The Theory of Regulated Anonymity
(P.S: This is in
continuation of the previous article on the subject)
The theory of
regulated anonymity as propounded by Naavi advocates a conflict
resolution solution for preserving the democratic principles of
Privacy Protection in Cyber Space along with the need of the law
enforcement to be able to prevent misuse of “Privacy” as a cover
for Cyber Crimes.
The Theory is
built on the premise that “Absolute Anonymity of the Netizen is
impractical as it would be completely opposed by all law
enforcement authorities and is against the current laws in most
countries. Under the theory, Anonymity should be regulated by
providing every Netizen with a “Cyber Space Avatar ID” to
substitute the “Physical Space Citizen ID”. The Netizen may use
his Netizen ID whenever he wants to be anonymous while he is
free to do any transaction in Cyber Space also with the veilCitizen
ID of the Physical Society. Whenever a justification arises for
the Privacy veil to be lifted, a due process outside the control
of the Government/Politicians/Corporate interests would be
under this theory are
Government of the day is not absolutely trusted by the
Privacy law in most countries advocate a “Due Process”
for lifting the privacy veil in the interest of national
security etc. However the “Due Process” has a tendency to get
corrupted in favour of an aggressive Government or influential
There is a need for an agency to act as an “Ombudsman”
(Privacy Protection Group or PPG) between the Law enforcement
authorities and the Citizen to decide when privacy veil can be
lifted in the interest of national security and in accordance
with the due process of law.
PPG has to be constituted outside the control of the
major stake holders in privacy breach namely the Government,
Politicians, and the Corporate powers.
Anonymity can be better preserved by distributing data
across multiple persons and locations so that no single country
or single person has all the data that are necessary for
identifying a Netizen of the Cyber Society to a corresponding
Citizen in the Physical world.
Necessary and Sufficient Penalties can be imposed on the
Netizens applicable to Cyber Society independent of the
penalties that can be imposed on the Citizen mapped to an
offending the Netizen ID.
In pursuance of
the above principles, the system of Regulated Anonymity
recommended by Naavi is depicted in the following diagrams. The
first diagram shows the suggested architecture for converting
the Citizen ID to a Netizen ID and the second diagram shows how
the request for the lifting of the privacy veil will function.
In the above
process, only for a brief period, private data will not be
available in unencrypted form at any stage of anonymization. The
decryption occurs only at the time of disclosure. These servers would be in different countries
other than the country of residence of the user. The Netizen ID
and its mapping to the ID required for accessing the data when
required would be kept in a fourth server.
ensures that data gets distributed over four different countries
and servers and hence it would be difficult to forcefully access
the data by any Governmental authority.
The process of
revealing the personal data in case of a genuine need would be
handled with a strong mechanism for filtering fake requests and
unlawful requests. The body which filters the requests from law
enforcement agencies will consist of experts in privacy law in
This process of
Regulated Anonymity is expected to satisfy the Privacy
requirements as well as the law enforcement needs.
It remains to be
seen however who will venture into setting up the above system.
It would be ideal that an organization like ICANN should take
the lead in establishing such a system.
Right to be Forgotten
the entire article
March 3, 2012