Unraveling Internet Identities: Embedding Accountability & Anonymity at the Application Layer

28 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2012 Last revised: 16 Mar 2013

See all articles by Josephine Wolff

Josephine Wolff

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Date Written: April 26, 2012

Abstract

Both anonymity and accountability play important roles in sustaining the Internet's functionality; however, there is a common misconception that increasing the anonymity of Internet identities requires diminishing their accountability, and vice versa. This paper argues that by implementing accountability mechanisms and anonymity protections at the application layer of the Internet, rather than the network layer, it is possible to develop a variety of different types of accountable-anonymous virtual identities, tailored to meet the needs of numerous and diverse online applications. Examples are drawn from several identity mechanisms used by existing applications and general design patterns for implementing accountability are discussed, with particular emphasis on designing identity investment-privilege trade-offs, conditional anonymity schemes, and aggregated, identity management systems, as well as the role of scoped identities and linked identities in promoting online accountability.

Keywords: accountability, anonymity, virtual identities, application design, privacy, social networks, identity management, reputation systems

Suggested Citation

Wolff, Josephine, Unraveling Internet Identities: Embedding Accountability & Anonymity at the Application Layer (April 26, 2012). 2012 TRPC, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2046826 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2046826

Josephine Wolff (Contact Author)

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University ( email )

160 Packard
Medford, MA 02155
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
134
Abstract Views
1,182
rank
287,759
PlumX Metrics