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Blogging anonymity - The French look to be getting it right

(Updated - including a factual correction)

From Libé:

"Yesterday, [at] the Conference on Rights and freedoms in the Digital Society, organized by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet the Secretary of State in charge of the digital economy, Senator Yves Détraigne presented his idea of right to the “heteronymity”. Detraigne is the co-author of the report 'Privacy in the Digital Age: For a reinforcement of trust between citizens and the Information Society'...One of the concepts it supports is the recognition of a right to anonymity to those is dubs Homo Digitalis. It is a question of being able to separate a real identity from a digital identity".

That is the gist of it. I'm not very keen on the idea of registering an identity with the state, which serves to undermine much of the point of having separate identities for blogging, Second Life and all the rest of it. While the unmaskings of Night Jack and Girl with a One Track Mind (a correction from an earlier reference to BdJ - I got my horizontal bloggers mixed up) are the greatest causes célèbres of recent times, I do not have to struggle too hard to think of other bloggers - including mates - who wished to keep their given names private and were outed for reasons that can only be seen as motivated by no reason beyond spite - Devil's Kitchen, Old Holborn and PragueTory (sort of). Another blogger who went public has had the delight of another blogger contact his workplace attempting to get him sacked for 'blogging during working hours'. The effort failed. I am NOT making that up. And no, no names at this stage. I know full well who my mate Behind Blue Eyes is, and he has perfectly sensible reasons for wishing to be anonymous. Elsewhere, I use a completely different identity when posting on music fora and so forth as my political views have no bearings on my thoughts on Blind Lemon Jefferson, and indeed vice versa. Elsewhere, I have occasionally (if not in living memory) used a third identity as a blog commentator mainly when I have wanted to make off-colour jokes and / or have wanted to make comments where I have not wanted my main identity to prejudice, for better or worse, the points I was making. Re the former, that was in part informed by concern that as my mother reads this (sometimes), and as perhaps my children will too one of these days I have kept the swearing and coarseness to a minimum and hoped to avoid 'awkwardness'. I might add that I decided to keep this place PG before I started showing off to to the family. A friend outed me to my ex-wife, without malicious intent, but that caused a momentary panic in which I worried that I might have said something hateful about her. Doubtless she has better things to do with her time than immerse herself in the archives and I am 99.9% certain I have not let my mouth, or rather fingers run away with me. Anyway, I have never referred to her by name.

I kept my given name under the rug until the chance to appear on the much missed 18 Doughty Street came my way, and for anyone who does not know, and actually gives a good goddamn, I am called William Luckman and live guess where. Not that it would have taken much googling for any interested party to discover that. Take it from there would-be stalkers.... As I am self-employed, I do not have to be particularly furtive, but others feel that they do and if folk wish to maintain a chinese wall between given name and nom de blog for whatever reason, that is their affair and their affair alone


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Blogger Man in a Shed said... 11:43 pm

Personally I see writing under a pseudonym as being part of a long standing tradition.

Whilst an individual may stand behind the name, the name also represents of form of personality not necessarily the same as the individual.

But I'm not sure I'd be taking any lessons from the Hamster killing French with their outrageous failure to support the Alsace Hamster. You have though the French state was into characters of short stature right now...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:54 pm

Hope that's not 600,00 hectares /per/ hamster. Thought they were happy in something not much bigger than a shoebox.  

Blogger ScotsToryB said... 12:47 am

Willie Luckman.

I would have paid good money as a teenager for that.


Blogger Bill Quango MP said... 1:14 am

Well I have nothing against anonymous Bloggers. Personally though, I always use my real name.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:50 am

STB - At my school we were called by our surnames. Using your skill and judgment, guess, which letter got switched for an F....

BQ - Quite reasonable.  

Blogger ScotsToryB said... 5:25 pm

'STB - At my school we were called by our surnames. Using your skill and judgment, guess, which letter got switched for an F....'.



p.s. To be fair, you left me little choice.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:48 pm


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