The Digital Media Manifesto



Martin Springer


Use Case No. 9 - Anonymous Publishing



1. Introduction

Purpose of this contribution is to consider the Use Case of Anonymous Publishing.

This is a very simplified study. It is hoped that other contributions will extend the analysis.

2. Description of the traditional use case

"What has been thought once cannot be redeemed" [1]

2.1 Traditional functions

"Yet we must not forget that anonymous publishers have played an important role throughout the history of publication. Freedom of anonymous speech is an essential component of free speech, and freedom of speech is a critical part of any healthy democracy. For instance, the United States Supreme Court has consistently upheld protection for anonymous publication of political speech.

As Justice Stevens wrote in the McIntyre v Ohio Election Commission majority opinion, Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority." [2]

2.2 Traditional value chain players

2.3 Technologies used in the traditional use case

2.4 Legislative framework of the traditional use case

3. Description of the digital use case

A member of a government commissions a top-secret history of his country's role in a war. The history and all the appended documents have been composed on a government internal computer system in the form of computer files.

All original documents have applied rights expressions stating that any further publication or distribution must include tracking information of some sort.

The government member hands over the history and most of the original documents to an administrator of a website who regularly publishes documents that are prohibited by governments.

If the administrator of the website redistributes the files with included information identifying the author, publisher or distributor, the life of the government member might be at risk.

3.1 Functions of the digital use case

3.2 Value chain players in the digital use case

3.3 Technologies used in the digital use case

3.4 Cost/benefits for value chain players

3.5 Legislative framework of the digital use case

3.6 Business model of the digital use case

3.7 Difficulties of current deployments

4. Hurdles


5. Relations with other use cases

"Anonymity TRU"

6. References

[1] "Die Physiker" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, 1962, Arche Verlag, Switzerland

[2] TAZ Servers and the Rewebber Network: Enabling Anonymous Publishing on the World Wide Web, Ian Goldberg, David Wagner, 1998

[3] First amendment - an overview

[4] European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10 - Freedom of expression

[5] DRM 2003 - Call For Papers