1. Guest Posts now allowed in Tech Support and Book Announcement Boards. These posts are moderated before going live, so allow 24 hours for them to appear, or create an account.
    Dismiss Notice

Article: UK Govt to kill Pen Names?

Discussion in 'Writer's Lounge' started by Reader, October 22, 2021.

  1. Reader

    Reader Vile Critic

    The UK Government has recently announced theat they believe all social media and online actions should take place under a person's real identity. (If you do not see the problem with this, then I trust you announce your name, date of birth, NI Number, and address to everyone you pass on the street. That is what can be found from your name and online location, more enough to sign you up for a credit card, etc.)

    I see the government wants to put at risk every person who has taken out a restraining order against a violent ex. Any person who has fled domestic abuse to start up a new life. Any child who needs help fleeing abusive parents. Any woman who uses her actual name online.

    The problem is not that trolls are anonymous: they aren't. Their names, addresses, locations and identities can be found relatively easily. The problem is that when they are found, nothing is done.

    The killer of David Amess was already known to security services1 and supposed to be monitored by Prevent. Prevent didn't, and an MP died. Removing anonimity would have done nothing in this case. They knew who he was, and did nothing.

    The author Melissa Anelli2 knew the identity of her stalker, but nothing was done until she went against police advice and outed him on tumblr. The authorities knew who he was, but took no action until her fanbase took up arms. Again, they knew who he was, and did nothing.

    When they did, the stalker served her jail sentence, and went straight back to stalking her. 3

    Some sites say they will use the real details, but allow pseudonyumous accounts. Like Patreon, which said they and they alone knew their users' real details - and then leaked the lot7.

    Knowing identities only helps people who are targetting others, never the victims of such targeting.

    KYC has already driven a lot of female and some male authors offline4, after finding out that potential stalkers just need to donate once for Paypal to release their name and home address (US can use DBAs, but not everywhere allows this). Others, who have no intention of breaking the law, are forced to do so to protect the penname5. When some individual decides to kill the husband because the person whose work he follows is "the one" and just needs to be freed because they are really in love with him, not everyone has the police on hand like Princess Anne did6. Being anonymous or pseudonymous is safer for the entire family.

    Just remember, the fans who show up on your doorstep to knife you for killing their favourite character don't give a damn if you know who they are. They are there to commit murder. The only thing that stops them is not knowing where the doorstep is.

    They don't give any warning either.

    Go and read Misery and understand why pseudonymity is essential for an author.


    1 - Sir David Amess latest: Suspect ‘was referred to Prevent counter-terrorism scheme’ before attack
    2 - How do authors respond when they become the victims of stalking? » MobyLives
    3 - https://litreactor.com/columns/crazy-in-love-five-authors-and-their-stalkers
    4 - Having a pen name - PayPal Community
    Can I use my pen name on paypal?
    5 - https://www.offshorecorptalk.com/threads/how-to-hide-real-name-in-paypal-transactions.22740/
    6 - Princess Anne’s Stalker Sentenced After Making Threats to Emergency Dispatch
    7- https://blog.binaryedge.io/2015/10/06/patreon-leak/ Their entire database was dumped online.
  2. Woodscan

    Woodscan Member

    As usual, the government didn't think things through. That, and passing effective laws would require they have a working knowledge of how the internet works. I don't believe that most of them do.
  3. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    It always seems to be a case of something happens and we get another knee-jerk reaction race for a new law.

    If they did some zero-tolerance policing on some of it and got some backing from the courts to make it a little more effective, I don't think we would need these extra laws to be created.
  4. atry

    atry Active Member

    This is another really good reason if you saw it, and it scares me: Real Name or Pen Name? Someone's life was destroyed just because another person did not like what they wrote.
  5. skye

    skye Active Member

    This is not good. The need for privacy and seperation of writer from written is essential for free speech, so long as what's written doesn't break the law.
  6. Post-Life Crisis

    Post-Life Crisis Active Member

  7. jessica

    jessica Citizen of Logres

  8. Reader

    Reader Vile Critic

    They forget that dead authors cannot write what they wish to read.
  9. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    Or because they are not writing in the right way, or even because they are the wrong kind of author.

    In this case, they want the label of reading the right thing from the right author with the right credentials that they can use to get brownie points from their peers (am I still allowed to call them brownie points, ot is that now offensive as well?)

Site Sponsors