Google's Real Names Policy Is Evil

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codepath

 

Hey, you know what this policy REALLY is? It's DRM for humans.

Having a real name attached to the account is not the issue here. It's forcing that name to be the public name for the account. There is no reason at all that they couldn't require a real name for the account but then allow a pseudonym/nickname be the searchable, public-facing name (hiding the real name).

If that account acts like an ass (hate speech, spamming, etc), then everyone will block that account or file complaints against the account which Google can act on. I do not need to know your real name (and your real name does not matter) in order to file a complaint against your account. All I have to do is tell Google that DarthVader666 is being an asshat and bothering me.

Also, knowing your real name does not discourage people from being jerks. Because jerks do not care if you know their name. They are jerks, after all.

And there is nothing stopping someone from create a false personality online and using that to sign up for G+. I sign up with GMail with a fake name, then get a Twitter account using that name/email, hell throw in a Tumblr, a Flickr and whatever else, then go back and enable G+ and say there you go just look at all these account that prove that my name is John Smith.

So, in the end, this policy doesn't do squat to stop bad behavior. It doesn't stop people from using a fake name. It only stops people who have a legitimate reason for privacy from enjoying it.

 

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tomrippity

If you are not showing the real name then it does no good to the users that are interacting with that profile.  It would seem that Google wants not only for them to know who you are, but for others to know as well, so they can make informed decisions about how and when to interact with people online.  

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TerribleToaster

 

I'm confused as to how this is any different from how it is now.

People can know and recognize an avatar and associate characteristics with it quite easily. There no need to force a real name for that reason as an online identity is still, in fact, an identity. You are still capable of making informal decisions about an avatar.

More so, because an online avatar makes it difficult to have preconceived notions (a.k.a. prejudices), you'll have to base your decisions off of the person's actual actions and thoughts rather than off of what you think their thoughts and actions may be.

 

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tomrippity

It would seem both Facebook and Google believe pseudonyms to be a problem. Even the zucks sister at facebook said she would like to see them go away.  Granted, in either case, real information is more valuable to these companies than fake avatars and what not, but when it comes to Google, they can probably determine with some degree of accuracy your real identity even if you don't want to give it to them, simply because they have SO MUCH data.

In general, I trust companies until they burn me, and Google so far has done a good job of earning my continued trust.   Also, I don't do anything on the internet that I am particularly ashamed of or threatened by, so I just don't care if people know who I am.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

You probably work for the pricks.

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TerribleToaster

I have no problem with giving Google my real name to use their service.

I do have a problem with them requring me to broadcast it to anyone and everyone regardless of my personal position or feelings.

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codepath

Agreed.

The reason I maintain two online personas (one personal, one professional) is not because I am nefarious in any way, not because I have a stalker hunting me down, and not because I work in a profession that some radicals might deem kill-worthy (but those are all great reasons).

It's because people can be jerks. I do not have car insurance because of the manner in which I drive. It is because of all of the inconsiderate dummies out there driving like maniacs.

Say an employer or potential employer decides to Google me up. They have access to everything there is to know about me. My political affiliations, religious leanings, musical tastes...EVERYTHING.

Now, some folks may say, meh, so what if they know. And back in my younger (more naive) days I'd agree. But you see, when the hard times come and that employer needs to lay off head count, who do you think they'll put on the list? That's right, the one that voted for the other party, the one who belongs to that church or the atheist, the one who listens to "rock and roll" devil music, or whatever happens to rub them the wrong way. And give me crap about how your performance is a factor, it should be, but it is not always. Depends on the employer and some just suck.

So, do I want to take even the slightest chance that something I shared with a wider audience than intended by accident will get me canned? Or something I said in a post or comment? Do I want to have to censor myself into silence for fear of the repercussions? Every time am about to click the "post" button, having to stop and analyze every possible way I could offend someone and then just clicking cancel instead?

