Nameless in Cyberspace: Anonymity on the Internet

Matthew Gaylor (
Thu, 9 Dec 1999 10:50:17 -0500

Jonathan Wallace's new paper, Nameless in Cyberspace: Anonymity on the Internet, has just been published by the Cato Institute.

Its online at: in PDF format.

Paper No. 54
December 8, 1999

Nameless in Cyberspace:
Anonymity on the Internet

by Jonathan D. Wallace

Jonathan D. Wallace publishes Ethical Spectacle, available at, and is coauthor of Sex, Laws and Cyberspace (New York: Henry Holt, 1996). He is a software executive and attorney in New York City.

Executive Summary

Proposals to limit anonymous communications on the Internet would violate free speech rights long recognized by the Supreme Court. Anonymous and pseudonymous speech played a vital role in the founding of this country. Thomas Paines Common Sense was Žrst released signed, An Englishman. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, Samuel Adams, and others carried out the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists using pseudonyms. Today, human rights workers in China and many other countries have reforged the link between anonymity and free speech.

Given the importance of anonymity as a component of free speech, the cost of banning anonymous Internet speech would be enor-mous. It makes no sense to treat Internet speech differently from printed leažets or books.

1999 The Cato Institute

Regards, Matt-

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