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This article in the Atlantic sums up why I thought the whole #nymwars thing was misguided. Remember that face recognition is only going to get better. Pseudonymity is increasingly going to disappear.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/cloud-powered-facial-recognition-is-terrifying/245867/

"In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities."

My thought is that once we accept the new technological reality, we can start coming to grips with what to do about it.

I don't know what to do about it. But I do know that acknowledging a problem is always better than pretending it doesn't exist.
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very scary thoughts, think i need to invest in a good latex mask
 
But #nymwars isn't just about anonymity. While that's important, just as this article acknowledges, there's also the whole matter of being allowed to use on G+ the name you choose to use to present yourself.
 
Having spent a lot of time on the nymwars, I've had much the same worry, until I realized that actually this is what makes online pseudonyms even more critical. Cloud-based facial recognition will cause us to gradually lose privacy in areas we used to think of as private, even though they were semi-public, As it becomes harder and harder for us to speak privately anywhere we might be photographed, it becomes more and more important that the online commons give us the ability to speak without fear of recrimination. Online, we can regain the privacy we are losing offline.
Mike M.
 
Eventually, but it's not implemented or integrated to the point where it's really going to be a major datapoint for social networking and one's choices of what platforms to use or whether or not to even use one.
 
I don't see what automated photograph facial recognition has to do with pseudonyms online. People using pseudonyms online typically aren't attaching a photograph of themselves.
 
+Tegan Dowling Yeah, but lots of the arguments were about the importance of pseudonymity for situations where you don't want your real identity to be known. Sure, there were other use cases, but all the "moral justification" and outrage was around the idea that people need pseudonymity, not just want it.
 
Seems like Google's emphasis on real names just makes it even easier for search ML to link faces to names to other information.
 
This is simply paradigm change in action. It's scary when it happens to you. But remember, this is happening to the bad guys, too. There is no such thing as anonymity; that's an illusion. If you want privacy, start using encryption when you share. That's pretty much always been the bottom line.
 
+Ben McIlwain The point is that eventually, all these things get linked. Jeff Jonas describes it this way: when you have a jigsaw puzzle, the beginning is easy - you just put a piece anywhere on the table. The middle is hard, but at the end it gets easier and easier again, as there are fewer and fewer places to put the remaining pieces. With the growing amount of information online, we're all in the endgame of a massive jigsaw puzzle that will make it trivial to identify all of us.
Mike M.
 
Encryption doesn't provide anonymity. Apples and oranges. I don't think encryption solves the same "problems" or drivers that nymwar participants cite on the pro anonymity side of it.
 
This dismisses the possibility of countermeasures, no?
 
+James Gilmore The good guys don't go around taking pictures of people at bars, looking up their home address, and then waiting for them to get dropped off tipsy by their friends (just to suggest a simple use, because they are being pitched as a way to find out who that cute person is).. The bad guys do. These technologies are disproportionately of use to the bad guys and to authoritarian governments.
 
Is there such a thing call privacy on the Internet? I never did believe so.
 
It would appear so, +Kee Hinckley; and whenever I hear someone advocate that, it's pretty inevitable that they're someone from a majority group with little to fear from expressing their opinion and a big bully pulpit to do it from.

Proclaiming that pseudonymity is dead is HORRIFIC if you have even a touch of empathy or sensitivity.
Mike M.
 
+Tim O'Reilly "The point is that eventually, all these things get linked. " Exactly, and I agree. But I think the "eventually" is a caveat you take too lightly for what happens in between now and the "then" that we know is coming. Various things could even happen with law around facial recognition that still allows nyms even with the technology in place.
 
+Mike M. No, encryption means privacy, not anonymity. And it only means privacy if you use it correctly.
 
The way things currently are doesn't carry any moral weight nor suggest anything about the way things should be.
 
Also, the claim that facial recognition will make pseudonymity moot is kinda odd when the point is people's communication from their own platforms. Unless you think facial recognition is going to be used for identification? (That just raises further problems.)

