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Glossary » accountability


the principle that in many multi-user situations, someone must be identifiable in order to take responsibility for actions or for decisions. In these cases, anonymity is not always effective or achievable (though users may be anonymous to other users while identifiable to the system).

Someone usually needs to be accountable when safety or security issues are prominent, or when financial commitments must be made. Usually, users must be identifiable enough in order to be held accountable in any situation where someone’s rights may be violated. Accountability needs to be handled carefully to ensure that users can still maintain an appropriate level of privacy in their use of a system.