Two thinkers I follow and respect, @jonhaidt and @profgalloway, are now advocating the need of some kind of ID for users of online social media. It’s an idea I always found intuitively repellent, and I fear the negative consequences that would have — but their arguments in favour are making me doubt.

It seems to me that their position dangerously underestimates the threat posed by big tech surveillance. They would lead us straight into the dystopian world of “Little brother” or similar books.

@tripu It looks like these thinkers don't know about decentralized IDs such as Bright ID ( or Proof Of Humanity (

If anyone wants to live in a centralized authoritarian dystopia they can move to China today, no need to wait!


But those projects are extremely niche and haven’t been tested with a significant no. of users for long enough yet, right?

Re China: it doesn’t have to be either/or. Can’t we imagine using IDs in social networks without the West devolving into “a centralized authoritarian dystopia”? We didn’t have a centralized authoritarian dystopia before social networks with plenty of ID everywhere, and we don’t have one now — it’s not clear that introducing IDs online now would inevitably lead to a centralized authoritarian dystopia. I say at least let’s be open to the idea.

@tripu Of course decentralized unique IDs are a new thing, but they should be given strong consideration before throwing us into the panopticon of Big Brother.

I strongly oppose more state control because it's not just the likelihood of a dystopian future, but that multiplied by the harm it would cause. Not worth the risk.

@tripu By the way, what a load of bullshit in the article's section about KYC:

> The success of KYC proves we can build secure systems to confirm that a real live human is attached to every online identity, and to provide recourse if that human breaks the law.

Oooooh, the "law", what a laugh.

Just two links:

And a bonus in case someone forgot about 2008:

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