Article in German Business Magazine “Brand eins”

Carolyn Braun has written a nice short article about my Bauta project for the German business magazine “Brand eins“. The title of the article is “Die Maske der Ehrbaren”, which is a variation of my old ISSE presentation title “The Mask of the Honorable Citizen”. If you do not want to read it, you can alternatively listen to it or download it as a MP3-file (choose “brand eins 07 / 2012 Schwerpunkt: Digitale Wirtschaft”, then right click on Hören).

Unfortunately the article starts with a little mistake. It says that all Anonymous activists in Germany call each other “Bernd”. Of course I never said something like that. I also know that the author got it right. The mistake is probably a result of a last minute shortening done by the Brand eins editorial board. “Bernd” is the name which is used by all the members of the German image board “Krautchan”, while “Anonymous” is the name used by all members of the international image board “4Chan”. You can find more information about this at the end of this article. But apart from that I really like the article, and discussing the Bauta topic with the author was fun. I am especially pleased with the fact that she uses the word  “Verhüllungsgebot” (obligation to wear masks) in a positive way, which makes an ironic contrast to the German term “Vermummungsverbot” (ban of wearing masks). Unfortunately, in Englisch there is no pair of words which has the same effect.

During the interview I suddenly understood that there is a “freedom of speech” aspect of wearing masks which I did not see until now. It puts the aspect of “deindividuation” (read more) in a new perspective. Deindividuation effects can be helpful for shy persons ot those with a lack of self-confidence, because it makes it easier for them to take part in political or other discussions which tend to get “personal”. A simple fact, not new, somehow trivial, but think I will have to write a special article about that.

The German radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur reported on the respective issue of Brand eins magazine. You can listen to the feature on their website or download it, the masks are mentioned in the last quarter.

All pages have been checked for the last time on August 11th 2012.

Presentation at Siegen University

Prof. Dr. Kesdogan, Head of  Research Group at the Business Informatics Chair at Siegen University, invited me to hold a presentation on the Venetian anonymity concept on Frebruary 23rd, 2012. The presentation took place and perhaps leads to an official research project. Teachers and students were especially interested in how to use elements of the Venetion concept to design models of anonymous participation in organizational and political, perhaps municipal decision making processes.

New sources: Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is director of International Freedom of Expression at the US organization Electronic Frontier Foundation. Some of her articles and a lot of the interviews she has given provide excellent insights into chances and problems of anonymity and pseudonymity on the internet and on closed social network platforms. “A case for pseudonyms” for example explains why being able to use a pseudonym sometimes saves one’s life and often is an important factor to guarantee freedom of speech. “Lieber anonym als verfolgt” partly is a German translation published in the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”.  In “San Francisco Organization Fights For Online Anonymity” by CBS San Francisco Jillian C. York briefly summarizes why she does not like the ban of user pseudonyms by Google+ and Facebook.


I‘d like to thank Michel Kabay who has given me extremely valuable advice and pointed out some mistakes in the initial posts and pages of this blog. One of his essays will be one of the most important sources for upcoming work, so watch out for news in the “sources” page.