Google+ caught some flak for its strict real-names policy when it launched. Users who tried to sign up under their hip web handles had their profiles shut down; when that caused an uproar, Google+ said it would give users four days of warning. Locally, blogger-veterans Anil Dash and Scott Beale spoke out against the policy. Then Microsoft researcher and blogger Danah Boyd, who prefers to be referred to as danah boyd, or ‘zephoria,’ the name that got her into a tiff with Tumblr, wrote “Real Names’ Policies Are an Abuse of Power,” explaining how anonymity on the web protects important discourse from minorities, victims and those with other incentives not to speak. “Personally, I’m ecstatic to see this much outrage” over Google’s harsh real-name policy on Google+, she said at the time. Read More
Can I See Some ID
Maybe you should take it easy on the second helpings at Thanksgiving. CNET has gotten its hands on a statement that’s supposed to be delivered by the Justice Department today that would make things like using a fake name on Facebook or entering a false weight on Match.com a crime. Salman Rushdie, we hope you’re paying attention.
In the statement, the DOJ argues that the agency needs to be able to prosecute violations of a website’s “terms of service” policy. While it opens users up to potentially frivolous violations, the DOJ says scaling back the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), “would make it difficult or impossible to deter and address serious insider threats through prosecution,” such as identity theft, privacy invasions, or abuse of government databases. Read More
Yesterday afternoon Christopher Poole dropped some pseudonymous knowledge on the audience at the Web 2.0 Summit. The founder of 4chan and Canvas revisited speeches on online identity he gave at TED or event SXSW earlier this year, but this one “hit harder” says ReadWriteWeb.
In fact, it hit Facebook and Google.
“Google and Facebook would have you believe that you’re a mirror,” he told the crowd, “but in fact, we’re more like diamonds.” Read More
On Reddit, no one knows you’re a dog. An “ask me anything” request for a police officer assigned to work at Occupy Wall Street made it to the front page of that popular subreddit and last night, someone using the handle “nypdcop” came forward to answer it. Woohoo! The user even gave the incendiary answers protest-sympathetic Redditors were thirsting for: “I have seen a lot of questionable police tactics while working these protests and just everyday of the job. It’s just more people are here filming so it’s getting published more. This kind of stuff happens everyday. IE: The pepper spraying incident, etc.” Read More
You can probably guess how the star of a documentary called The Right To Be Left Alone feels about the arguments over using pseudonyms online, especially since many of his customers may prefer some measure of privacy when receiving their monthly shipment. But that doesn’t make Larry Flynt’s terse foray into the online identity debate, which appeared today on the Huffington Post, any less amusing: Read More
After much internal deliberation, Google+ responded to the pseudonymous discontents, many of whom are in New York, last night. It wasn’t quite the answer they wanted. “One of the things we strive for on Google+ is to make connecting with people on the web more like connecting with people in the real world,” product manager Saurabh Sharma said in a G+ post. “So as part of this effort, we’ve asked that those signing up for the service use the name they commonly go by in the real world.” Read More
Look out, Brad Horowitz–the masses are organizing. Self-styled Doctor Popular, a game designer and blogger in San Francisco, was banned on Google+ two weeks ago for registering under his pseudonym. Trouble is, Google+ is now so integrated that its interrupted his use of other services: “I can’t access G+, or back it up using their “Data Liberation” thing. Also can’t use Reader anymore, which sucks because that’s my favorite social site, but Gmail still works for the time being.” That was two weeks ago. Tonight Mr. Popular is organizing a meetup in the Mission for fellow Google+ rejects.