Anonymity rules on the internet are not universal and are dependent on the opinion of the service providers who run the servers. The international scope of the internet means that what is illegal in one country may not be so everywhere.
In a document written by L. Detweiler, he details rules that must be followed to deter legislators from intervening with anonymity on the internet.
- For Operators: "Document thoroughly acceptable and unacceptable uses in an introductory file that is sent to new users. Have a coherent and consistent policy and stick to it. State clearly what logging and monitoring is occuring. Formulate a plan for problematic ethical situations and anticipate potentially intense moral quandaries and dilemmas. Take precautions to ensure the security of the server from physical and network-based attacks and infiltrations. Require a vote either to allow or disallow anonymous posts on individual newsgroups."
- For Users: "Use anonymity only if you have to. Frivolous uses weaken the seriousness and usefulness of the capability for others. Do not use anonymity to provoke, harass, or threaten others. Be aware of the policies of the anonymous site and respect them. Be prepared to forfeit your anonymity if you abuse the privilege."
The internet is a place where people can express themselves without fear of censorship, but it's not always easy to tell the difference between what should be expressed and what shouldn't. The freedom comes with its own set of problems that are just as unique as any other part in today's society. The U.S Constitution makes the statement, "Congress shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech," in order to allow for free expression, even if it is unpopular or controversial. In today's society many people are against this and believe that censorship should be used instead because they feel unsafe around opposing views. The advantages of free speech outweigh the disadvantages.
The internet is a global network, and it's impossible to regulate the web without international cooperation. It may be naive of us to hope for an unregulated future, but we can at least work together on national legislation that protects anonymity online with guidelines that apply across all countries.