A comment on anonymous comments:

Justin Pettizini writes: Re. “The campaign to rid anonymous comments from the internet” (Monday, item 14). There are nuances in the issue of media outlets publishing anonymous and pseudonymous comments that seemed to escape your correspondents.

The New York Times quoted Joichi Ito, head of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as saying:

“In the U.S., maybe you don’t mind [if you are forced to use your own name]. If every kid in Syria, every time they used the Internet, their identity was visible, they would be dead.”

The NYT article noted that identity was “one of the trickiest notions about life in the digital age: are you who you say you are online? Whose business is it — and why?” It pointed out that the purpose of the Facebook and Google demand for real identity is not to stop uncivil behaviour but to monetise information about you.

It illustrated the absurdity of the insistence on “real” names by describing Facebook’s deactivation of Salman Rushdie’s account before asking for proof of his name, and then reinstating the account under his birth name, Ahmed Rushdie.

Uranium sales to India:

John Richardson writes: Re. “Labor’s incoherent nuclear policy and the Howard legacy” (yesterday, item 1). As Bernard Keane points out, it’s not just government policy on the sale of uranium to India that’s incoherent and duplicitous — in fact, I can’t think of anything that Julia Gillard once stood for that she still does, apart from serving her own self-interest.

Given that a drover’s dog could take Labor out at the next election, notwithstanding Abbott’s appalling performance, Labor and Gillard are in trouble.

Peter Fray

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