Do you know who wrote this?

Hands on keyboard

The web is full of angry people keen to shout down anyone who disagrees with their views on anything from the England football team to their choice of smartphone. And wherever you go, from forums for mothers to newspaper websites, overheated opinionated orators have one thing in common - they hide behind anonymous identities.

But what if some fiendishly clever internet virus suddenly unmasked each and every one of them, so that you discovered that the person calling for the public stoning of unruly kids was actually the mild-mannered spinster across the road?

That is the scenario behind Do You Know Who Wrote This?, a comedy by Jonathan Myerson which you can hear on Radio 4. He has written about the serious issues which inspired this light-hearted drama here.

But be warned, the play features a rank amateur. The part of the BBC's technology correspondent is played by... err, me.

I was in France on holiday when the play was recorded, so we figured out a rather ramshackle way of allowing me to participate. With the other actors speaking their lines via my phone's loudspeaker, I sat in our Breton holiday cottage recording my contribution onto a tablet computer.

Later, I set off to find a good enough 3G signal to send my recordings back to the producer in London. So if the quality of my audio is not up to scratch, that is my fault.

Anyway, do tune in this afternoon if you can. And if you want to add some anonymous insulting comments about my acting at the bottom of this blog, be careful - the truth virus could catch you out.

Listen to Rory Cellan-Jones take part in Do You Know Who Wrote This? on Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4 at 14:15 BST on 29 August.

Rory Cellan-Jones Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Don't forget though, it is someone's right to remain anonymous; that does not mean they can hide behind that while they start flame wars, which i might add any good forums have decent moderators who will ask them to be polit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Lastly, as many recent cases have demonstrated, anonymity is not an obstacle to prosecution. Sadly, it has also been demonstrated that populism can influence any debate; a recent tweeter discovered this by making a statement that was in poor taste yet broke no law, but he was still visited by police officers.

    The law is reason free from passion (Aristotle).

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Hardly a day would pass in our media without a

    "keep yourself anonymous!"
    "protect your online identity from fraud!"

    This was to protect us from the criminals at the bottom of the tree

    The game has changed

    The criminals at the TOP of the tree want to know who you are now

    So now your anonymity is bad and media articles will be skewed to reflect this change in policy

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    @14 Megan

    You have put a name to your post however, I have no way of knowing if Megan is your real name. If it is, I have no way of knowing which Megan, out of all the people in the world with the name Megan, you are. Therefore I have no way of assessing the value of your contribution and for that reason alone, you have lost any credibility that you may (or may not) have had ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    27 Under-Used

    If you're referring to the Tom Daley case, it's worth noting that, although the original tweet didn't break any law, it was only after subsequent tweets, which did break the law, that the sender was visited by the police. (Whether it was necessary to turn up mob-handed at silly o'clock in the morning is another matter!)


Comments 5 of 52



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