simply any possibility of anonymity when using these services?
I don't have answers to this question. I'm not sure there is one. But I will let that to you to discuss.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Meryem. Perhaps it is an either/or choice, or different scenarios that are technical and social, intimate and public. So let's keep those questions in mind.
I'm going to move now to Serhat Koc.
You ready, Serhat?
And we'll have a brief interlude to collect questions from the audience. And we'll collect those questions. If you don't mind, we'll then proceed with the last three speakers.
Is that okay?
Because I think we've all got responses and questions.
Serhat Koc, the floor is yours for the next few minutes.
>> SERHAT KOC: Thank you. Do I have three minutes?
In fact, I want to talk about ‑‑ maybe you heard about it so much ‑‑ is a park for saving 2003, June, Istanbul, people were in the streets, try to save a park from the government's proceedings. And lots of things happened. People were dead and injured.
And after that of course during these park protests, everybody organised on Internet, like in the other countries, like Arab countries. And after that many users receive suspended sentences and fines for only their social media activity in Turkey, and usually on charges related to terrorism and criticism of the state and its officials. Even down line people was given suspended sentences and for insulting religious ‑‑ with their threats. Because we were just tweeting or retweeting the others' peaceful opinions, and not calling for violence or insulting anyone.
I think personally as a lawyer and a member of the ‑‑ movement in Turkey, in fact we shouldn't be in need of anonymity in the society. Because in Turkey, we really need it. And as a lawyer I'm assisting my clients and private parties, establishing services and help with ‑‑ for people with fighting for spreading their opinion online. But in fact, in a topic world, maybe I don't want to be anonymous. I don't want to be in need of being anonymous online. Because I must be free to express myself in any way if I am not calling for violence or insulting anyone.
So ‑‑ this is my comments. And in fact, really have another turn or ‑‑ we will have another turn?
Yeah. And ‑‑
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I'm just tweeting people. I'm multi‑tasking.
>> SERHAT KOC: We had so much in those hot days online and offline of course. And we understood that the ruling government has anonymous supporters on Twitter and the other online platforms. And they investigated lots of people and asked Twitter about their IP addresses, and had agreement with Twitter to obtain those IP addresses because there are a lot of ‑‑ many user accounts on Twitter that are tweeting about the corruption of the government. And Twitter complied with many of the government's IP requests.
And we understood that Twitter is changing its policy over Turkey. They change in Turkey for two times had agreement ‑‑ meetings with government officials, and government asked for super‑tagging in Twitter. And I think they got it.
So if there's something on Twitter, that's not good for the government, or if it's not government, the party leader and its relative. Turkey officials can tag that tweet, it's going to be ‑‑ because they have sighting. They have super‑tagging ability on Twitter after those meetings.
That's all for now.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Serhat.
I think this is a natural moment, because we have been examining through case studies and case law the tension between aspiration and everyday reality. And I think the point that anonymity has its place and its role, but we also should have the right to be able to exercise the right to assembly. And that assembly can be online and offline. And for anonymity to be required to simply peaceably protest is a sad state of affairs or to be able to express yourself.
Any questions from the audience specifically to these panelists?
They will note your question and they will answer them after we've had the final panelists. And please keep your questions brief. I will intervene questions if they go on too long. Thank you.
Please identify yourself for the record.
>> ANDREY MOGILEV: Andre Mogilev, Russia. How to ensure the balance between the right for privacy and combatting against serious crimes on the Internet.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Okay. I think that question is very clear and very important. We take it. We will respond. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: To Robert, can you tell us the difference, in your opinion, between anonymization, and you want and anonymization.
What about pseudonymization?
To use pseudonyms instead of anonymous. Yeah.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Any other floating questions?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah. Hi to ‑‑ my name, I warned to ask about the issue when it comes to access to the Internet and using email services. You always have the amount of meta data who you can't protect at the moment.
So there is no system, even if you do PGPN.
So I wanted to know if you think that we have to find a new system or develop a new system that leads to meta data so that persons can't be identified that easy.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Actually, I think these questions require brief responses, actually. We have one addressed to Sophie, to Robert.
