Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Dark Veil of Anonymity....

"The mind can never again fit back to its original proportions once it's been stretched by a new idea."

I was sitting on the internet not too long ago thinking to myself, 'Isn't it a fantastic thing that we have these blogs now?' I mean, what an amazing concept... Internet goers have been given the privilege - nay, the POWER to write what they want, when they want, to an audience of unfathomable proportions. This 'upgraded' feature to our online lives can be extremely entertaining and educative for all when used properly, much like it has been with Beatles on the Moon. But sometimes, more often than not, the amazing limitless power of internet blogging falls into the hands of the numbingly dumb Neanderthal scum, and this amazing limitless power is completely abused, turning blogging into one of the most potentially dangerous tools used on the net today.
For example:
My father is and has been a prominent lawyer in Papua New Guinea for 20 years. He has built up a glowing reputation through almost 20,000 cases for numerous politicians and national leaders. This has advanced him to the point of owning his own legal firm, with regular clientele coming back again and again to receive the same outstanding legal service they know they're going to get. But not 3 weeks ago, a blog was posted on the Crime and Corruption PNG website accusing him of conspiring with one of his clients to steal millions from the government of Papua New Guinea.
The accusation came from a twenty-something dead head living in the USA who was hiding behind an anonymous alter-ego, and believe it or not, after many impressionable minds had logged on to the website, this accusation was published in the country's daily newspaper.
As you can imagine, my Dad's reputation was shot to hell.
Knowing my Dad for quite some time (since birth to be precise), I can tell you he was completely innocent. The blogger had found two separate pages of unrelated legal documents, stuck them together and called it proof.
Greg Sheppard's reputation, which had taken him over 20 years of hard work to achieve, was tainted in seconds by a slimy little internet rat who didn't have any idea of what he was talking about. Not to mention the numerous death threats he received after hundreds of thousands of people read the damaging false information.
Now, I'm sure most of you people reading this are aware that defamation of character is a serious crime against someone's good nature. But even after my father had finally cleared his name with the Police and the rest of Papua New Guinea, he couldn't find the person responsible because the name he had been using on the blog was false.
So the question I pose to you is this:
Should anonymous internet blogging be a thing of the past? Do we now need to be putting our real names at every bottom of every page? It should never have to come to that, but as with all of the few TRUE liberties the public are given, one stupid idiot ruins it all.
I believe that what has happened to my father is a grave warning for what's to come as more and more of the idiotic population realise the power they can wield underneath their fingertips.

- George Sheppard


  1. Russell "Anonymous" GillApril 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Man that sucks - they have that saying all publicity is good publicity but I don't think it applies to allegations against a lawyer. I guess when people are put in the spotlight through their profession, there are losers everywhere who become jealous and want to bring them down, it's human nature - and it sucks that it happened to your old man.

    Regarding taking away anonymity from the internet, that's borderlining censorship, and we all know what our red friend thinks about that. But you make a good point and something worth thinking about. Nice first article GS.

    - Russell Gill

  2. Man that really sucks about your dad. But at least he had his 20 yr rep to back him up.

    What I take from this is that the anonymity on the net provides just a new way for people to be dickheads. There have always been bad people out there, people out to ruin/slander others, the internet provides new ways to do that. By the same token, the internet has provided new ways for people to do good, new ways for people to express themselves creatively etc. You have to take the good with the bad I spose.

  3. Interesting story 'George'...if that is your real name

  4. Well written article! You raise some good points about our modern internet culture. It's great that anyone's voice has the chance to be heard by potentially thousands of people, but let's be honest here-some people are idiots! You only have to look at the comment section on a youtube post to see that. It's so easy to say nasty, vindictive things when you have a computer and an anonymous screen name to hide behind.

  5. Thats exactly right! It shits me to tears to think that some really important laws can so easily be brushed over just because some dumb pimply gimp bought a modem... but youre right Hamish, you gotta take the good with the bad. I just wish there was a way to silence the stupid. No one benefits from their idiocy being published. In fact I'm certain it spreads the stupidity and creates more idiots. Anyways, i can tell I'm working myself up again. I'll save it for the next article... haha. Thanks for the feedback guys!