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EPFL IRGC Spotlight on risk: Using “Proof of personhood” to tackle social media risks

“Spotlight on risk” is an International Risk Governance Center (IRGC) series of short articles that looks at current events and issues through a risk governance lens.

On March 15, 2021, IRGC deputy director Aengus Collins and EPFL computer science professor Bryan Ford co-authored a piece looking at the tension between online anonymity and accountability, and the societal risks it leads to. The article, entitled “Using “Proof of personhood” to tackle social media risks”, outlines one low-tech proposal for resolving this tension, in-person events called “pseudonym parties”, where attendees are issued with anonymous digital tokens. These tokens can be used to demonstrate that an online account is linked to a unique person, but without requiring them to reveal their identity.

You can read this article online or download PDF.

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