Should online platforms have access to users' real identities?

Indian Summer

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The Labour MP Jess Phillips was bombarded with more than 600 rape threats in a single night, she has revealed, as she called for online trolls to no longer be allowed anonymity.

Phillips said she is constantly the object of vicious abuse online, with the police having issued harassment orders against two people. She has concluded from her experience that parliament needs to force people to make their identities available to the likes of Facebook and Twitter – even if they are still able to remain anonymous to the general public.
More: Labour MP calls for end to online anonymity after '600 rape threats' (11. June 2018)
 

Jamie in Chile

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I was thinking about this and I think I prefer less anonymity in general but a wholesale banning of anonymity on every platform doesn't feel right. However I think facebook and twitter should not be allowing anonymity.
 

Indian Summer

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I was thinking about this and I think I prefer less anonymity in general but a wholesale banning of anonymity on every platform doesn't feel right. However I think facebook and twitter should not be allowing anonymity.
Well, the argument made in the article is that the users' identity should be known to the service providers, but not necessarily to other users. So if there is a problem with threats, harassment and other such illegal activities, then the service provider can provide the identities to relevant law enforcement.

One potential problem with this is countries with oppressive governments. If the identities are stored with the service provider, then these governments might be able to get ahold of them, through either legal or illegal means.
 

Andy_T

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That (identity known to the providers) makes a lot of sense to me, simply to curb the reckless behaviour occuring way too often. How does this work together with GDPR? Is that not personal information and the saving has to be approved in written?
 

Indian Summer

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That (identity known to the providers) makes a lot of sense to me, simply to curb the reckless behaviour occuring way too often. How does this work together with GDPR? Is that not personal information and the saving has to be approved in written?
It makes sense that crazies shouldn't be allowed to use the Internet as a venue for making anonymous threats and harassment campaigns. But maybe the platform providers still wouldn't need to store the users' real identities. Perhaps when a user registers an account with a platform provider they would authenticate against a third party service run by "the government" which in turn would return a reference code to the platform provider that they would then store with the account. The reference code can then be used by law enforcement to look up the real identity in the government's database if there is a case of threats, harassment etcetera.