In any case, any serious privacy expert is going to point out that false positives will be a huge problem with this sort of system. It's already a big problem now.
 
A more fundamental question is, "What are you going to do about it?" It isn't as if DHS agents are going to scan Google+ posts, quake in their boots, and start quoting Ayn Rand.

A century ago, passports were instituted and freedom of travel was very strongly affected. National ID cards (aka 'driver licenses' in the USA), registration of residence with the local police, and now this.

OK. Yeah. It's bad. Privacy is dead.

So, don't smell your fingers after scratching in public.
 
Department of Pre Crime is coming soon.
 
Pseudonymity will only disappear if people want it to disappear. Facial recognition, that's a laugh, I wonder what computers make of my face? But please bare in mind there is a difference between being pseudonymous and anonymous. I am not anonymous therefore my face could be tracked down by humans, but algorithms are far away from being able to connect my name with a fleshy visage. To reiterate the important point: pseudonyms are very different to being anonymous, there is some crossover but a pseudonyms are predominately a creative form of expression; they are also a mild form of personal privacy but they are not the total privacy gesture which anonymity is.

Yes, +Tim O'Reilly all things will eventually be linked but when that happens perhaps there will be less need to pseudonyms. Also the Sun will eventually go supernova but in the meantime we live under a normal Sun.
 
+Kee Hinckley The bad guy could as easily simply follow you home. However, since his "anonymity" is being limited the same way yours is, he is much less likely to get away with stalking you. It works both ways, that's all I'm pointing out.
 
As you can tell from my photo, I walk around with my hand in front of my face. That way, I won't stand out.

#sarcasm
 
+Kee Hinckley: Your point about authoritarianism is well-put. Considering the turns that we've had with both governmental and corporate attitudes towards criticism, do we really want to hand them this sort of power? It's not like the reverse is true: whole sections of democratic governments are hidden from public eyes (to say nothing of dictatorships), and anybody who's read Treasure Islands knows how horribly obscured corporate ownership really is.

People advocating universal transparency need to explain how the hell they're going to enforce transparency on the powerful, before trying to take away the privacy of the powerless. +James Gilmore is precisely wrong. It DOES NOT GO BOTH WAYS.
 
+James Gilmore No, you missed my point. He's taking pictures of me. It doesn't occur to me to take pictures of him, so I have no evidence. He has intent, I don't. And "follow that cab" really doesn't work.
 
+Tim O'Reilly I disagree that "eventually all these things will get linked". I can, at any moment, go and start a new online identity on any number of email services, forums, etc., using an entirely new pseudonym. I have done this before and I will continue to do so in the future for various reasons (typically, it's because of political views or contentious hobbies that I'd rather not have all of my work colleagues and acquaintances knowing about). But I can't go and do this on Google+.
 
Only relevant if you're required to post a picture of your face to your account... many of my friends with nym concerns don't.
 
/me puts on tin foil hat

+James Gilmore your point that the bad guy's anonymity is being reduced simultaneously with their victim's is well taken... except when the bad guy is your government! Do we even have a defense at that point? I see black helicopters and Suburban's in the suburbs! :-)

/me sets tin foil hat aside
 
As long as Pee Wee Herman can be identified seperately from Paul Ruebens in images, I'm OK with this idea. 
 
+Craig Bamford Doesn't it? just search for #OCCUPYWALLSTREET, and you'll see that it does. Ask a cop who got caught on film with his pants around his ankles. Now, the problem is ensuring justice when such things come to the surface. But that's a separate issue.
 
+Kee Hinckley True, but the camera watching the bar entrance caught his mug. The traffic cameras caught his license plate #. It isn't foolproof, but it can work for you as well as against you.
 
+Tim O'Reilly The only picture of myself I have on any social network is this avatar. Unless you count my X-Face on Usenet, which is over 20 years out of date... not to mention being about 100x100 1-bit monochrome.
 
