As many have learned to their great dismay, anonymity over the Internet is much more difficult to attain than it appears. Even the author of the “Underneath Their Robes” Web log, before he was voluntarily unmasked in The New Yorker, had unwittingly revealed his true identity to “some tech�savvy readers,” according to a recent profile of the site’s author, David B. Lat, in The New York Times.

With only a moderate amount of technological savvy, someone can sign up for a free e�mail account or launch a blog using a pseudonym. But if that person then uses the e�mail account to try to draw attention to the new blog, the e�mails likely will disclose the sender’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, a unique identifier revealing where the sender is located. And the blog’s hosting service may likewise record the IP address of the blog’s author, allowing a disgruntled reader to subpoena the hosting service in the hope of discovering the author’s identity.

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