Friday, April 9, 2010

Anonymity and the FBI

I am a longtime reader of the MoHo blogosphere but never a contributor for one simple reason: paranoia of leaving an electronic trail.

In this life, I have been blessed with a natural and innate understanding of technology. With that comes the burden and knowledge that nothing you do online is ever anonymous.

Because of Internet providers, tracking software and Google, I know that any anonymous posting can essentially be tracked back to the computer used to post it if you have the time and resources.

I was utterly convinced that if I posted anything on a MoHo blog, it would give me up and the FBI would be seconds away from breaking down the front door and hauling me away.

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but I was sure that my communications would be catalogued somewhere and used against me at a later date. I didn't know if ever wanted to do something in the public eye or run for office one day so I kept my distance.

I made certain that every trip online was followed by a good scrubbing of my history, Internet cache and cookies with the occasional use of a scrambler to hide my computer's IP address.

Looking back, I can see that my efforts to maintain my anonymity were a way of protecting the divide between the two worlds I live in concurrently. Ultimately, I was frightened to death if my parents found out. Still am.

So what has changed? Why am I posting here and now?

I was tired of living in the shadows, silently celebrating your triumphs and accomplishments and quietly mourning your trials, setbacks and sufferings. I wanted to participate. I wanted to share and be part of the community that I had so much in common with.

And I eventually realized that if someone had the time and resources to track my anonymous postings on a MoHo blog back to me, there were worse things they would find than a journal of boyhood angst and misunderstanding.

So to the clerical assistant in the dark suit with an earpiece sitting in the desk chair reading this post in a musty underground office at FBI headquarters, feel free to put this in my file under “Harmless Ramblings - Possible Future Blackmail.”


  1. noted

    BTW welcome to BLogging, look forward to reading what you post

  2. Welcome to the MOHO community! May you realize that the paranoia is tiring and being able to share your thoughts, feelings, frustrations, joys, etc. even in an anonymous blog, is very liberating... even if slightly possible to be used for "future blackmail".

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I really hope this blog doesn't come back to haunt me, but for now I think it is worth the risk. Just putting it together after what seemed like years of thinking I should has been refreshing.

  4. Hmmm...I was going to post stuff on here about how excited I am to have you join us...but then the term "join us" sounded really creepy, so I decided not congratulate you on joining us.


    Anyway, welcome! I really like your blog image. Nice job.

  5. Welcome. Another new voice. Always a good thing.