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Robert Tamayo

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Free Speech and Anonymity

Some people argue for total free speech. Others argue for a subset of free speech, such as political free speech. Still others argue for free speech as long as anonymity is removed; you can say what you want, but you must be able to be held accountable for it.

The anonymity question is the most curious one. I think it's obvious that anonymity is not only compatible with free speech, but a requirement of a system in which freedom of speech is a value. Consider the argument against anonymity: you cannot be anonymous because then you can't be held accountable for your words. The problem with that statement is that the right of free speech means that you are not supposed to be held accountable for what you say. While some protections may be provided for by the law, the social consequences of free speech are still present. Anonymizing speech is the only way to build a society with true free speech.

I believe ideas and words have consequences. If politicians want to end online anonymity, then I would appreciate it if they were honest about what they were actually doing: ending free speech.
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