At the European Identity Conference 2010 in Munich I presented some first thoughts resulting from this project . The presentation led to a discussion. Some of the questions posed there by the attendants will be of interest for the ongoing research:
- Venice was a small community. Does an anonymity concept like the one represented by the Bauta disguise only function in a (nearly) closed system like the one of the Venetian society? Is the internet itself a closed system or an open system? Perhaps the Bauta concept may have more in common with the anonymity and pseudonymity concepts of platforms like the internet imageboards than with the internet itself.
- Was it really a good anonymity device? The user of the Bauta could not hide height and weight and voice.
- It was easy to unmask the user of a Bauta If something went wrong. Isn’t it far more difficult to unmask an anonymous internet user?
- To develop a device like the Bauta, the Venetians must have felt the necessity of anonymity. Given that most internet users today still believe that they act more or less anonymously in the internet, may this be the reason that there is not so much interest in anonymity solutions today?
- The Bauta gave its user the identity of a true Venetian citizen without revealing many personal details. Would it be possible use identity devices like the new German digital identity card in a way like that?
- If necessary, the user of the Bauta could reveal a little bit more of his or her identity by abandoning parts of the disguise. How do you transfer this to the internet environment?
- Can the real environment of the Venetian city really be compared the virtual one of the Internet?
A lot of questions to think about, thanks again to all the participants!