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Anonymity vs. Confidentiality

While dealing with data handling, the terms anonymity and confidentiality are often misinterpreted or somewhat confused. They are entirely different in their sense though they seem to be similar. In the background of protecting people, distinguishing each of these terms and knowing them well helps a lot. However, there is a common aspect that is shared by both of them. Both of these helps to restrict the data that can be accessed by other people.

If you have been longing to understand the real difference between these terms, this article might probably help. This article also sheds light on the consequences of the after-effects that you can anticipate once you reveal personal data to the public.

Confidentiality

One of the significant activities where the term confidentiality has paramount importance is ‘research.’ Often, many kinds of research and studies demand the active participation of many individuals. They are required to share some of their personal information with the concerned people. This data also plays a significant role in how the results are weaved.

Though the outcome of the participation is made known to the public, not many are given the access to the data that brings out the link between the participant’s personal information and the corresponding results that followed.

This is a common scenario of confidentiality. Here, the person’s identity is only made known to a few people. Also, the link that connects an activity and the individual remains concealed. The sense of confidentiality is not the same in other fields. The rules that govern the same are different. However, considering the emergency and the needs that the situation demands, these rules of confidentiality can be varied.

Pros

  • Protecting sensitive information is possible.

  • It helps a lot in the field of business as the marketers can choose the type, kind, and nature of the information that can be put out.

  • There are specific fields where the data that has been kept confidential can help to save even the life of a person provided the possibility of breaching is allowed by the situation. This is true in fields like medicine.

Cons

  • The term confidentiality might not be well taken by the consumer of a product or a service as they do not get the full access to the complete information regarding the service or the product.

  • Not always can the secrecy of the information can be guaranteed,. There are possibilities wheel the data might get leaked. The consequences that follow might be quite hazardous. Also, one cannot wholly contradict the chances of the data being revealed. In most cases, this might pose great danger.

Anonymity

Anonymity refers to the scenario where the identity of the person is unknown. The consequence that follows is that the connection between an activity and the individual involved cannot be traced. Thus, it can be understood that whatever be the acts and deeds of the person, once things are kept anonymous, these cannot be traced back to those individuals.

Pros

  • People often fear out in expressing themselves in many platforms since they are liable to criticisms and judgments. But being anonymous, you can feel free, and the above problems need not affect you.

  • You can start conversations and share information without bearing any fear of getting discovered. Even if something goes wrong due to your actions, you will not be affected in anyways as you will not be held responsible for the grievances.

  • You can courageously explore the internet and form new connections. You can choose to portray yourself online and be the person of your wish. Anonymity offers you complete freedom to explore in your way and finally discover your tastes.

  • The act of Browsing over the internet by being anonymous helps to gain your safety assurances. As your identity remains hidden, none can further discover nor trace your actions on the internet.

Cons

  • Though making new friends online is easy and fun, the past incidents throw light into the possibility of yourselves getting addicted to those people on the internet that you never know in person in reality.

  • Being anonymous makes the person talk the way they want. Consequently, telling lies will not seem offensive or hazardous to these people. Thus, myths are prevalent from anonymous accounts. There is a common belief that you need not hide yourselves until you are doing something wrong.

  • The freedom to say or post anything by being anonymous makes them misuse the chance. This is more prominent in the online platforms. The confidence of not being discovered makes them bully someone over the internet.

Final verdict

Both anonymity and confidentiality are essential while dealing with data handling. Distinguishing them accurately and utilizing them well is the essence of safe online and offline activities in the case of data handling. It can guide you to build a safer world. If you are still not sure about both there lots of great articles and debates online on sites like HuffPost which will help you get one step closer to Understanding.

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