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Google Patents Privacy Your Rights Online

Google Bans Online Anonymity While Patenting It 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the best-of-both-worlds dept.
theodp writes "'It's important to use your common name,' Google explains in its Google+ ground rules, 'so that the people you want to connect with can find you.' Using a 'secondary online identity,' the search giant adds, is a big Google+ no-no. 'There are lots of places where you can be anonymous online,' Betanews' Joe Wilcox notes. 'Google+ isn't one of them.' Got it. But if online anonymity is so evil, then what's the deal with Google's newly-awarded patent for Social Computing Personas for Protecting Identity in Online Social Interactions? 'When users reveal their identities on the internet,' Google explained to the USPTO in its patent application, 'it leaves them more vulnerable to stalking, identity theft and harassment.' So what's Google's solution? Providing anonymity to social networking users via an 'alter ego' and/or 'anonymous identity.' So does Google now believe that there's a genuine 'risk of disclosing a user's real identity'? Or is this just a case of Google's left hand not knowing what its right hand is patenting?"
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Google Bans Online Anonymity While Patenting It

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:09PM (#41377853)

    There are two basic levels of anonymity. The first is anonymity to others by using an alias. The second is being anonymous to Google, which is harder. (To be anonymous in the second case, you'd need to be behind a different IP than normal.) Google cannot prove anonymity in the second one unless they somehow help you be anonymous to them.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:44PM (#41378275)

    Or famous.

    The executive in charge of Google+ is Vic Gundotra. But his name isn't really Vic. Mr. Gundrota is Indian and his real first name is Vivek. Yes that's right. The person mandating that you must use your real name, is using a phoney name.

    Then there are the celebrities, like Fifty Cent and Lady Gaga who are allowed to use their fake names.

    Google gets a +1 for hypocrisy.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @03:50PM (#41378341) Journal

    Really, you respond with another sockpuppet?

    Is google suing over anonymity? Is this article even factual?

    Answer to both : no.

    If you assume his argument is even remotely valid you've simply started with an invalid premise.

  • Fuckin' blow me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:15PM (#41378749)

    Google+ can fucking blow me. Apparently, unless you took your grade school American history in the US, you don't *get* what part anonymous speech, starting with Paine and Franklin, played in American history and what it means to Americans culturally and historically to be able to say what they want when they want the way they want using whatever literary or social devices they think will best serve their ends.

    Google+ is a walled garden of another kind- a walled garden of people willing to submit their identities and their opportunity for free as in psychologically-socially-and-politically speech at any bunch of personalities who form themselves into the role of "service provider". These people are obsessed with the notion that the missing step in the Underwear Gnome chain is, "and then we make everyone give us their real identity !!".

    You know what? My life means something to me, and and it's not going to be reduced, limited, attenuated or otherwise obstructed by the my failure to see today what implications someone's arbitrary demands can have on my tomorrow.

    Essentially this turns the internet into a small town. People leave small towns and go to big cities for a lot of good reasons and one of those is to escape the gossipy nature of those places where your reputation gets fixed early on and stays forever. Sorry if you're stuck in the public spotlight forever and there's no escape for you, Google guys, but perhaps counting your billions will serve as some form of consolation.

    Banning anonymous speech is culturally short-sighted, historically ignorant and politically incendiary. No one but professional loud mouths, professional opinionators, and tenured profs is going to offer a frank opinion on jack lest it be used against them in some unforseen way later in life.

    But it's deeper than that. There's a reason Franklin and Paine published anonymously. Some things need to be said despite what people want to hear. Someone has to play Cassandra. It's hard enough finding the courage to tear yourself away from comforting illusions, adding onto that a tax most ordinary people literally have no way to bear- loss of a job, loss of friends, loss of opportunity- makes truth tellers, anonymous and otherwise, that much more unlikely to emerge. And this in a time when truth tellers are so desperately needed.

    It's really just Common Sense [].

    Too bad Google doesn't have much of that left.

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:41PM (#41379095) Journal

    I'm confused. Why doesn't AOL have colossal prior art on this?

    They had a Master Account system with subsidiary names. For those who are too young and need to Get Off Your Lawn, it was Dad who had the Master account, and then we young'uns had all the subsidiary names. (Sometimes several per person!) This was fairly important for RP in the Red Dragon Inn, etc. I hadn't gotten into bulletin boards by then, but it still held. But if you got too nasty, one of the Moderators would report you, and it would trickle up the food chain.

    So not knowing Patentese, how did poor ol' faded glory AOL not even get a few bucks of licensing rights?

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.