October 26, 2021 | BBC Sunday Morning Live

Can we make the internet safer? Sasha Havlicek on cautions behind ending online anonymity

ISD’s CEO, Sasha Havlicek, participated in a discussion on BBC’s Sunday Morning Live centred around the UK government’s response to MP David Amess’ killing, as many call for the end of online anonymity and a crackdown on social media abuse toward public figures. Havlicek brings up some important cautions to consider when setting a precedent of this magnitude citing that in many countries whistleblowers and advocates of democracy rely on anonymity to mobilise.

“We have to be very careful that whatever measures we put in place, whatever regulation we have, supports human rights. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t go the authoritarian route,” Havlicek says.

When asked about cutting away anonymity, Havlicek expressed that “we’ve got other ways to do this and to do this right.”

“If we cut the ability for people to post anonymously around the world, we stop the ability of advocates of freedom, advocates of democracy, in places which face terrible persecution by governments to have the ability to mobilise. And that civic activism, of course, is something this country, democratic countries, want to support.”

Havlicek emphasized the need for addressing amplification, another major underlying problem on social media platforms that have repeatedly failed at enforcing their own guidelines, pushing “bad content” on to vulnerable people’s timelines.

To watch the full programming click here.