Anonymity is the property that a person, a group, an institution or an active structure can not be identified. Conceptually, the is synonymous with anonymous partly incognito, otherwise we speak German of unknown.

Importance contents

Anonymity ( anonymos Greek ανώνυμος, nameless ' ) includes the intangibility of the assignment through to deliberate secrecy. She is also a refuge for many democratic processes. The secrecy of the ballot is constitutionally guaranteed.

Incognito comes from Italian, and in turn from Latin incognitus ( unknown ' to cognoscere, know, know '). It refers to the intentional unrecognized occurrence of a person, especially a prominent personality in a more informal situation.

In Dokumentationswesen a plethora of terms are used to describe the obscurity of the person:

  • Noun nominandum (Latin for: the name is yet to name ', abbreviated to NN ') in source data, the organizational nature and similar contexts
  • Anonymus, or anonymous, for authorship - can be reversed to an unknown person mooring, forgives you Notnamen, perhaps in the form master of "place" or master of the " plant ", or it is spoken by workshop or student of the « master »
  • In the literature are employed O.A. Without author '
  • Sine nomine or sn, no name, no publisher, no publisher, sine loco, sl, with no place in bibliographies and library catalogs.
  • Perpetrator is unknown or complaint against unknown in criminology and in the legal system
  • Addressee unknown in the postal sector
  • In military affairs one speaks of the tomb of the unknown soldier
  • In American literature, John Doe is used

Related to this is the pseudonym of a self-selected art name that is used to maintain anonymity.

Degrees of anonymity

In everyday life, anonymity is hardly possible within a limited social structure. At the level of anonymity plays a central role, how it is possible to infer an identity.

The Internet is often described as an anonymous communication platform. This is in practice - without special precautions - but hardly the case. Most Internet users feel subjectively surfing and Lots anonymous and unobserved. They usually do not suspect it, how many tracks they leave behind, due in part to their person recyclable (identification ) are. The so-called IP address of the Internet user is (for example, when accessing internet sites on the web ) logged by countless computers. In addition, unencrypted information in the network are quasi public because incalculably many people and protocol mechanisms, the computer read the contents, save, copy, and can pass on.

See the main article anonymity on the Internet

Anonymity levels in the statistics

In the field of statistics, the following stages of anonymization of data sets can be distinguished