By now, most of us here know that total anonymity on the Internet is a utopia, but still it’s an awkward feeling to be confronted with the facts in this article of the NY Times (you’ll need to register, but it’s free and spamfree).

Well, this article sure made me feel a bit “uneasy” (and I think I’m going to search some blogs to see what’s being said about me now 😉 ). Thinking about this, there is such a thing as privacy and trust. People need close friends in which they can confine their secrets in total confidence, and not read about them in public the next hour. There is a another danger too though… people with real problems share them online, get advise, but who says it’s the right advise? Everyone has an opinion on the net, but not everyone is a psychologist or psychiatrist that really knows how to deal with the problems people share online.

It comes down to choosing your friends carefully and building up a trusting relationship with them, because just like in real life there are gossipers and ‘fake’ friends than don’t care about the trust you placed in them. You have to apply the same caution with your online (and real life blogging) friends. It’s something I’ve been hammering away at since we started up the yucom community (remember that one, John?). It was appalling how many private details people threw online and gave away in the chatrooms. A total lack of privacy, because they all thought that they were totally anonymous.. Boy, were they wrong. For those that are interested in some of these tips, visit the Netaware site and click on safety tips or look on my old chat site here (netiquette part at the bottom, it’s in Dutch there … make your kids read it). Will I need to add another line about being careful with bloggers now?

Privacy is going down, but people do keep fighting it. Remember the idea about the serial number on each processor being transmitted when online? The idea was simple: each personal computers has a unique identification number, and can transmit this when online. In essence, the chip will transmit an identification number that a Web site can use to guarantee that a machine that claims to be John’s computer is really John’s computer. It seemed like a nice idea: better online security and such, but in return you gave up part of your anonymity. And that is what people didn’t want … they did not want to give up their anonymity when going online. Result: the manufacturers got the world + dog over them to switch it off, and in the end they did (I think you have to switch it ‘on’ now if you want to use it). Read more on it on bigbrotherinside .

As for me, I don’t really want you all to go look in my soul. We’re currently discussing this on Toink . Go there to follow the discussion or contribute to it.