I must admit, I enjoyed this topic more than last weeks. What was interesting to see from other blogs was a lot of people got confused between multiple separate online identities and multiple partial identities. So in my blog I tried to highlight the distinction with a graphic I made myself and talked about the costs and benefits of both – although initially I couldn’t find a good reason why someone would have another separate online identity.
However, one blog did give an interesting example. The blog talked about an apple employee wishing to leak corporate information i.e. a whistle-blower. In the comment that I wrote I wondered how police would know if the whistle-blower was legitimate or if it was someone just causing trouble – sadly the blog author didn’t get back to me.
But, on Tobies blog – which was a really enjoyable read – I asked him the same question and he gave a solid answer. He talked about how 4chan – an anonymous forum – only provides ‘front end anonymity’ so police could still track down IP addresses, but beyond that the police would essentially have to make a judgment call.
A study done in 2010, (details of which can be found here ) assessed this problem and highlighted that
“The directors who received the anonymous complaint were significantly less likely to look into it deeply.”
So maybe having a separate online identity is not beneficial after all.
The comment that I received on my own blog noticed that I took quite a one sided approach and asked – after reviewing the other blogs and comments – if I would change my opinion. Initially my answer was yes, being a secret agent or whistleblower, a separate online identity is necessary. But given the report above – perhaps not….I’m still sitting on the fence with this one.