On Pseudonymity, Privacy and Responsibility on Google+ - TechnoSocial
People confuse two concepts: anonymity (no one knows who you are at all, no persistence over time, the most prolific author of all time is Anonymous) and pseudonymity (no one knows who you are, but there’s a persistent identity over time like a pen name, think: Mark Twain, George Sand, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Pynchon, John Wayne, or Stalin). No one doubts who John Wayne was, but then again, no one reading Thomas Pynchon’s books seriously doubts they are by the same author (well, maybe, but really...) even though no one but perhaps his editor has seen him (or her?).
If people use pseudonyms, I won’t be able to track down a stalker
If you have a legal complaint, then Google will reply to a subpoena with all the information they have, which at least includes IP addresses and any linked accounts, and perhaps the number of the phone used during verification. The process of tracking a real “John Smith” to an originating computer is not going to be any different from tracking down “Demosthenes” to that same computer. Since Google isn’t verifying every address, they have no more information about “John Smith” than they do about “Demosthenes”.
démonstration par la police de Montréal
MONTRÉAL - Le jeune homme de 21 ans qui aurait menacé et harcelé à de nombreuses reprises plusieurs vedettes québécoises par l’entremise du site de réseautage social Twitter restera détenu au moins jusqu’à jeudi.
ou encore le cas Anders Behring Breivik , traqué par un fafwatcher anglais sur les forums de L’#EDL
Meet member No. 3614. Sigurd Jorsalfare. Better known as Anders Behring Breivik.
Who Needs a Pseudonym?
When the attempted revolution broke out in Iran, I had in-laws there, I had information about what was happening that I wanted to share online with people who were interested in the situation. I wanted to educate them about what was happening. But I couldn’t do that under my real name, because the Iranian government was actively searching Twitter for posts about Iran, and they could easily have connected me to my wife and her relatives.
My marriage was on the rocks. I was sleeping on the couch, drinking too much, and not focused on my consulting business. I initially talked about some of this online on Twitter, and started to meet people with similar problems who had advice and support, but then my children got Twitter accounts. Creating a separate account allowed me to talk about those issues without identifying and embarrassing my family; not to mention my consulting clients. Those conversations, under my pseudonym, were absolutely critical for my finding a new network of friends, hiring a personal assistant, finding housing, moving out of my home, getting new jobs, and in general, getting my feet back on the ground. I made real friends, many of whom I have met offline, and now know by their real names, under that account. It was critical for getting my life back together.
I have two teen girls. Sometimes (especially since my wife and I separated, and the kids are off at boarding school) I just want to talk to people about the issues that come up when you have teenagers. Publicly posting (with no names, of course, that’s the point of a pseudonym) about issues online has generated a flood of support and similar stories. I regularly share the ups and downs of my parenting life with other people, and they with me. Do I know their names? No. Do I need to? No. Would I have found that support if I’d only posted to my closed circles? No.
He’s gay…he’s bi…she used to be a guy…he used to be a girl…he’s still in the closet and doesn’t know anybody like him. They aren’t looking for a forum to talk about their sexuality, there are plenty of those. They’re looking for a forum where they can talk about all the stuff the rest of us take for granted; politics, technology, society, world news… They just want to do it as themselves, not as someone pretending to be someone they aren’t.
The Everyday Activist
And finally there’s the simple desire to not conflate your primary online activity with something secondary that might detract from it.+Lauren Weinstein talks about it in his excellent article “Google+, Privacy, and Balancing Identity” (►http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000882.html)
People don’t really need to hide
I hope the earlier set of examples has put this argument to rest, but in the end, this is no business of anybody except the person who wishes to have some privacy. This isn’t about hiding. It’s about privacy and control of the key that gives every stranger access to my doorstep; my name.
You only need a pseudonym if you’re bad
Mark Zuckerberg is famous for having said, “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”. (Okay, that’s not theonly reason he’s famous.) So speaks a man who has never had to work for someone else and never had children. He also said “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” (►http://michaelzimmer.org/2010/05/14/facebooks-zuckerberg-having-two-identities-for-yourself-is-an-example)
It’s pretty clear that Facebook is doing its best to make this true, it’s not so clear that people want it to be true. But some people take this even further. For instance, +James Stallings II said in a comment on Google+,
A number of the examples I’ve given, as to why someone might want a pseudonym, involve personal danger. All of them at least involve potential embarrassment. This argument says that there’s no way to be private on the Internet, and therefore you shouldn’t share anything that you don’t want anyone to know. They claim this is “security by obscurity”. +Robert Scoble makes this argument in a comment,
“If you are Chinese and you want to avoid government action you should advise people to keep their opinions off of the Internet. Period.”
super longue diatribe sur google + et l’anonymat ou plutôt l’identité numérique, la liberté qu’elle permet aussi bien politique que personnelle, bref décryptage