+James Gilmore It can. But I doubt as often. That said, there's not a lot of point to arguing it, because it is coming. I'm more concerned with making sure people have other outlets for speaking publicly about things which deserve public speech.
 
I would love to see demographic data on the correlation between worrying about privacy and choosing to live in North America or Western Europe.

If you don't like Big Brother, learn Spanish or Portuguese and go find a nice village where they don't have cameras on every street corner.
 
You write as though the nymwars are a thing of the past. It's true that many (most?) of the people who cared about the right to choose how they self-identify have been driven off, but not all. It's also a grotesque misrepresentation to equate the right to choose your own moniker solely and only with the desire for anonymity.
 
I think (hope) the more our privacy is compromised by technological advances, the more privacy will be enshrined in protective legislation. I don't think you can have a dynamic, sustainable culture where every action you take can be recorded and identified for someone else to review. We're just not built the way.

The road TO that point, though. Ouch.
 
+Cindy Brown: More likely, more stuff will have to be tolerated, once the watchmen work out how many individuals are up to no good.
 
You can do pretty total surveillance on people now. Whether your peers think the better of you or not for doing so no longer seems to matter. But that's just because the organisations doing such things have no soul to be damned or arse to be kicked.
 
Interesting technology. Of course, this assumes that we post/allow positively identified pictures on Facebook, or elsewhere, or use our real recognizable pictures as avatars.
 
+Charles Evans I'd like to say you were wrong, but somewhere along the line politicians became convinced that this was a solvable problem, when in fact it's like insurance. The more you pay, the more protected you are, but you never reach complete protection.
 
Strong buy: companies who manufacture plastic novelty glasses & mustaches.
 
Anyone who needs pseudonymity, like the pair that just got disemboweled and strung up by a Mexican drug gang for complaining about neighborhood crime, aren't going to be posting pictures of themselves. Beyond that, the inaccuracy rate of this technology is very high, so we should probably be more worried about the false positives. What if you look like someone who complains about Mexican drug gang crime? Are you willing to die for the real names policy?
 
But, this isn't even about posting pics of yourself or not. Your pictures get uploaded by others all the time. Whether it's friends or CCTV/equivalent.
 
The way I see it, the people who should be most freaked out about this are police officers. Not simply because they can be caught on film, but because the criminals can now use these tools to exact revenge. Not only cops, but corrections officers! It would be easy as pie to track down the pretty nurse who always flirted with the inmates. People in law enforcement are crapping themselves over the technology that is out there, actually--at least the ones I know. Corrections officers don't receive enough training to be adequately terrified yet.
 
+Sheldon Davidson: "How will they track my face?"

Through your webcam. BTW, you need a shave.
 
The future is here and guess what... it's pretty creepy.
 
Somewhere Philip K. Dick smiles knowingly.
 
+David Young I think using one's own face in avatars (which isn't even the right name for that -- avatar really does mean it's not YOU in the pic) is only a recent thing.

+James Gilmore One thing that has impressed me is the swing from identifying looters in London by crowdsourcing CCTV footage to identifying bullying police officers/white shirts in the OWS protests. Who watches the watchers -- US. Which is why I think eventually that privacy will reach a legislative level. Yeah in theory you can xref every appearance of you on the 'net, but you'd have to have a warrant to do it... (Just like, hey, the police COULD -- physically -- stomp down your door and search your stuff... but they need a warrant to do it...

It will take some cultural and legislative shifting and may take years or decades, of course.
 
+Tim O'Reilly It's funny how your point in the text was "Pseudonymity" and coming to grips with a "technological reality" and this thread was immediately co-opted by an alarmist, the-sky-is-falling point of view in the comments. This discussion came up in a different post by +Andrea Kuszewski a few days ago and INTERESTINGLY, ALL of the sky-is-falling comments over there have SINCE BEEN DELETED, presumably by their authors but who knows... Take a look over there: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108998673146368660257/posts/UfPvCLe8cry

There were a heck of a lot more than 14 comments there at the time. So many have been deleted that now it looks as if there was no discussion going on.

