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May. 30th, 2003 | 07:11 am

So I've been reading Brin's the transparent society.

One of the big questions he asks is what is more important anonymity or accountability? It's common to speak of privacy and think in terms of anonymity, however there are other parts of privacy that perhaps are more important. For instance one key definition of privacy in US tort law is "the right to be left alone".

And really that's the right that I'm more partial to. For example I don't like the idea of large corporations data mining my financial transactions and personal details as I assume their goal is to manipulate me into buying as much stuff as possible. So I desperately try to hide my personal details from them... especially contact information.

However a do not call registry, though limiting my anonymity does increase my ability to be free from the continual barrage of advertising, and so is something I desire.

For instance one potential solution to spam is to make sure that all email originates from known and verified identities. Two of the more obnoxious forms of spam are spam from forged addresses and (since spam filters now check for valid addresses) identity theft spam. (Where the spammer uses some unsuspecting persons address). However if the spam headers contained a verifiable trace to the originating sender it would be possible to prosecute those spammers.

Now the question is losing the ability for people to try new identities or to criticize others without fear of being tracked down worth being able to stop people from misusing the net? With verifiable identities at least trolling could also be reduced.

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