Did you want to add a question?
One more question, then we'll have a quick response. Just to keep our ‑‑ keep it current in our heads.
>> SERKAN CELIK: I'm Serkan Celik. I'm a lawyer in Turkey.
So I took part of translation of this charter, actually, in Turkish. So when I was translating, I realised what I thought about the same question, like striking the balance.
And one of the assumptions of anonymity is that fighting against serious crimes. So what's meant by that?
What's the serious crime?
Because it depends on the country to country.
So ‑‑ yeah. Thank you.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you, sell Leon, for starting the preresponses. Any immediate responses to these panelists to these three questions?
>> SOPHIE KWASNY: About the balance, it's indeed difficult. And speaking about fundamental rights and freedoms, it needs to be a judicial way of balancing. And if you look at the court, there is not enough yet ‑‑ I just mentioned one case for this particular topic on anonymity. But the balancing of the rights with the state's interest and ensuring public order, you have a lot of cases which give you some indication on where you strike the limit.
If I can just quickly go to this question about the access to Internet and anonymization myself, because I'm not sufficiently informed on those technology, I haven't yet adopted them, but I think that all of us should use those tools. Because as many of us will use it, this question of identifying the person who is acceding to those services will be completely relevant if we all use it.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thanks, Sophie.
Any responses to our Russian delegate?
I am sorry, I forgot your name.
And also to start discussing Meryem's questions for us.
Anyone from the panel who would like to respond to these questions from the floor?
Robert, of course. You have a question to respond to.
>> ROBERT BODLE: Thank you for that question.
So if I understand your question correctly, you're framing anonymity versus pseudonymity. And I would just reframe that as anonymity and/or pseudonymity. The user would have a choice, and that the environment would enable that choice. The sociotechnical design of the social network or the registration requirements of, say, participating on a blog or participating on a newspaper online, without having to use your real name.
So I think either of those choices are terrific. Rather than pit them against each other.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thanks, Robert. That's very clear.
Meryem, you had a response?
>> MERYEM MARZOUKI: On this issue of anonymity and pseudonymity, I think the whole point is to define two worlds whom actually you need to be anonymous. If you simply use pseudonyms, then you can be probably anonymous with respect to the general public. I mean, the other users. This is one kind of anonymity. You also might need ‑‑ how much I agree on this ‑‑ that you need to be anonymous with respect to service that you use. Any intermediary, I would say.
And then there is the anonymity with respect to law enforcement authorities, police, et cetera. And then the anonymity with respect to intelligence services, which as we know has much more meanings, you know?
So there are different cases or different levels of anonymity, and this we could introduce this kind of nuance. And there is also the anonymity in which activity. So for instance, I think we could easily reach a general consensus about the fact that we must be able to remain anonymous in reading. I am accessing the information, I would say.
This should ‑‑ I don't know of anyone being against this. Although intelligence services and sometimes the police would like to be able to know what you have ‑‑ which kind of information you access through the Internet, or as I mentioned, which kind of book you purchased on the Internet.
So there are a number ‑‑ I think we should split the issue so that we may make progress at least on some part.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Meryem.
I think this is a moment to turn to our last three speakers who can continue this nuance, analytical distinctions, and practical concerns. Not here to change our position, just think about it at least.
So I think we're now going to move to Harriet Kempson from the Youth IGF project.
Harriet, we look forward to your contribution to this debate.
>> HARRIET KEMPSON: Hello. I am with the Youth IGF, as was said. I am going to talk about my experience and what in my experience, speaking from my age and my peers and my friends, think about anonymity and how they use it and what we think about it.
So I think that ‑‑ well, what I've experienced, what I see, is that most people use it to be private from each other, to be anonymous among peers. For example, the ‑‑ site, that was very popular with my age group a couple years back when we were about 12, 13. That was very popular. To be able to ask questions to each other but without letting each other know who we were.