I have a wife and kids, a mortgage, college to pay for. I need a hard and fast firewall between my private human side (with thoughts and opinions) and my professional side (that provides for my family).

It is the same reason I dress for work instead of just wearing whatever feels comfortable. t is the same reason I shave in the morning. It is the same reason I watch my language and use extreme diplomacy with people I interact with. It's because if everybody walked around just being their own true selves 24 hours a day to everyone they met, then society would come to a screeching, murderous halt.

Personally, I would love it if I were independently wealthy and I could wear whatever I want every day, never shave again, and tell anyone who bothered my to go eff themselves. Until that day, I need to protect myself and my family.

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TechLarry

"Do No Evil" ended the day Google went public.

Actually, they started practicing a bit before that.

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comptech08

Such and immature article. smh

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smashingpumpin

Don't get me wrong I do love Goggle products but I don't think I can force myself to create a + account thinking all my Google searches of Porn, health queries, random-out-of-boredom/curiousity-searches are all in one company. This and the recently announced Real-name-policy just makes it unappealing to me. But...

Regardless of what I've mentioned and true to all Social Network sites- You just go where your friends are! To me, Myspace died coz most of my friends flocked to FB although I could care less about the frequent Spamming and fake accounts and whatnot. If + surpasses FB or if half my friends are there, I'll surely give it a try and hopefully the search giant would'nt spill or get hacked out of spewing some of my Google Search data for my friends to see.

 

...and oh, why hasn't anyone mention this yet. I predict Nike suing Google for +!

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cownaetion

Have people forgotten how Blizzard tried attempting this and within a day or two quickly abandoned the switch? Google+ is used by techies, for techies. That is the community it will have, until Google cancels it. This is not competition to Facebook, and yes it is a social media site, despite what you want to tell yourselves. The only reason why their metrics even seem high is because its plastered throughout their whole domain. In three years this will be another MySpace.

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Holly Golightly

How are they going to require the real name if I can just use my friend's name, neighbor's name, or the name of some unknown celebrity? The only way they can truly force you to use your real name is if they ask for your social security or state ID... Or even your passport. If they do not involve the government, you are never forced. Now if they start lobbying congress to do this... Then folks, we are looking at a dark future... Because FaceBook would follow on with Google's policies. I suppose there is always MySpace or Twitter. 

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tomrippity

This is pretty much the conclussion of every discussion on social networking and privacy from here to the unforseeable future.  For people who value being anonymous, there will ALWAYS be a network out there for you to join.  For everyone else, there will be facebook, or google+ or whatever networks decide the world is better off transparent.

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Holly Golightly

The problem is, not that many people are enlightened. Yes, there will be those who do not value privacy at all, but most people would be turned off by it if they only just knew the truth. There are many people who ignorant about current events. Many who do not care about anything. The fact is, nobody should be forced to expose their identity. Social Networks like FaceBook, and now Google+ are making networking more of a fragmented community. It should not have to be like this. There should be a universal approach that makes all parties happy.

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Craig-g

I've used a persistent fake name since the early 90's, back when you were told it was a bad idea to use your real name online.  Whenever possible I always use the same fake name.

I can't speak for other people, but the reason I use it is twofold.  Firstly I've got a very unique name, obviously not Craig.  It's a real pain because it makes it so damn easy to track me.

The second reason is that I like to keep a firewall between my online identity and my real life, especially my professional life, (I work in education).  My work doesn't need to know about my love of video games, my contributions to political commentary or anything else that might be considered to be slightly controversial to some people. 

Some people have said that if you aren't doing anything wrong then you shouldn't be concerned.  And it's great that you live and work in an environment that supports that.  I don't.  You might say, "well you should change jobs".  And sure, that's a solution.  But I've put in 20 years here and don't feel like uprooting my family over this.  So where is the harm in my continuing to use the same, persistent online name that I've used for over 20 years?  People are getting so heated up at the thought of someone not using their real name.

