Lundgren, Björn | 2020
in: Big Data and Democracy. Ed: Macnish, K. & J. Galliott (2020)
The aim of this paper is to discuss anonymity and the threats against it—in the form of deanonymization technologies. The question in the title is approached by conceptual analysis: I ask what kind of concept we need and how it ought to be conceptualized given what is really at stake. By what is at stake I mean the values that are threatened by various deanonymization technologies. It will be argued that while previous conceptualizations of anonymity may be reasonable—given a standard lexical, or common-sense, understanding of the term—the concept of anonymity is not sufficient given what is really at stake. I will argue that what is at stake is our ability to be anonymous, which I will broadly characterize as a reasonable control over what we communicate.