And it was ‑‑ it gave you confidence to ask the questions or to say some things, sometimes negative, but also sometimes positive. If you don't ‑‑ if they don't know who you are and your identity is a secret, then you feel more confident, you can ‑‑ there won't be any consequences, you feel, for that.
Last year's Youth IGF survey had over 1,300 people from across 68 countries. They found that the main reason young people used anonymity ‑‑ I think it was 65 respondents thought that they used it to protect personal information. So this reflects the fact that the young people do use anonymity, and they are worried about people finding out about them and about their personal information.
The other main use that I have come across people using anonymity in my age group is it gives you confidence to ask online chat services or health services for things you may not be comfortable to talk to your parents or teachers. For example, about ‑‑ there are a lot of services online where you can get advice for that, exploring sexuality or sexual health. It's useful to be anonymous, because people are embarrassed. It's kind of like a smoke screen to hide behind. Or to use a pseudonym or whatever, these such things.
It's like was said before, if you're anonymous, you're more likely to be honest and trust these services if they don't know who you are, they don't know anything about you. So you're more likely to confide in them to say what you actually feel rather than what you feel you should say. So you would be judged in the way you might like it.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much.
To just shift the assumption that everything about online participation for young people is scary and problematic. Thank you very much for that.
I'm sure we can return to these cases shortly. I'm going to move now to Nadine Moawad from the Erotics projects. And I'm sure she has some other nitty‑gritty cases for us.
>> NADINE MOAWAD: Thank you. I want to build on what Harriet shared and what Meryem shared about anonymity and ‑‑ I work with APC's sexual rights project, called Erotics. We started a few years ago exploring the political tensions between Internet rights and expressions of sexuality.
So we looked at the relation of sexual content and the excuses that are given for that, and we looked at sexual rights movements and how sexual rights activists use the Internet to grow their movements in the '80s and '90 ‑‑ not '80s ‑‑ '90s and 2000s. They still use it today.
We have a global monitoring survey that asks sexual rights activists in particular, women's rights activists, safe abortion activists, LBGTQ activists, sex education activists, researchers, academics, et cetera, from all over the world. We asked them about how the Internet supports or how censorship and blocking and filters hinders the work that they do. And what is good is that 98 percent of the respondents say that the Internet's absolutely crucial for sexual rights.
So we have a document that we've just lunched a couple of days ago called The Feminist Principles of Internet. And our last principle on it, actually, has to do with anonymity. It states: It is our inalienable right to choose, express and experiment with our diverse sexual rights on the Internet and anonymity names it.
Why is important to express sexuality on the Internet?
I think the research that we have done shows how important it was for sexual rights movements to take issues of sexuality from the private sphere into a more public sphere online. And in particular when it came to expression of sexual minority, women's expression of sexualities, for the LGBT movement, it was a lot about connecting, finding people like me, being able to do so anonymously. Because in my country I can't be homosexual or transsexual.
Being able to hide from my parent, being able to hide from my peers or colleagues, being able to connect in what is a safe environment. Or even to go into chat rooms and talk about sex or having sex or ways I like to have sex or curiosities that I have. Which are very difficult to talk about in public. Even sometimes face to face with people, the same people, if I talk to them online and I'm anonymous, I'll feel a little bit safer.
So I used to run this website called Ask About It for teenagers to ask questions about sex.
And I assumed when I first started working with teenagers, that they can find anything online; so why would they need to ask?
So why would they come and ask me anything when they can just go Google it and ask a question?
Which is absolutely not true. Because teenagers need to ask questions all the time. Even though it's there. So I started receiving hundreds of questions, mostly from boys. And there were two very popular questions from boys about sex.
Who can guess what they were?
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: The mind boggles. Please educate us.
>> NADINE MOAWAD: Two of the most frequent questions, dozens of the same question every day. I took that question and I highlighted it on the website. As soon as you enter the website, the question is there with the answer, so that they stop emailing me. Because every time I have to reply.
I put the most popular question ‑‑
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: What is the question?
>> NADINE MOAWAD: There were two very popular questions. The first was: Will masturbation hurt me in some way?