 

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Cautionman

  I encourage my son to read this website but not anymore. Its one thing to tell him the comments left by others with bad language is not right and not endorsed by the company. When the actual articles include blatant curse words well I have to draw the line. Kick Ass was pushing it but real everyday usage of the word. The f word is not allowable by any means. If it is ok to use it on the official website then I guess he can use it at school.Below is what I'm writing about.

I know you're a highly-respected and well-known journalist, but your name has a number in it so you've got four days to change that or you can fuck off back to Facebook.

 

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Holly Golightly

Umm, hate the give you some reality. But this is not a Maximum PC article. This is a Gizmodo article that is featured on Maximum PC. Meaning, none of the fellow staff at Maximum PC wrote that curse word, personally. The author of Gizmodo did this.

For the record, people use the F word loosely these days. If you spoke prim and proper your entire life, who would want to be your friend. "Hello my friend, may we go to the movie theater to watch comedy?" Nobody speaks like this in real life. What Gizmodo is trying to do is sound friendly, informal. To reach out to the younger readers out the who use bad words loosely. Nobody likes a grammar Nazi. If you have to be a stickler for the rules... Petty things I mean, you will find yourself alone... Very much.

Just relax... It is just an F work not directed at you.

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comptech08

It may not be a maximumpc article, but maximumpc did endorse it by publishing it on their website.  That is pretty much the same as writing it.  It would be bad business if they did not read it before they allowed it on their website though, if that is true.

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cownaetion

He uses those words at school, just like spouses cheat without you knowing it. If you haven't figured this out yet then you shouldn't be reading websites like this.

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Tenhawk

Given all the furor about Cyber Bullying and the things people can get away with because there are no consequences online when they can hide behind an alias... how in the HELL can you call Google's actions 'evil' here?

They're creating, or at least attempting to create, an online service where there is a level of responsibility inherent in it's use. If I go online and start harassing someone on Google+ it can be brought directly back to ME personally, without requiring a forensic examination of ip addresses, emails, and so forth.

That creates an environment where people have to stop and remember that there ARE potential consequences to their online interactions.

Why in all that's holy is this 'evil'? It's perhaps not 'good', I'll concede that much... but evil? What a load of complete crap. It's a company making a choice and enforcing rules that it believes will benefit itself and it's users. If you don't like it, use facebook.

Evil my ass. This article is far more evil that Google+ ever could be because it assumes a position of righteous indignation that is neither merited, nor remotely earned. It's like no one on the freaking planet wants to actually think for themselves anymore. Can't keep your mouth shut, no problem don't own up to what you said cause you can use an alias. Want to stalk someone online? Go ahead, it's easy... just use an alias.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think Google's attempt will WORK. It's too easy to fake it out... but calling the attempt EVIL is just... disgusting.

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arosadler

I have a question. Since gmail accounts, like Google+, are free, what is to stop people from still using pseudonyms? So long as you use a name that appears real, does anyone believe Google is going to use the time and resources to do background checks on millions of users?

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cownaetion

The name will most likely be run through filters, but as someone has suggested already its for marketing reasons. Google sells advertisements, and every + member is part of the product they are selling.

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dgrmouse

I'm aghast at the number of idiots here who support this idea.  My children use the internet, and anything that could help some sick individual build a profile of my family or myself is absolutely evil.  I don't like being forced to have my driver's license scanned when I buy alcohol, and I don't want to be forced to provide background information to use the internet.

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cownaetion

Stop buying alcohol and stop using social media websites. Problem solved.

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avenger48

If your children's vulnerability is so important, you really shouldn't let them be on social networks where they friend random strangers and hand out their personal info to anyone who asks.

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dgrmouse

You're missing the point entirely.  The point is that Google's presence around the Internet is so vast that just by sharing a computer with someone who does use Google's services, they are subjected to the same profiling.  And there are no legal controls on the use of this information.