"...the idea that such technology could be utilized by a tech savvy member of the public towards criminal, fraudulent, or extralegal ends is as alarming as the potential for governmental abuse." — There are LITERALLY dozens of "technologies" that fall under the same umbrella of "extralegal ends", you could say the same about cars, baseball bats, computers, telephones, you-name-it... NONE were designed to ENABLE crime and "the idea" that they would be "utilized by a tech savvy member of the public towards criminal...ends" would APPLY there too. Innocent things are used in crime none-the-less, every day. There is really no story here.
 
Agreed that law enforcement is rightfully scared of this (and just think about those folks who try to work as informers or under cover). Ditto for people trying to escape abusive relationships, and similar situations where there is a significant incentive to attempt to track people down. Time for hats with large brims to become fashionable again.
 
+Kee Hinckley I'm not saying people don't need pseudonyms. I'm just saying that it's going to be increasingly hard to have one without major effort, and even then it may be near impossible. Systems that offer pseudonyms for any reason other than "nicknaming" will eventually just be versions of what +Bruce Schneier has called "security theater."
 
+James Salsman If people are doing things that might get them killed, they are going to take extra steps. But of course that means that you have to plan on that from the beginning, and can't ever change your mind once you have photos posted of you anywhere online. Remember that we're not just talking about the current state of tech, but where it's going.
 
+Henry Edward Hardy I agree. But that process starts with not pretending that a pseudonym as practiced today is worth very much. Remember that this technology looks backward in time, not just at the present. Jeff Jonas' old NORA system (Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness) was all about making connections between the person in the present and past identities and associations.
 
+Alan Wexelblat FWIW, Google's implementation of their "real names" policy (including not allowing nicknames) was surely flawed, and will surely change. They've even indicated ways that they plan to change it. But as I noted above, they had a lot of moral outrage spewed at them on the basis of people's need to keep their identity hidden.
 
+Cindy Brown My thinking exactly. We need to regulate the consequences of (mis)using this information, not the possibility of obtaining it.
 
+Tim O'Reilly If you are talking protections at a governmental/law-enforcement level, I agree. If you're talking about at the level of wanting to talk about my kids problems in school, or my parents issues with Alzheimer's, or my opinions about religion, politics, or sexuality, I don't see a big issue. There is no technical stumbling block, only one created by corporate policies.

Privacy is like security or insurance. It's not black and white, it's a sliding scale where how much you get depends on how much effort/$$ you want to spend. Yes, it's going to be harder and harder for a revolutionary to get a public voice. But that doesn't mean that we should apriori decide that it's okay that a teacher can no longer publicly discuss religion, a government employee can't express their views on politics, and a closeted BDSM "sub" shouldn't be able to debate overly broad domestic abuse laws. And it certainly doesn't mean that we should shut out my Google+ friend who just had to close her Facebook account because her former abuser had started harassing her there. These are people whom Google and other social media sites are perfectly capable of accommodating without reducing the value their company provides to advertisers or customers of their identity services.

As I said above. As "public" privacy becomes more and more scarse, we run a serious risk of losing important voices from our public discussions if we don't continue to provide an outlet online. How would the American Psychiatric Association be forced to address the fact that being gay was not an illness in a Google+ world, where there is no longer a way to give a public talk wearing a mask? (http://j.mp/n7qbuU)
 
+Tim O'Reilly "...Google's implementation of their 'real names' policy (including not allowing nicknames) was surely flawed, and will surely change..." — I couldn't DISAGREE with you more... Using REAL NAMES is INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT and USEFUL in a way that is unfathomable with anonymity. For example, all of a sudden professionals from all-over-the-world, from all fields, across borders, ethnicity, specialties, can converse in a "frictionless", quick, casual and unprecedented way where they MUST be accountable for what they state — as we are doing HERE. I sure hope they DON'T change their real names policy, this thing, Google+, is far-and-away more useful than any other 'social network' the planet has EVER seen.
 
