The lifting of anonymity on social networks is still demanded by a deputy

In Parliament, a deputy questioned Cédric O on the recurring subject of anonymity on social networks. And on the need to limit its scope.

Once again, the subject of anonymity on social networks is invited to Parliament. On July 13, 2021, the deputy Jean-Philippe Ardouin addressed a written question to Cédric O, the Secretary of State in charge of the digital transition and electronic communications, to ask him to work so as to be able to know without delay the identity of Internet users when they publish online.

The request of the parliamentarian, member of La République en Marche, has not yet received a response from the person concerned. She argues nonetheless by emphasizing the persistence of all kinds of abuses – anti-Semitic, xenophobic, homophobic and anti-republican – on these platforms, which are taking place ” mainly on condition of anonymity », And which can sometimes lead to suicide.

National Assembly
Regularly, the subject comes back to Parliament. // Source: Richard Ying

We can no longer tolerate people being the target of violent, organized, grouped and regular attacks from these pseudonymous accounts. Among the many victims of these intolerable acts, too many minors commit suicide as a result of these digital smear campaigns for which the culprits cannot be found. », Writes the elected representative of Charente-Maritime.

In his question, the deputy knows that digital platforms de facto hold data making it possible to find an Internet user – for example, an IP address which, with the help of access providers, makes it possible to find the holder of a Internet subscription and, as part of an investigation, to determine who in the household is the source of which disputed message.

An account confirmation with his identity card?

However, the parliamentarian suggests that this approach has reached its limits. In any case, these data ” are not enough to curb this major problem “. From then on, it is in his eyes ” necessary that the State impose rules of knowledge of users “, So as to counter a phenomenon” which is likely to amplify “. He cites the example of Arjel for betting, which must know the identity of the players.

For the deputy, this mechanism could be applied to social networks by putting in the loop the future regulatory authority for digital audiovisual communication (Arcom), which will result from the merger between the CSA and the Hadopi, and which will act in particular against piracy on the Internet. Arcom could, argues Mr. Ardouin, authenticate Internet users ” by requiring an account confirmation with his identity card “.

National Identity Card
national identity card // Source: Ministry of the Interior

On these issues, it turns out that Cédric O has already partially answered, showing his perplexity. ” Anonymity is not at the heart of the problem. […] If everyone was under their real name, we would not know how to manage the virality and the massification of the contents anyway. “. He was speaking in an online hate discussion, one of the themes of the Republican Principles Bill.

Earlier this year, parliamentarians also questioned online anonymity. An amendment to this bill proposed to reflect on the issue, with the submission of an information report on the feasibility and consequences of such a shift, six months after the text was promulgated. However, it will not see the light of day, the amendment having been rejected during the debates.

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