The blazing FAIL of a thousand suns

Google has suspended Skud’s google+ account. She had prepared for this, but so far they have not reinstated her account.

a pile of conference buttons emblazoned with I KNOW SKUD

She’s not the only person who is better known by a chosen pseudonym than by a legal name who has had their account suspended. Some of those people have allegedly lost access to their fully paid Google Android apps as well as a consequence, which (if true) seems disproportionately punitive and quite possibly litigable.

Just as well I decided to no longer be fully pseudonymous online a few years ago now, yes? But I should still be able to if I want to, or feel that I need to, so long as I’m not using my pseudonym for the purposes of defrauding others.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, Sociology, technology

Tags: , , ,

9 replies

  1. It’d be interesting to find out exactly why Google is cracking down so hard on people using obvious pseudonyms – if you use a pseudonym that looks like an ordinary name I’m sure you’d get away with it. I can see the benefits of enforcing real names in trying to reduce spam and increase accountability, but they don’t appear to have really have any mechanism in place except to filter out wierd looking names. The current Google+ setup is extremely vulnerable to spam.
    I think what would be good would be to allow the use of pseudonyms, but have them backed up by real names which in some way were authenticated (there’s a few options here which are not perfect but have been used by Second Life) and only optionally visible to the general public. So perhaps you could have a number of pseudonyms as well as your real name which you expose on a per-circle basis.

  2. Frankly this is a bit disturbing. Some people choose to be fully open on the internet, photos of children, full names and names of workplaces, birthdates, etc. I know people who do this on facebook. With the consideration that there are people willing to use your data in fashions you’d rather not consider, it is understandable that anyone would want to be at least a little pseudonymous. And some people for legal or personal reasons could totally want to be totally anonymous.
    I’m not sure about the Google+ system. I haven’t used it because most of the blogs I’ve seen about it haven’t been the most flattering for various reasons.

    • The *potential* of the circles system in Google+ is marvellous – fine grained control of exactly who you share your various updates etc with.
      The *implementation* so far? Uneven. Of course on one hand, that’s exactly why it’s still in beta development mode.
      On the other hand, if you haven’t followed all the links you may not appreciate that until recently Skud worked for Google, and that the corporation recognised her nym/handle in the corporate email architecture – her intternal email was skud@google[blah], not [birthname}@google[blah]. If they can’t even recognise their own ex-employees, what hope do the rest of us have?
      On the gripping hand, Google seems to have just not considered the ramifications of the sociological manifestations of pseudonymity nearly thoroughly enough.

  3. It’s all right tigtog — you’re a blog admin, you get to have a third hand!
    I have no plans to use Google+, but if I did, I take it that this means that I would be unable to use ‘skepticlawyer’, despite the fact that it is very well known around not only Ozblogistan, but in the Australian and UK media just who ‘skepticlawyer’ really is, and that I have never made any attempt to conceal this fact?

    • re gripping hand: I take it you’re not a science fiction reader, SL?
      re your ‘nym – as it stands right now, you’d probably be pinged right away for using a single word as your handle, and the account would be suspended in short order.
      There’s nothing to stop you signing up as Jane Doe, of course, because it’s the obvious pseudonyms that cause all the trouble, dontchaknow.

  4. I’ve read the book (although it had a different title over here), but have always rather liked the ‘third hand’ line just for my own satisfaction. My pupil-master used to say ‘on the third hand — I’m head of chambers, so I get to have three hands — there’s the [blah blah]’. It struck me as funny at the time, and I still get a giggle out of it — completely independently of Larry Niven (who is an author I admire greatly).
    I often apply it to random situations, as in ‘I’m the host, so I get to have three hands…’ etc.

  5. On the gripping hand

    Secret little nerd smile…..

  6. This post by Robert Scoble about his conversation with a Google VP is worth a read:

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