+Tim O'Reilly Thank you for taking the time to respond. What you wrote was "the whole #nymwars thing was misguided" and it was to that I responded. I can certainly agree that many people were upset by the policy and many more by the multiple instances of flawed implementation and enforcement around that policy. I don't share your certainty that the policy will change, nor that Google's upper management realize how alienating the policy and (essentially arbitrary) enforcement are.
 
+Hugo Diaz Nobody has been keeping people from using their real names elsewhere. If you don't want to talk to someone using a pseudonym, then don't. But that's no reason to force everyone else to use their real name when doing so may put their job, family, or life at risk.
 
+Kee Hinckley There are lots of venues for talking online that still have pseudonym policies. It's true that as currently constituted, some people can't use Google+ for some purposes, and that will limit its utility. But real names add other kinds of utility. There are always tradeoffs. And G+'s real names policy is so leaky that if anyone wants to use a pseudonym, they just have to use one that looks like a "real name." Kind of like Apple's original approach to DRM on iTunes. It's signaling, not enforcement.
 
+Tim O'Reilly I agree that the outrage has been a bit higher than warranted. I think there were several aggravating reasons for the it. Inviting pseudonymous beta-testers and then suspending them (with nasty side-effects on other services) certainly didn't help. Nor does the continued fawning over pseudonymous rock stars. The influx of anti-Facebook users also set expectations. For me the dramatic change from their policies on other products was upsetting; I expected better of Google. Unfortunately, since they continue to hide the policy from new users, the outrage will continue to some degree.
 
+Tim O'Reilly Go elsewhere really doesn't work. Even if this weren't setting a precedent for other companies, what good is "go elsewhere" if this is where the public discussions are taking place or where your friends and business associates are? Furthermore, you know Google will eventually offer this as a competing online comment service, so more and more sites will be inaccessible to people who can't use their real name. Already my pseudonym is shut out of Google's feature that allows me to claim authorship of my blog posts, they've clearly stated that they want to integrate Google+ into the rest of their products, how long until those services are inaccessible or limited too?

I don't think that "Lie and choose a wasponym" flies in the long run either. Even if it didn't mean abandoning the reputation and connections that I've built up with my pseudonym, it would forever be vulnerable to someone reporting it to Google as a fake account because they wanted to cause grief for something I said. I'd far rather label a pseudonym as what it is.
 
+Tim O'Reilly “it's signaling, not enforcement” – perhaps, but there is one rather huge problem there: the whole process is highly opaque and the results at the discretion of Google support personas (all of them anonymous, just to add insult to injury). This is very disconcerting. Also, Google is practically telling people: we know better how your name should look like – and this is an attitude I'm personally finding extremely offensive.
 
I think that there are good reasons to be wary of developments such as these. However, it is MUCH better to have them out in the public domain so that they can be addressed (see: regulated) and their use managed in a way that is socially acceptable. If "big brother" or some other malevolent entity wanted to develop something like this they would (if they haven't already). The assumption that if we close our eyes and pretend this avenue of technology is "not there" is kind of ridiculous.

Furthermore, there has NEVER been anonymity on the internet. There has been a combination of "disguised identity" and the lack of need for authorities to undo the disguises. If the authorities (or anyone) wants to get rid of anonymity, they have and continue to do so fairly effectively (see: the various hacking groups that have unravelled when they became more than a nuisance).
 
+Dylan Carlson The value of this network is very high in pollination of ideas on the PUBLIC side. "...Plus the network-effects of what will ensue over time are mind-blowing." For details about that, you can read this post: https://plus.google.com/110811729614009320896/posts/RWkHYPQPz2f

This is not a gated community, although you can use it as such. To me the high quality and speed in the flow of ideas on Google+ feels exceptional compared to other networks because it's open to all-walks-of-life as long as they can connect. I've found people with interesting insights in every continent on different subjects. Heck, there's even insights from space! Here's looking at YOU +Ron Garan!!! It's a great start.

