If you think you can easily be anonymous on social media, think again.
Cyber security expert Jeff Kosef Warned that people are losing the ability to be anonymous online. He said he thinks “everyone should be concerned about being able to be tracked by the company and the government and want to find a way to avoid those consequences.”
Kosseff author 26 words that made the Internet And published a new book titled Anonymous United States About First Amendment protection for anonymous speech.
The new book covers the history of anonymous free speech written under pseudonyms, from American colonial writing to online usernames. Kosef explained how the courts upheld the anonymity as the Speaker’s first amendment right to those who might otherwise remain silent. Kosef also explores the challenges of defending anonymity on social media. “[P]People don’t realize that data points, even if they don’t contain your name, can identify you, “said Koseff in an MRC Free Speech America Exclusive.
Inside Anonymous United States, Kosseff explicitly explains how social media posts can identify users. He recalls a 2015 presentation by Navy Lieutenant Jack Danelli who demonstrated software that could “create geographic location-based profiles” using public social media posts. According to Kosef, Danley used the West Point cadet as an example.
“With a few clicks, Danieli was able to trace his movements, the cadet’s hometown (and indeed, the home address for the geolocation tags in his social media posts) and the details of where he went on vacation,” Kosef wrote. “All of this confidential information did not come from a highly sensitive database, but from social media posts and check-ins that the cadets voluntarily provided to the world.”
Kosef explained to MRC Free Speech America that when users offer multiple information about themselves, “there may be only one person who fills that profile.” He said the geo-location data embedded in the photo is an example of data identification. Another example mentioned in his book is Web Browsing History, which can be combined with links shared by users on social media.
Kosef said the collection of personally identifiable information was “an intrusion on our anonymity and our right to privacy.” He added that many Americans do not care that they are being tracked even though they know they are not anonymous. “I think often the idea is ‘well, I have nothing to hide, so, I don’t think about it.’ And, I mean, personal information can be misused in a variety of ways, “he said, citing” authoritarian regimes that profile citizens. ”
The author proposes a few solutions to the increased restrictions on anonymity and data privacy. In the book, he calls for a national privacy law, noting that “[m]Any state and federal law already provides greater protection for medical records, student data and bank account information. He told MRC Free Speech America: “Although California, Virginia and Colorado are the only states that have this data protection law, there are many companies that will respect requests. [to delete personal information] From anyone. “However, he emphasized that the” main tool “for securing user data is” to be really careful about what you post online. “
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Excerpt from Anonymous United States: How the First Amendment in the form of online lectures, By Jeff Kosef, published by Cornell University Press. Copyright (c) 2022 by Cornell University.