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tomrippity

I admit that the laws on what companies are allowed to do with the collected information is weak at the moment.  But we will never have the laws in place if we don't start somewhere.  if you aren't an early adopter, give it a little time and others will feel out the problems and laws will be put into place.

Otherwise, keep your kids off of social networks or any site that wants to collect personal info.  As for having your drivers license scanned when you buy alcohol... what else should be done?  We can't just trust people to be telling the truth about their age... unless you actually believe people would never lie about such things?

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szore

Yeah, that is real brilliant.

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Kinetic

"The easy answer, of course, is simply to not use Google+"

I guess that pretty much sums everyhing up.

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DasHellMutt

I have to say I don't get what people are going on about when they're all up in arms about privacy. I really don't think this or any of a hundred other "privacy concerns" are legitimate problems. No one has, ever did have, or should have any right to complete privacy in their life.

I really don't care who knows my name and connects me with the things I post online. I use my real name on Facebook and I maintain the awareness that everyone can see what I post and connect it to me. Only the people I choose can see what I post, but anyone can see that I have a profile with my real name and my profile pic.

I work in the healthcare industry and have to abide by all sorts of privacy laws that have no purpose. If people wanted to look at my medical records and see that I have had asthma since birth and am allergic to almost everything, I wouldn't care about that either. In fact, I just told everyone on the interwebs.

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Nimrod

please go /wrist your self and post your full name, SS# and bank number on the web before doing so.

 

dumb fuck. People like YOU are whats wrong with this country.

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tomrippity

Nimrod, I think your taking what the poster is saying and stretching it a bit.  The difference between giving someone a name and giving someone SS# or bank account numbers etc are not really comparable.  You can't do much with just a name and a picture or a list of allergies.   

If  you can't see the difference, its because you don't want to see it.

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Kaze

Classic slippery slope example. Why would you post your social security numer online?

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cownaetion

^^ - this.

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majorsuave

See.. that is a great example of how anonymity is bad.

Do you think that this kid would have posted this bucketful of feces if he had to sign with his name? no of course.

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dgrmouse

Thanks, Nimrod.  Thank God I'm not alone.

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szore

Nimrod is right. It's nobody's damn business what my name is . Fuck this, I'm out.

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james888

I have never been a fan of social networking. I didn't want a google+ account anyway. I really do not like this policy anyway. My bigger fear is the fact that it is a growing trend. I am an advocate of privacy. If one day I have to, I will regretfully cut myself from the internet.

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Holly Golightly

If you use FaceBook, you support the internet from taking away our right to privacy. FaceBook was the first website to enforce this. Google is only taking things up a notch. This is why I do not use FaceBook. That very same privacy issue. I should not be forced to expose my name to the public or cyberspace. I am pretty sure if they could, they would link social security numbers to lock in profiles. I have been considering cutting myself off the internet for a good while. I just don't know if I am ready to say goodbye though. I like speaking my mind, but if I have to expose my identity... I may have to keep my voice silent for the very fears listed in the article above.

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tomrippity

Opinions without reputation have almost no credibility with me personally. I am completely understanding if people don't want to give away their information freely over the internet, but in turn, they have to realize the reasonable suspicion they place on themselves if they aren't willing to reveal who they are.  

In general, I find that if people are really passionate for a cause, they don't mind attaching their name to it.  And if they want everyone to take them seriously and value their opinions, they need to reveal who they are.  There are countless comedians who joke about this very topic.. and make fun of people who make bold statements or claim to be experts in the field of "something" but refuse to own up to those statements or prove their expertise by offering up their names.

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Holly Golightly

But people tend to speak the truth when they can lie about their identity. There is always that fear of not being accepted. To be hated on for being who they are. We can not speak the truth in fear of retribution, or persecution or whatever really. This is the sad truth that does not need a name attached to it. Some people have been given hate mail just for speaking their minds. Look at poor Rosie O'Donnell and Ann Coulter, they speak their mind, and are immedietly shot down by the media for speaking their minds with having their names automatically attached to their opinion. Nobody wants to be in their position. This is why having that anonymity helps protect people's right to free speech. Without that, what are we left with?