Aside from that, the VASTLY SUPERIOR technical infrastructure here, like using a simple '+' sign to CONNECT with ANYONE anywhere on the service — to be able to have discussions such as this, is a killer-feature. You can also reference posts via a permanent URI and those can be found with an internet search by ANYONE with an internet connection or shared via e-mail with people not on the service; this is extremely useful over time. There needs to be improvement, like being able to integrate more than one language into your stream without introducing "noise" to other-language posts you write. Although overall, this thing is DIFFERENT.

Millions of people here will have all kinds of backgrounds and be able to contribute – where there is value to their contribution, increasing the value of discourse over time. Valuable experience, insight and wisdom are found in all kinds of people that would never sign-on to other networks.
 
Well, now it is time to start making facial distortion images like mad to poison it to hell. You can easily make a program with shift your eyes, mouth and nose around (which are the key metrics for facial recognition, you can also swap out other peoples eyes with yours etc and use them as profiles, or create a fake profile with your eyes, another with your mouth and nose etc.. Then use some random pic which is chopped up as your profile pic. easy to poison this.
 
Wear a veil, wear a mask... it's illegal in some places.

What if we all get plastic surgery to look like everyman or everywoman? (or everybarbie?)
This might be a good thing: appearances would matter less in society.
(would we all suffer prosopagnosia then?)

Always use software to scramble your (friends) faces when uploading pics?

Remember that guy Publius (a pseudonym), that almost caused a
revolution (or maybe he did?) ?
[Responsible for a number of articles, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Federalist_Papers]

Besides the guvmints, there are many innovative uses by others:
http://strataconf.com/summit2011/public/schedule/detail/20975

What's the going price for face transplants on the black market?
(and how do I know what kind of reputation the face I'm buying has?)

Brin's _Earth_(?) touched upon using open source intelligence (and
even a market for) this kind of info: how much will insurance
companies pay for a picture of a nonsmoker smoking?

``In the future, Everyone will have the power to be a Totalitarian Dictator.''
 
+Joel De Gan The facial recognition wars have begun. To quote the eminent Buck Turgidson... "We must not allow a facial recognition gap."
 
Relevant SF story: "The Barbie Murders" by John Varley.
 
Burqas...and you thought Muslims were just oppressing women.
 
+Dylan Carlson "How is Google+ so different from LinkedIn in that way?" — The other killer-feature is "Hangouts" on Google+. Have you seen what Photographers are doing with that? 10 people getting together across the globe in a simultaneous video conversation where they share work, techniques, insights, stories and organize themselves to go out, travel and work together. Some of them have already gone-on to meet in "Photo Walks" to collaborate in the real-world. What photographers are doing today with Hangouts, others will do tomorrow in other fields. That's one more tool that makes Google+ far-more-useful as a social network.
 
+Tim O'Reilly "...pseudonyms allow statements to be public and persistent, but not attached to one's real identity."
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/why-facebook-and-googles-concept-of-real-names-is-revolutionary/243171/ ...It's an insightful article... Also: — "...at least I have no interest in Google+ descending into some kind of unholy cross between 4chan, YouTube and Chatroulette, where all conversations are dominated by cowards hiding behind anonymity while they spew hate speech." written by +Mike Elgan link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113117251731252114390/posts/e3nC5XyADD9 — which shows a video by Google explaining part of the policy.
 
One could argue that the decreasing viability of pseudonyms in real life makes them more valuable in cyberspace. (Personally I have no position one way or another.)
 
