Topics: The New Yorker Radio Hour - WNYC
“On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog” is an idiom popularized by a cartoon in The New Yorker, which has come to illustrate an understanding about the way privacy and anonymity work on the Internet.
The New Yorker  published a cartoon by artist Peter Steiner on July 5th, 1993, which featured an illustration of a dog seated at a computer telling his canine companion that “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” (shown below). Years later on December 14th, 2000, The New York Times  published an interview with Steiner in an article titled “Cartoon Captures Spirit of the Internet,” noting that the cartoon did not receive much attention initially, but steadily grew in popularity over many years.
On December 6th, 1993, Mitch Kapor, the founder of the spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3, was quoted in a Time Magazine  article as saying that the New Yorker cartoon was a sign that interest in the Internet had reached “critical mass.” In 1995, the cartoon inspired the play Nobody Knows I’m a Dog by Alan David Perkins (shown below),  which told the story of six people who find courage on the anonymous Internet.