One of the costs of false identities is when the false identity is somehow proven false (patently does not exist, as opposed to is not a persistent identity) all digital assets, trace, and reputation of that virtual person might end up destroyed. And you see, it's the people who might be classic candidates for it who will be utterly destroyed with out recourse, the further into the Internet age we go, as they are most likely to thrive quietly, productively, behind pseudonyms.
Imagine if you were one of these people who had a zillion videos on youtube that a multiple of zillions of folks out there had links to, picasa albums, gmail, and g+, and suddenly Google decides you are not real, and it all disappears poof
! So saying "I am the author Mark Twain" or "I am the artist Andy Warhol" might not work for you so well here.
Particularly consider the case of the poor schmuck Andy Warhol. Not only is he operating under a false identity, but the guy is in violation of a bunch of corporate trademarks, has abused the likenesses of a number of celebrities, and has slandered a number of very powerful people. He's never getting his digital shite back.
If only he had put his name down on G+ as Andrew Warhola. But nooooooo....
Now, consider the more celebrated and famous Andy Warhol. Things went very different for him, because he is a celebrity and a brand, and his commentary on the cult of celebrity and intellectual property was so far ahead of most artistic expression. Totally viral. Got lots of ad clickage. Yuh.
But struggling artist, dissident, blogger, gay, left, libertarian, right, purple, star-bellied, whatever kind of geek or freak Andy? Toast.
If you ask folks like HRW, GVO, RSF, or Amnesty or any of that range of folks, you will hear as many of these stories as you care to hear from communities with smaller language groups and state owned telecoms, in particular. But I imagine it scales.
Even if Google eventually agrees to a TOS that says they get your government ID and the public sees only the pseudonym, that doesn't protect you from the interference of governments in any country Google has operations in, I would imagine. They are really better off not requiring that information, regardless of value.
It will only take a few arrests or disappearances for edge effects to be dramatic.
How many times have the geek community, civil libertarians, libertarians, risen up against a universal ID system in a single country? And here we have a nice system that promises to span borders and wants to be the online social infrastructure of...everything.
It's so much better if they just figure out some baysian way to deal with hooligan pseudonymity, so the rest of us can manage persistent reputations without having to make "Don't be Evil" any more newspeak than it has to be.
I just question if this is about civility. Corporations don't generally put civility ahead of this much pain.
Besides, Eric could probably tell you, at least some 35 years ago, he'd probably have been happy to go into a restaurant with a shirtless Shava. (Would I have really? Hmmm....) What is +Vic Gundotra
's problem? :)