Imagine that with the help of a memory device (the phone of the future could be made to help enhance your memory and facial recognition) everyone could know everyone else. And they could know something about you from the mounds of data you create. SO. You walk up to an ice cream stand and before you open your mouth, the guy says hey Tim! Want to try that Bubble Gum ice cream you got last month or just stick with the usual Raspberry? By the way Tim, have you lost weight? You know, your friend Hugo came by here earlier and tried the chocolate, you ought to tell him about the bubble gum ice cream. There's a 75% chance he'd like it.
 
+chuck bradford
That would be pretty creepy for a European.
 
I entirely agree the amazing technologies are coming. But pseudonymity is really about writing, not bodily characteristics. Someone writing discreetly from a private location should be safe from flying micro-cameras, face-recognition etc for some years yet. If sensors become as ubiquitous as insects, online may be the only place to go for any sense of real privacy.
 
+Tim O'Reilly I'm missing the part where facial recognition can match up 'nyms that don't have any photos associated with them to people with actual faces. Let's say I create an account "Bob the Cat" and put pictures of cats culled from Google Image Search in my profile. Where's the link between "Bob" and my face that's going to make my 'nym worthless?
 
Don't worry, give it time and people will be uploading their 3d model. I've already seen that web based 3d model of the head that some googler shared last week... amazing stuff
 
Like cold criminal cases being solved years later because of advances in genetic technology, will we sometime have a case where an alibi is proved false because of facial recognition software?
 
I was amazed at how quickly Picasa searched through my entire photo collection and grouped all the photos, even of my daughter over a five year period whose appearance has changed from a youth to a teen, and presented them to me for identification. If that is what the free program can do then the expensive stuff must already be awesome. They just need to start populating the database and for all we know they already are by mining data entered by people like us into programs like Picasa.
 
+Hugo Diaz Using $REALNAME adds a f*cking sh*t to the quality of the discussion. This has been proven over and over.
And Google doesn't even ask for $REALNAME=$LEGALNAME. Google asks for $COMMONNAME="Name you go by in daily life" and expects entries where $COMMONNAME="someting that looks like something an average western hemisphere inhabitant would agree on to be something that could be written in the 'Name:'-field on someone's I.D.-card" and tries to create automatic filters for this, preventing you from even entering $LEGALNAME if it has the wrong characters in it, doen't contain of at least two "words" and other bullsh*t.
Googles' Realname-policy is nothing but crap.
 
+Sebastian Baboo “Real names” do add legitimacy though and that is reason enough to require them, as for “Using $REALNAME adds a f*cking sh*t to the quality of the discussion. This has been proven over and over.” no it hasn’t, I’d like to see that study.
To prove that the real name policy is a bad thing you must first disprove Facebook’s appeal, which employs and enforces the same policy.
 
+Yano Tacchinardi Facebook doesn't enforce. There's no checking, no validation etc. Google+ does more enforcing than Facebook, and did even more before leaving invite-beta.
And Facebook is just the proof that $REALNAME helps quality in no way. Ever seen a discussion over there? No. Stupid "Like" and "Cool/Wow/Amazing"-orgys. Is that quality? Definetely not. Wanna see the quality of Facebook? Go here: http://failbook.failblog.org/
Did you ever hear about a whistleblower openly speaking under his real name? Nope. Was his whistleblowing the least bit less important by not using $REALNAME? Nope.
And surely, you never heard of someone using $REALNAME when trolling, stalking or shitstorming? Oh, you have? Many times? I'm sure $REALNAME added a lot to the quality.
 
+Yano Tachinardi So you think that nothing scans your computer for information when you are on the net and that it would be difficult to write a virus that could glean information like this from your computer?
 
+Sebastian Baboo That is no proof these are anecdotes, and they do enforce it, the difference being that the userbase there is larger so complaints go unnoticed, in G+ which started with a community of early adopters each maintaining a blog, everyone heard of every occurrence. As to whistleblowing there are many other channels that facilitate it, no single app can be everything to all people.
 
