Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

12.14. Why would someone want to post anonymously?

There are a variety of reasons folks might need or want anonymous access to the Usenet and e-mail. It is understandable that the participants on newsgroups such as, alt.sexual.abuse.recovery, or alt.whistleblowing may want to participate incognito (although likely for different reasons.) "Serious" uses such as sexual abuse counseling in Usenet newsgroups have increased dramatically since the dawn of anonymous mailers, as have the number of posts to groups such as alt.personals and Occurrences of harassing messages have also increased with the introduction of networked anonymity. Again, for a detailed look at the reasons behind anonymity on the Internet, read the "Anonymity on the Internet" FAQ.

Note: Services through which users send anonymous e-mail and Usenet postings--and the people who use them--are extremely disliked in some circles. Critics say that anonymous remailers are used to distribute child pornography, harass innocent people with impunity, and lots of other nasty things. Maybe so, but it's clear that anonymous remailers are here to stay. It doesn't take much programming savvy to set up a remailer for the public. In fact, many remailers have been run out of student accounts without the knowledge or permission of the system administrators. (That's one reason that the Internet's anonymity services are notoriously unstable.) Dozens of remailers have come and gone over time. Whenever one goes away for some reason, another one pops up somewhere. You don't have to like them, but you do have to get used to them.

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