Great points - thanks for posting this. I also work in tech (specifically social media).
I think what's needed is a happy medium. There's certainly strong arguments both ways - I think at the moment, we're leaning a bit too far on the "people get away with whatever they want" side. Definitely agree that from a government standpoint, it could get scary, and the "law breakers don't play by the rules" argument is certain applicable here.
I think it's a bit lazy to say that hackers are the only innovation - suggesting that only unlawful computing advances the industry seems like an excuse.
certainly people need to be accountable for their actions whether in real life or online, but I'd be seriously concerned that attempting to do away with some of the anonymity in the name of more accountability would also inadvertently do away with some of the benefits of anonymity, and that's not a sacrifice I'd be willing to make.
and sure hackers aren't the only
reason for innovation, but without people trying to crack software or break into your website, people are a lot lazier about security. I'd argue that hackers (even the bad ones) are a net gain for the industry as a whole.
also as an aside, I get your argument for using your picture as your avatar, but isn't that what the profile picture is already for? I have no qualms about posting my picture online (hence having a profile picture of myself) but having your avatar be a picture of yourself always gave off sort of a self-absorbed vibe (not saying that's the case for you, just generally speaking it has always seemed weird--not just on AP either, any forum with avatars).