(The idea for the following post came during the South Asia Meeting on the Freedom of Expression and the Internet in Kathmandu, 2-4 November. Anonymity was discussed during a session on first day along with surveillance, security and data protection. The following post, however, is only my thoughts, not the summary of what was discussed during the meeting.)
Before jumping into my views, let define anonymity clearly. Anonymity is derived from the Greek word meaning “without a name” or “namelessness”, according to Wikipedia. In colloquial use, anonymity typically refers to the state of an individual’s personal identity, or personally identifiable information, being publicly unknown.
It’s important to distinguish anonymity from privacy, which means individuals’ ability to seclude them by revealing only selective information. Normally, anonymity is hiding oneself completely while privacy is hiding selective information about oneself.