Does it give me warts? Does it shrink my penis; will it fall off?
Do I get sick; do I get stupid? Blah‑blah‑blah. Over and over again. 1,000 formulations for one question about masturbation.
Although if you Google masturbation, you know, you're going to get all these wonderful resources and websites. But yet the kids still needed to ask. Right?
Because they feel like they got an answer.
The second very popular question that boys asked was about something to do with is my penis normal?
Some variation of that. Is it curvy; is it small; is it big?
Girl's questions were a lot less frequent, of course, because, you know, possibly we needed to do a bit more to encourage girls to ask. But they were a lot more about social constructions of sex; a lot less technical about anatomy.
Anyway, all this to say that it's really important for kids to be able to ask questions, and it's impossible for kids to do that without anonymity.
And what we see today with young people migrating away from Facebook, from sites that capture a lot of their data, from sites where they're obliged to show their data, and going towards private communication on sites where they just ‑‑ they don't have to deal with their parents' watching them or everybody watching them.
I wanted to say something also about the importance of anonymity for sexual violence, for combatting sexual violence. So also the assumption is that if we anonymize communication about sex, somehow wild, crazy sexual things are going to happen. Right?
I don't know why. It's the same sort of morality we attach to sexuality offline. So if we don't control sex and sexuality, somehow ‑‑ I don't know what ‑‑ nobody's going to do anything productive. Everybody is going to do crazy things. People will ‑‑ violent things will come out. People will express violent things.
Whereas we have seen a number of case studies, in Egypt, in Yemen, Jordan, Palestine, Indonesia, in almost every country, possibly, there's been some sort of outburst at some point using an anonymous Tumbler or Twitter to talk about sexual violence. Yes?
To come out and say, you know, I was raped. This happened to me, and this is how I feel about it.
And of course this is a complicated discussion, because we have to think about certain tactics such as naming and shaming the perpetrators, or you know, becoming then ‑‑ revealing your identity; and it's a matter of choice, what you want to politicize or publicize.
But we saw many such examples of women, especially young women, who come out and talk about violence that's happened to them in institutions, schools, universities, at their jobs, on the streets. And being able to be anonymous sort of takes away from who are you, what do you look like, how can I justify this violence that has happened to you?
Are you too tall; are you too short; are you too skinny; too blond ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ what were you wearing, et cetera.
So being able to be anonymous helped in a lot of ways to put those experiences forward and multiply that sort of let's talk about the violence that happens, let's bring the sexuality out of the taboo and out of the private, into the public sphere.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I would like to have our last speaker, please, and we will open up for discussion about the issues arising right now.
Katarina Tapio ‑‑ hard to follow, but I'm sure you can manage ‑‑ from Finland.
>> KATARINA TAPIO: Thank you. You got the foundation right. From Finland. Okay.
Just ‑‑ so people have mostly been talking about what kind of anonymity we should have from legal and ethical perspectives. I will try to look at it from ‑‑ a little bit from the technical side. What kind of anonymity we actually can have. Not going to any details, just some general observations.
From technical viewpoint anonymity ‑‑ just ask in law, actually ‑‑ it's not an absolute thing. Something you either have or don't. There's no such thing as perfect anonymity. It's relative.
What do you want to do anonymously, and who you are trying to hide it from.
For example, if you just want to send a single message out so that your neighbors or friends won't find out it's from you, that's pretty easy. Although perhaps not quite as easy as you might think. Had to take some care.
But if you want to maintain a long‑standing anonymous or pseudonymous identity, so even the police won't know who you are, that's very hard. As some members of the famous Anonymous with capital A found out.
If you try to lead a normal Internet life with all social media stuff and whatnot, and still keep the ‑‑ safe from knowing who you are, that's impossible.
And ‑‑ keep the NSA from knowing who you are.
And also being anonymous privately, so to speak, doing your thing, looking for sensitive information from the Web without anybody knowing you're doing that. Just hoping that nobody will find you doing it at all.
