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Anonymous Apps Aren't Anonymous
By: Jessica Cherok
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Got a secret? Well, there’s an app for that. But be careful, because there’s no such thing as anonymity online.

Promises of confidentiality and anonymity online just aren’t totally true, and that’s putting a lot of us at risk. Anonymity apps, like Whisper, allow users to post whatever they want without revealing their identities. While the apps have been touted as ways to connect and empathize with others online, that’s not what is actually happening.

For one, anonymity has allowed us to be more ruthless — and careless — than we would be in real life. It also leaves us with a false sense of security in thinking we are anonymous when we really are not.

For example, think of whistleblowers. Making the decision to become a whistleblower is probably nerve-wracking enough, so making the choice to do it anonymously via the Whisper app seems like a good choice. You’d probably feel like you’re running less of a risk of being found out.

However, Whisper and apps like it aren’t really anonymous. Sure, your name and photo aren't displayed next to your post like they are on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be discovered. Law enforcement can still issue warrants for information, leaving you high and dry.

As with anywhere you provide information online, make sure you read the privacy policies. You may be surprised to learn just what exactly can be done with your information.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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