Sure, this is no big secret. The very design of the Internet allows us to connect with people in far away places without every talking or seeing each other. The entire design was put in place for this purpose, although mostly for military and national security information sharing, I believe. Then the universities started to utilize it, as they have vast amounts of information they are trying to share. And then business and the rest of us got in on the game. But along with the opportunity for large scale information dissemination came the phenomenon of anonymity.
As the Internet has gained popularity, we've seen some of the destructive power this anonymity seems to give people. Take, for example, the extreme levels of spam and hacking that are currently tracing their packetly paths around the web as I write these very sentences. I've studied the logs and no doubt there is a robot program slamming into my firewall right now (getting the appropriate "no response" I hope). People devote large amounts of time into building programs and machines with the sole purpose of destroying other people's programs and machines. I wonder, would these people be doing such malicious things if they had to stand in front of the person their actions harm? I doubt it. We all learned this as children. We'd do something stupid or harmful with our friends and then scream "RUN." Why? Two reasons: a) we didn't want to face the consequences of what we'd just done and b) we knew we would be embarrassed by the judgment of adults should they connect the behaviors with our faces. We were particularly concerned with how our parents would respond.
So here we are in the Internet age, with vast resources at our fingertips, in our houses, available 24 x 7. And many have decided that this is an opportunity to do evil deeds without needing to "RUN." Speaking sociologically, what an interesting situation. One that we have never encountered before. Are these people simply motivated by financial gain or is there some larger psychology at work here. Perhaps this is the opportunity to behave as children in a consequence-free environment?
Regardless, I'd like to think that our technology is evolving such that we will continue to have the wonderful benefits that have come from this incredible invention with the reasonable expectation that we will all behave as adults. I see signs this is coming. The increasing popularity of encryption, host site validation and identity verification are among the positive signs I see.