And versus trying to maintain an anonymous but public image, spreading it out to everybody. Even though the powers that be try to actively suppress you and hunt you down. That's much harder.
Well, I don't think I have much more to say at this point. But I just highlight that it shouldn't just ask how can I be anonymous on the net. I must ask how anonymous can I be and how anonymous do I need to be? Or perhaps how much anonymity you're willing to pay for. Not so much money, but in the time and trouble it takes. Thank you.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Tapio. Extremely important to shift the question on how anonymous can I be.
To emphasize. Let's take a breath.
I see a question from the floor already. Thank you to my panelists. I think we'll open it up, a bit more a forum. I will collect two or three questions so we get them on the record, and we'll see how we go. Okay?
From the floor, yes?
Hand in the air. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I was invited. My name is Abru.
I'm from Istanbul Technical University. I am invited here to participate in this event as a speaker, one of the speakers. And I was made anonymous. And it's kind of foolish for me to experience and to participate in an event right now, to ‑‑ to see the clash between anonymity, design, and decision‑making.
So I just would like to remind you that. And I am not complaining, I am just trying to make a point here, just to reveal the fact of in micro moments in our everyday life we are experiencing this problem. And this is going through decision‑makers, and decision‑making, mechanisms.
And I have a speech. And if you give me the floor, I would like to talk about some of the problems. Thank you.
>> ROBERT BODLE: Yes, you can use mine if you want.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I think there has been a misunderstanding. We would like to clear this up immediately. Thank you, Robert.
>> ROBERT BODLE: Thank you. Thank you for your participation here.
I just want to speak to feelings of anonymity. With the process I organised this panel, and the process of putting a panel together, panelists requires confirmation of speakers. And if the organiser does not get confirmation of speaker, it's very difficult to assess who is going to be there for planning purposes.
But I do feel for you, and I apologize if there were any hurt feelings there. I invite you to speak as well and put forward what you would want to contribute.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Floor is yours. Three minutes, as everybody else. So off you go.
>> ABRU: Thank you. I only would like to make two, three basic comments about the topic. Because it's ‑‑ I think it's a huge problem.
First is to give the emphasis on protecting. And this is manipulated, this discourse of protection and security is appropriated by the big government and big corporations and the governments.
This is my main argument. One of my main arguments.
The second is designing anonymity is represented as a problem between big corporations and governments versus public or crowds.
But we see that, we are experiencing that. And I can give you many, many cases. We are experiencing that there are also clashes between governments and big corporations. So by changing the discourse of protecting and security, by openness, participating and sharing and openness, we need to know more about how protection or anonymity is used by the governments and by the corporations, big corporations; in order to design participation culture, we need to learn more about how anonymity is used by the states and by the governments and by the big corporations.
But the problem is we do not have the information. We do not have enough information about their designing culture. And because they're designing culture is made anonymous. So not everyone during the decision‑making mechanism or in designing mechanism within the big corporations ‑‑ such as Google or Yahoo or whatever ‑‑ not even a single person who has the whole structure. So that is another problem that I would like to raise.
I think it's finished. Three minutes?
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: We're all here to join. Thank you. I think that's a very important nuance and how we're talking about anonymity here. The sort of anonymous forces behind the screens that are ‑‑ you know, this isn't just a spooky science fiction movie. In fact, we don't know who's doing what to our data most of the time.
And I think Meryem made that point at another time.
Thank you very much, Abru. I'm glad you made it here.
Not all emails get through, you know.
We have comment, questions from the floor. Jack?
Anybody else to get a line‑up?
First of all, try and keep an eye ‑‑ or ‑‑
>> JACK: Thank you, Chair. I'd like to stress the information that in different countries, in different segments of the Web, there are difference ‑‑ there is different situation.
Maybe I would be in favor of doing anything to ensure freedom on the Internet. But Russian segment of the Internet, Ru.net, there are very big problems with the criminality in the network. Especially you know that through the ‑‑ one of the popular social networks, there is child porn distributed openly and free of charge by people using pseudonyms and anonymous accounts.
MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Do you have a question to ask?
Or is this a comment?
>> JACK: The question is how to ‑‑ how to deal with this. How to deal with this in case of situation with different countries.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Okay. Point is very well taken. I think we'll hear another question/comment, and I think the panelists might want to respond. And there's one other, a third ‑‑ okay. So Jacqueline, please.
>> JACQULINE: Actually my comment is in response to a question, because you asked how to balance between anonymity and ‑‑ what about the criminals and how do we catch them. We do a lot of work on violence against women as well as sexuality and violence against women; we are looking for recognition that this is happning, a lot of threats and stuff are being targeted. Often this is coming from an anonymous or unnamed mob online.
However, we also recognize that the principle of anonymity is so critical for individual safety and for us to be able to exercise a range of our rights that you cannot use that as a trade‑off between security. And the principle here is around proportionality and the default. The default should always be from the principle of anonymity because of how important it is, and then that should trickle through everything.
In terms of how we design technology, in terms of the norms that inform our law and the culture of communications that we perpetuate on line. And then when we want to think about what are the exceptions to which we can remove the right to anonymity, then you have like quite clear standards around ‑‑ you have to think about rule of law, to what extent is this actually addressing the problem. That's where research comes in. Rather than the other way around.
Right now we are pushing the other way around. Anonymity is dangerous and all kinds of panic that's been thrown around that's not grounded on any particular form of like clear research. Which is what is being shared here, which I really appreciate.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Jacqueline.
Can we follow this theme before we bring in another question?
Does any panelist want to respond about fighting crime?
Nobody wants to have criminals around.
Tapany. And then move to questions.
>> KATARINA TAPIO: The general observation is there is crime everywhere and always has been. And it's an act of balance. We also have to realise that sometimes citizens need to be protected from the states. State is not always necessarily in the right. And one way is that it should not be too easy for the state to crack down on anonymity. Even technically. Should be possible if you are real need. But if it's too easy, then it will be used to repress activity that should not be illegal.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Yes. So state should not be able to get away with everything.
So we have at the back a question, then we'll follow with the two here. Okay. We just gather those questions or comments, please.
>> JULIET NANFUKA: Okay. In light of what the previous two speakers actually resonates with ‑‑ what else ‑‑ can you hear me?
Okay. So I'm stuck between a question and a comment.
My name is Juliet Nanfuka from CIPESA, the Collaboration from International Policy in Eastern Southern Africa.
Now, my issue is we recently launched an initiative that's pursuing the right information in Uganda. The trick has come in that in order to access that information, you have to give your details as one would when they physically go in to a governmental office.
So on the issue of anonymity, that is something that has come to the fore. Because a lot of the people who have engaged with are not keen on giving up their information based ‑‑ as a result of the previous experiences that have come out through the media of people being found without ‑‑ with other people's identities coming out through various ‑‑ I don't know, engagements or rather various sources as ‑‑ rather government engagements.
So my thinking is ‑‑ at least back home, we still have a bit of a way to go with coming to understanding, rather to reaching an understanding about anonymity and accessing information. And just keeping the peace, as it were.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thanks. It recalls Meryem's earlier point about anonymity not always being the same as identity. But the key data access compromises your chances of moving around.
The next two questions, Carman and ‑‑ or do you want to go first?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah. We know lawyers ‑‑
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: We really need to speak very close into the speaker, because it's very hard to hear otherwise ‑‑ into the microphone. Sorry.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay. So mine is not so much the question but about the serious concerns about crimes and versus anonymity.
So there are ‑‑ these are quite baseless fears. However, in order to argue against those, we do need evidence‑based research. You just mentioned before. However, it's very hard to come by. But we do have it actually, we have it from South Korea who had a real policy from 2007 to 2012.
And the outcome of that for the institutional court in South Korea said this is unconstitutional to have real name policy. The number of comments in news platforms dropped more than 50 percent. However, the number of bad comments, let's say like that were basically defamatory comments, those dropped from 15.8 percent to 13.9 percent. So the drop of the so‑called what they want to fight against was basically invisible.
