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Opinion: Online Anonymity Isn’t So Achievable Anymore


December 12, 2011

In a column for The New York Times, Nick Bilton describes how easily a supposedly anonymous Web user can be identified. Bilton recently uploaded images to a photo-sharing app, eliciting comments from a stranger. But it took Bilton only 10 minutes to piece together bits of the stranger's personal information online to identify her full name, phone number, home address and place of employment. Privacy expert Elizabeth Stark of Stanford University said, "Previously you could have searched every photo on the Internet for a photo of Nick Bilton until you eventually found one, but that would take a lifetime. Now, facial recognition software can return more images about someone instantly." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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