“Father of Internet”: Anonymity is okay

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Google and major internet firms should not require users to reveal their real identity and pictures as it could have adverse consequences, according to Vint Cerf, the American computer scientist hailed as “one of the internet’s fathers.”

In an interview with Reuters, Cerf firmly disagreed with how Google handles the increasing number of personal profiles over the Web. Cerf, who is also an Assistant Professor at Stanford and a former DARPA scientist, explained that in certain situations, anonymous posting is the lone option.

“Using real names is useful but I don’t think it should be forced on people and I don’t think we do,” said Cerf, pointing out that Google’s YouTube and social network encourages people to use their actual names and photographs while interacting with other users.

Google and major internet firms should allow anonymity because many countries are asking the search giant to hand over information about certain users. Residents in some countries are also under fire for speaking out against their respective governments. On top of that, even democratic countries are silencing dissidents.

Cerf said in December, “At Google, we see and feel the dangers of the government-led Net crackdown.” Google admitted in November 2012 that government-led surveillance is becoming rampant.

But the executive clarified that he is not proposing an anonymous-only Internet. He feels the online firm should allow users to post information anonymously or under pseudonyms in certain cases. However, he added that there are situations wherein both parties really should know who they are dealing with.


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