For the past few years some officials at Port Orange city hall has criticized this blog site for allowing anonymous users to freely post comments and observations. But does Hypocrisy prevail at our city hall? This past week the City’s website again posted a copy of an anonymous comment from the city’s “Help Desk files”. These accolades were posted while at the same time numerous complaints both anonymous & named were buried within the same files.
So what’s up Doc? Was the anonymous poster a city official wishing to curtail some of the criticism surrounding the new sidewalks on Spruce Creek Rd.? Many citizen feel the the double wide meandering sidewalk looks like something out of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie. And because the existing sidewalk on the east side of the street is not heavily used, this project may have been somewhat of a boondoggle. Especially in view of the fact that many area’s of the city are in disparate need of sidewalk repairs.
Happy Resident or …. ?
Many people don’t want the things they say online to be connected with their offline identities. They may be concerned about political or economic retribution, harassment, or even threats to their lives. Whistleblowers report news that companies and governments would prefer to suppress; human rights workers struggle against repressive governments; parents try to create a safe way for children to explore; victims of domestic violence attempt to rebuild their lives where abusers cannot follow.
Instead of using their true names to communicate, these people choose to speak using pseudonyms (assumed names) or anonymously (no name at all). For these individuals and the organizations that support them, secure anonymity is critical. It may literally save lives.
Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym “Publius ” and “the Federal Farmer” spoke up in rebuttal.