So however, I think all here agree that anonymity in any form, anonymity or pseudonymity, or just identity questions, are something very, very central to human rights. The difficulty is we don't really have it in the law. It's very hard to say it out loud without getting counter argument.
So we have two arguments, have it in the law as Germany has done it, they have it in the Media Act saying you have the right to be anonymous on the Internet. And you have to be allowed to do that. Or ‑‑ and the second, we need to raise literacy, people's literacy.
And this is also very well taken together by the constitutional court of Germany in a specific case that was ‑‑ support comments, the anonymous comments on that. And the Court said, the reader must use common sense and understand that anonymous speech on the Internet is not encyclopedia, it is very objective and very often robust; and it's the reader's obligation to use common sense.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thanks, Carman. Thank you very much.
And continuing around the table, please. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I just wanted to connect some of the points that were made, in particular by Meryem. And also about the need to differentiate different kind of situations. We're not talking about unlimited. So I think we speak about the monolithic ‑‑ but as a customer of the ISP or the application provider, anonymity vis‑a‑vis the state, anonymity from the other customers in the platform. So these are three different types of anonymity. And we should start speaking about this specific issues.
And also it shouldn't be monolithical in the sense you should always have the right of anonymity in these situations. Look at what anonymity is serving for: What is the ultimate drive you're trying to protect with anonymity.
And the case law of European rights and other human rights, courts have said in certain situations there are rights that are more important than others. For example, right to protect ‑‑ the right to life, protect against an interference with the right to life is more important than the right to privacy. In certain situations.
So if you have obvious impossibility of pursuing cases where someone might risk their own life, you know, you need to have it ‑‑ the possibility as a state to secure protection against that.
So if you don't have a data retention programme whereby ISPs have the luck where they can keep track of what's happening, you ‑‑ you are not able to protect against this kind of violation of rights.
So what I'm saying ‑‑ just to wrap up ‑‑ is we cannot have total anonymity. We just need to have very specific, clear and due process respecting procedures, to access the data. But we do need the data to exist if you want to protect all the rights.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much. That's a very important point.
We have two more questions, and then because of time I'm going to ask the panel ‑‑ I'm just preparing the panel to provide a take‑away, a one line, the last thought. The last thing you would like this room to think about. Not a long speech.
You've got some time, and I will be asking in reverse order. So just warning.
Two more questions from the floor. And there might need to be some responses to those. But let's just hear what you have to say.
First, Kathryn, and then Gertrude. Please identify yourself for the record.
>> KATHRYN EASTON: I'm Kathryn Easton from University of Lancaster in the U.K.
I was struck by Tapio's statement that you get the level of anonymity that you pay for. I wonder what the panel think about whether we are developing a socioeconomic divide in relation to anonymity with the anonymity‑haves and the have‑notes. The ones who can pay for the level of hardware and software that protects their online activities and also be educated to the extent that they are online.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Gertrude?
>> GERTRUDE: I was actually very happy to see a teen person in the panel, because teens and children are very, very important. They are a special audience that we should ‑‑ crime is also very important. But I think that teen activities online are very important and they're the protected audience.
Now, Dana Boyd has done extensive research on how teens use social networks while protecting their anonymity.
And I would like to ask, especially to you, to share with us some of the strategies that teens and kids use to remain in social network, to remain anonymous or pseudonymous in social networks. Some of the strategies that are prevalent among teens.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thanks. Harriet, would you like to respond?
>> HARRIET KEMPSON: Well, lots of people who are trying to be anonymous online will use the anonymous services like Ask Them, which is automatically an anonymous, different person. And for like the chat help websites, that's often anonymous already.
