Goodbye anonymity – or, Embrace your identity

We all knew that this reality was coming, but Bruce Schneier has an interesting collection of artciles on his blog today detailing how researchers were able to identify people using only anonymous social networking data.

From the article:

The researchers suggest that as social network sites become more heavily used, then people will find it increasingly difficult to maintain a veil of anonymity.

I suppose this is the price to pay when you allow anyone (everyone) access to your data.  In my mind, there are two responses to this situation:

  1. Avoid any form of social networking, even with a different username or anonymity protections in place.
  2. Attempt to participate in social networking in such a way that you seek to establish a reputation for yourself, rather than allowing researchers to link disparate sources together to form your “picture.”

This blog is part of my response to this challenge.  Instead of sitting on the sidelines, I have chosen to get involved, on my own terms, and establish a network and reputation with purpose.

While there are inherent differences between these new networks and traditional off-line networks, there are also unique benefits.  As I am only just now wading into the stream, I’m witholding judgement, but initial returns on embracing my online identity look good.

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