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KHRex

yep, never been impressed with Gizmodo's style of journalism... This reinforces that. I don't go to news websites to read rants.

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Cregan89

I agree with most of the comments here, this article is complete garbage. I think forcing users to use their real identity is genius. It makes every one accountable for their actions online. It prevents spineless teens from picking on others. It prevents hate speech. It prevents spam. It prevents trolls.

People can no longer hide behind an anonymous online identity and post and say things that are illegal or that they don't have the balls to say to somebody's face. No more closet MySpace profile's of people pretending to be somebody they're not. 

And a gay teen reaching out on a social networking site? A battered wife seeking shelter on a social networking site? Are you fucking kidding? And for the "person of faith", they're a million times more likely to be harassed on Facebook by some anonymous prick than they are from somebody who has to put their real name beside their hate speech, because they know they'll get arrested or shit kicked/shunned as soon as they step outside the door.

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warptek2010

Hate speech? What do u consider hate speech? It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH period. Some people might consider my analysis of a presidents failed record as hate speech. No, it's just speech born of OPINION based on what my 5 senses tell me. Too many friggin people don't like to hear other people's opinions. Well tuff shit. I had to sit through 8 years of assholes in the entertainment, political and news media industries go on and on about Iraq and Bush. Most all of their speech was hate based. But I would never have tried to shut them up. Debate them, maybe. Turn them off, most definitely.

As for Trolls, you're certainly here aren't you?

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tomrippity

Warptek, hate speech is not allowed in the US.   Regardless of what you would like to believe, people can't just say anything they want, anytime they want, anywhere they want.  You could be arrested or fined for any number of reasons.  Harrassment, inciting riots, as we have recently seen demonstrated via facebook, slander, etc.  

You do have the right to express your opinions, but you also have a responsibility not to cause harm without reason.   I don't see how the other posters statement was trolling... it seems all of his remarks were accurate and generally agree'd upon by reasonable people.

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Cregan89

I don't know about the US, but here in Canada we believe in a less radical form of "Freedom Of Speech". We have laws against hate speech, the definition of which is "any writing, sign or visible representation that advocates or promotes genocide or the communication of which by any person". That's what I, and the law, consider hate speech. Political opinion is obviously not hate speech...

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warptek2010

Yeah? Tell that to Liberals in the U.S.

Sorry bout the "troll" remark. Just a little heated.

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livebriand

And yet I get people, in REAL LIFE, who har@$$ me, I know their name and all, and they still don't care. It doesn't make a difference. And online, what's to stop someone from making up a name? What if my name really is 'Michael Jackson'? Excuse me Google+, but do you really think I am a jackass for doing that? What if my name really is that? Ever considered the possibility? This new rule is just stupid. It's a good thing I don't use Google+.

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Cregan89

Well I'm obviously not saying that it will outright 100% prevent such things... And of course there's always ways around it. I'm just saying it's an obvious attempt to create an added level of accountability in Google+ over Facebook, and it will likely have a very positive effect on those areas which I pointed out. If not directly, indirectly by attracting a much more responsible and accountable user base to the site to begin with. 

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dgrmouse

You're so out of touch with reality it isn't even funny.  Teens and children will harass each other, sexual predators will keep stalking, and religous groups will still be persecuted.  These things happened long before computers appeared and will continue whether or not real names are associated with Google+ accounts.

A little common sense should make clear that the folks who read without posting are a greater threat than those who post anonymously, and this real-name policy does nothing to counteract any threats.  Considering the number of websites that run advertisements and/or analytics hosted by Google's subsidiary companies coupled with the information that they are now requiring you to provide them means that Google is now able to build a startlingly complete and accurate profile of the typical Internet user. 

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