So I've heard from being at this conference that there are ways of covering up your identity in everything you do. It sounds like it's a lot of work. And very few people do it. And personally, I don't know anyone my age who goes through the effort of using special search engines and to say ‑‑ saving cookies on how to stay completely anonymous. I think mainly people I know who try to be anonymous will maybe Tumbler use a name, a pseudonym or a ‑‑ or use a website setup to be anonymous and count ways to hide who they are.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you. Right. We have five ‑‑ few more minutes. I'd like to invite the panel ‑‑ beginning with Tapany, as our last speaker ‑‑ to make a final comment, given the very rich material and ideas we've had today. The transcript will provide all of us with a chance to reflect and read it later. So Tapany, if you had one thing left to say, which you do only have one thing left to say right now, what would it be?
>> KATARINA TAPIO: I would like to reply to Kathryn's point. It's always been the case that some people have more privacy than others, so to speak. The technical issues on the Internet would make it impossible to reverse this trend. Technically it's ‑‑ financially cheaper to have privacy, anonymity than it has been in the preInternet era. But not actually going to the other direction as you've quite well observed. Anonymity of the small people and create anonymity and privacy only to the rich and powerful, and the corporations. It's not ‑‑
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you. And moving to Nadine.
>> NADINE MOAWAD: I think the point about the different levels of anonymity that you raised are very important. And across all of these we can agree that disabling anonymity or what we have now in terms of privatization of ourselves and identifies and the currency we have to pay online, we have to pay with information about us. I have to put a real picture, a real relationship status, feelings, actions. All these things.
I think the Internet is designed now in a way to like extract as much data and information about us as is possible. And the point about literacy is quite important. Because we might say, oh, well, people have the choice to make. They are choosing to reveal this information.
But the truth is a lot of Internet users have no idea where they're sending this data, have no idea that they have no right over it anymore, they can't delete it permanently; that it can be used for a number of different levels. Across the board with different levels of anonymity it's quite important that we hold on to this ‑‑ like Robert said at the beginning ‑‑ to elevate it to our rights.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I've forgotten how to count backwards.
>> HARRIET KEMPSON: I think the main thing which struck me in this discussion is that name means different things to different people. And people use it for very different things. So both the criminal and political side of things. And also the help lines and the having the confidence to talk to people you may not normally talk to. I think anonymity is quite a broad swathe. Means things to different people and used for lots of different things.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: And Abu, would you like to make a final comment?
>> ABRU: I think we need to think more about designing the next Internet rather than designing anonymity. With the principles of the notion of anonymity that we are talking about right now today. Thank you.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Okay. Thank you.
And moving to Serhat Koc.
>> SERHAT KOC: Thank you. I want to give you examples by using anonymity by forces like the government. Only liable information for ‑‑ people living in Turkey, not only Turkish people, is through social media and other sites, special theater had become crucially important for many people because people of Turkey thought that Twitter is an anonymous place to express their opinions.
And this let our top politicians to conception sites like Twitter is a tool used for extremists because they were anonymous there and they would be able to express themselves and protest the government and so on. During the ‑‑ the protests last June, Iran declared social media is against society. Because they couldn't understand its ‑‑ at the time. And Facebook is ‑‑ that's their words much and they figured out that they can use it in fact if the extremists are using it, obviously for protesting government, so we can use it and rather than the crack down on social media, they're choosing to fight fire with fire.
This summer the party reported around 6,000 anonymous online volunteers to boost its presence online. And of course we have digital bullying anonymously on people protesting or expressing themselves against the governments' actions.
So recently we were able to raise interest of people, have been contacting us. And me as a lawyer, of course, through social media to seek advice on using the Internet more anonymously in Turkey. And last sentences, so we are developing projects for secure communication in Turkey, including establishing local networks, which are primitive networks of wireless, that allow people to connect for free, despite the government's and private sector's support access and building your whistle blowing platform software for ‑‑ in Turkey, because whistleblowers in Turkey barely leak the germs because software and understanding is not widely used and took place in Turkey.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: Thank you very much. Very important for us to remember. Two minutes, three speakers.
>> MERYEM MARZOUKI: Two words, then. First of all I had two questions that remain unanswered. So I hope next IGF will be another workshop on anonymity. Summary in two words. Nuancing. And I already discussed this. And second, I'm al