Total Anonymity

Anonymity = No one knows your name or where you are geographically.

Linguistic anonymity = No one can identify your gender by your online word choice.

A¬†JSTOR article on linguistic anonymity was curious. My expectations were to find a how-to list of tricks and tips for staying anonymous online. Almost like a beginner’s guide to online safety. However, article transitioned to female gamers and their need to be thought of or assumed to be males and how they accomplish this by filtering what they type online. Here’s a PDF version of the article in case JSTOR removes it.

Behavioral anonymity = No one can identify you through online behavior patterns; what you do, when you do it, how you do it.

After reading the article a leap of thought occurred that, like keystroke loggers, you could be tracked by how fast you type or your writing style, word choice, and sentence structure. With a large enough sample size you could potentially discern who is behind the keyboard. And this thought recalled something that Google is doing to rid the world of passwords. Google is creating a Trust Score that does recognize different typing speed between users and behavior or activity throughout the day to create entropy needed to generate secure passwords. Being as skeptical as I am this leads me to think that if not soon on the horizon, that this form of tracking is perhaps already happening.

Why are there different meanings behind anonymity? Always thought anonymity meant covered all aspects of being. Continuing with my pessimism it seems that companies, advertisers, marketers and the like find ways to limit or prevent anonymity and each of their oversteps creates a new definition and layer of anonymity previously implied or assumed. I propose a new definition: total anonymity. This new term covers all layers of anonymity – known and yet to be known – so that total anonymity returns to simply mean anonymity.