Anonymity was the gift that was going to give everyone a voice, free from the oversight of institutions and government control.   Democratic, and empowering, it was to be a world that would  liberate us all. Yet critics claim the dream  has turned into a nightmare.  For the anonymous world turns out to be one full of abuse, division and wild conspiracy.  In addition, many contend that the dark side of the anonymous web has infected real world personal and public life  undermining social cohesion, communication and personal well being.  

Is it essential that we end anonymity now if we are to arrest the growing tensions in our culture?  Are the financial benefits of anonymity to the web giants so great, and the short term pleasures it offers so addictive, that this cannot be achieved?  Are we as a result snared in a downward spiral from which there is no escape, or can we find a way to return to the original dream?   

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