Anonymity is a very important issue in the context of terrorism and the Internet and will be on the agenda for the Internet track of the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security that I am co-organizing. This is also an important issue in the context of ICANN's position on the importance of privacy and the whois database (the database of domain name owners and contact points). I still believe that there are definitely costs to anonymity, but stifling anonymous speech is a huge cost to democracy.Donna Wentworth @ CopyfightYour ISP Knows You're a Dog
Fred von Lohmann, in a Law.com column on the importance of preserving anonymous speech on the Internet: "[R]emember, on the Internet, your ISP knows you're a dog, and your adversary is only a subpoena away from compromising your constitutionally protected right to bark anonymously."
It's not only the EFF and people like myself who believe in anonymous free speech. The American Association for the Advancement of Science came out on the side of anonymity and said that, "this is not a fruitful area of regulation for now or in the future." Of course this was back in 1999. (Wired article on this report) As Fred says in his article, the founding fathers of the US published the Federalist Papers anonymously and were acutely aware of the necessity of protecting anonymity and tried to build that into the constitution. Today we are all chipping away at this right with the fear of copyright infringement, terrorism, child pornography and a variety of boogymen leading the charge.