+Tom Gibson With the new model of computing emerging it'll be ever harder to install non authorized apps and what you speak of is illegal, no legit company would go that route, unless it's explicit and with user permission.
 
+Yano Tacchinardi No legitimate company, just Newscorp, the FBI, CIA, and anyone else with a lot of money, power, and the will to use it. My point is if this what the free stuff can do just imagine how many ways they have already sliced and diced you into different boxes. I think you have to assume this is being done unless living in a fantasy world along with Bambi and the 12 dwarves makes you feel better.
Ramin H
 
+Tim O'Reilly You had big expectations Tim. By your standards, Apple's press conference today was the biggest disappointment in Apple's history. BTW, where is your yesterday post on the launch of the new iPhone?
 
Emergence of one side always triggers the other. As face recognition improves privacy outlets will also be developed
 
We recognize faces, so machines will too, with similar then even better accuracy. The big question then IMO becomes the place of machines under the law, and that of humans behind them. The dangerous moment lies between the rise of face recognition, (and that of machine learning at large), and protection written in the law. 
 
Wouldn't it be wild if off-the-grid anti-government psychos were to start wearing masks (like from Pink Floyd's "The Wall")?
 
Well, the use of the word ‘botnet’ is a bit harsh in my opinion, as it almost implies that the NSA is going to infect people's computers with viruses in order to make them spy on other people.
 
+Tim O'Reilly: Last I heard, the state of the art of technology required to shoot people dead in public was also highly advanced. This doesn't mean that we accept it, don't pass laws against it, or fail to put heat on companies which actively promote shooting people dead in public.

Just because something's technologically possible doesn't mean it should be accepted. Yes, there's Canute and the tides, but still.
 
+Hugo Diaz you've fallen for the classic mistake of thinking names have power. Let me begin this by asking what proof I have that your name is Hugo Diaz and by that same account, what proof do you have that my name is Paul Hosking? Even if you could be reasonably sure I really am who I claim to be here and not just a nicely put together pseudonym that evades Google name censors (http://goo.gl/8f9Ok) there is little to keep me being civil. Yet I assure you that I would maintain the same level of discourse whether I posted as Paul Hosking or Pink Fuzzy Bunny (even if +Robert Scoble wouldn't talk to me then).

The key here is behavior. There should be some level of accountability and cost for maintaining identity here on G+. And that should induce some manner of reputation and accountability. But how "real" a name is has little to do with it.

Incidentally, G+ signal to noise right now is pretty good. That's got more to do with early adopters and the type of crowd that's currently drawn to (and staying with) the environment. As other communities adopt the platform, expect a hit. I've already seen a bit of a dip though the communities I follow are pretty civil so it hasn't had much overall effect for me personally.
 
+Tim O'Reilly the "signaling" vs "enforcement" concept would be great if enforcement wasn't happening. But Google is enforcing policy (actually going above and beyond written policy) and slowly grinding through names. So an obvious pseudonym is an invitation to lose the entire account and all presence on G+.

On a different note... there are a lot of different reasons for pseudonyms. I think +Kee Hinckley touched on the point that there are different levels of concern - it is a security problem. If I'm hiding from big actors like organized crime or a state, using G+ is going to require a lot of additional steps. But if I'm simply wanting to break the ease of a Google Search, then a given pseudonym is fine (point noted on not showing a face).

On a personal note, I like to discuss infosec issues. I am going to be really careful as to what I discuss under this Profile. I don't need my current employer pulled in to the discussion. I don't want anyone thinking I represent my employer. I don't need vendors that my employer uses upset if I discuss issues with their products. And I certainly don't want to hint at any issues my employer might currently have with their security posture. All that could be exposed by a simple Google search for my name. Posting under a pseudonym breaks that link (with the assumption that I'm reasonably careful with the content of my discussions).
 
XD "Pseudonymity is increasingly going to disappear." Your dead wrong. +Paul Hosking summed up enough to where I dont have to say anything more than that.
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