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Google's CEO Warns Kids Will Have to Change Names to Escape "Cyber Past" 706

Google's Eric Schmidt says that people's private lives are so well documented now that the young will have to change their names when reaching adulthood to avoid their youthful indiscretions. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Schmidt says: "I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time." A fresh start from the stupid things you did as a kid seems like a good thing. Now we just need a way to get rid of the dreaded family photo album.
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Google's CEO Warns Kids Will Have to Change Names to Escape "Cyber Past"

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  • Either that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @02:57PM (#33292092)
    ... or we'll collectively learn that throwing rocks in the neighbour's window is NOT a life-tainting event that will destroy your life forever? Criminal records are, in theory, forever, and even killers get to move on when their sentences are done.
    • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @02:59PM (#33292108) Journal

      even killers get to move on when their sentences are done.

      Sex offenders... not so much.

      • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:19PM (#33292428)

        Sex offenders... not so much.

        You have to remember that in an insane society ruled by religious wackos whose mental disease revolves around fighting "sin" killing is a far, far, far, lesser crime than all things sex-related.

        You see killing is a forgivable sin (after all you can't have religious wars without killing and the "holy book" of the month is full of mass murder in the name of spreading the lunacy) but controlling sex resides deeply at the very core of the warped, hateful, controlling, jealous egos of the zealots.

        It is no coincidence that the ravings on the subject of "morality" coming from the Taliban officials and US "born again" politicos are so similar.

        • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:40PM (#33292794) Homepage

          usually demanded by sexually depraved individuals. The most anti-sex people are at their core highly perverted.

          Honestly EVERYTHING commanded by any religion about sex is only there to control the population.

          "God HATES you for masturbating..." What a fucking horrible thing to say to a child, yet it is said daily in almost every single house of worship across this planet. (I know there are some relatively less twisted religions out there, but they are not common). Humans by NATURE are sexual beings. It's by the warping of the human mind and abuse we make people afraid of sex or even hate sex. Sexual abuse, Emotional Abuse, plain old teaching kids lies, manipulation, etc....

          If ANY religion teaches hate, then it is not real, It's nothing but made up by man, designed only for the control others through shame and coercion.

          I'm certain I'll be modded into oblivion as I'm speaking out against religion. Disclaimer: I am a Christian, and I utterly despise the fear, uncertainty and doubt that other Christians preach.

          • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:49PM (#33292920)

            Modded? No. But tonight, a search engine harvester is coming here. Your link will be cross associated with your other citations. The SE will make a note of that for later correlation.

            And when Jesus comes back, the first place he's going to is Google to find out who's gonna get a big smite. That's what Schmidt's saying. Eric will make a little query, and the shit's gonna fly in YOUR direction, heathen.

            Oh, wait....

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by fortyonejb ( 1116789 )
            This is probably a landmine, but the church I grew up in actually had a different take on masturbation. It seemed a little silly at the time, but I kind of see the theology behind it a little bit more now. And yes, this was an everyday run of the mill protestant church.

            The teaching was that masturbation is not a sin, but if you do it will viewing pornography, then the pornography is akin to fornication. Their logic was that masturbation while not viewing sinful material was fine.

            Of course that takes a
          • Re:Either that (Score:5, Interesting)

            by I'm not really here ( 1304615 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:22PM (#33293466)

            Amen. First, your comment about how horrible it is to tell a child that God hates them for any reason is spot on. Second, I am so glad that there is another Christian that understands that Sex is a beautiful gift from God and is something to be reveled in (of course I believe that for numerous sociological reasons, in addition to common sense and biblical teaching, it is best when between two consenting married adults who have had no others, and has negative consequences when done outside of a solid marriage relationship... With no one to compare to, your significant other is the best for you for now and for always!).
            Christ was all about love and Paul was all about loving one another, serving one another, and marriage (though he honestly points out that marriage can be a distraction for many in the ministry, and he's right, it does distract, but for most people, that trade off is worth it).
            Christians need to realize that teaching fear of sex to children is creating maladjusted sexual beings who will never fully be able to enjoy guilt free sex with their spouse.
            Oh, and let's get rid of that ancient (and wrong) notion that Men should dominate women in the marriage, please? "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

            Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:22.
            So the wife should treat her husband as the church treats Christ, with respect, awe, adoration, and love, but be careful all you guys who say "aha!" because the men are then told that in marriage the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and give himself up for her. Men, our wives are expected to respect, love, and adore us, but in return, we are to sacrifice everything (even if it means death) to show our wives love. Now that's religion that is good for the soul, and that's the foundation of a good marriage, a solid community, and a good life.

          • Re:Either that (Score:4, Informative)

            by cat_jesus ( 525334 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @09:11PM (#33296206)

            If ANY religion teaches hate, then it is not real, It's nothing but made up by man, designed only for the control others through shame and coercion.

            I hate to break this to you but all religions are made up by man.

        • Re:Either that (Score:4, Insightful)

          by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:45PM (#33292858) Homepage Journal
          You're making a scapegoat of religion-- and what religion I don't know, because you seem to assume that all religions have the same values. The fact is, laws are made by both the religious and nonreligious. Both the people and their elected representatives are complicit when rights are violated. Your vague "religion" that values modesty over peace is merely a straw man you've constructed to distract us from the problem and allow us to recuse ourselves from it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You have to remember that in an insane society...


          ...ruled by religious wackos...

          There are whackos of every stripe, religious and otherwise, in positions of power around the world. Unfortunately, religion is a tool that is often abused by those who seek power. Also unfortunately, there are plenty of people who are willing to surrender their good judgment to someone who wears a certain label, but that applies equally to religion, politics, patriotism, etc. Pointing out just the religious whackos, while ignoring the others, is simply prejudice.

          ...whose mental disease revolves around fighting "sin"...

          First, I'm assuming that thi

          • Re:Either that (Score:4, Interesting)

            by n dot l ( 1099033 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @04:19AM (#33298664)

            In our society, we tend to think of the commandment against adultery as being one of those antiquated, old-fashioned things, but talk to a kid who's parent's are getting divorced because of infidelity and tell me again how good adultery is.

            Are you asking? Because my parents divorced over adultery, and I'm fine with it. Honestly, they were miserable, and their relationship was beyond repair. They needed something shocking like that one unfortunate little slip to break the stony silence and get things finished. If not that, I can easily imagine it being a suicide attempt a few years down the line... So adultery is absolutely fine by me - if you're at the point of cheating on your spouse, there are already far, far, more important things the two of you should deal with than a bit of sex.

            And for the "stay together for the children!" crowd: fuck off. The year of misery that followed the divorce is well worth the normal moved-on-with-our-lives people that continued raising me thereafter, especially since the alternative would have been another twelve or so years of being practically ignored by people who silently (but obviously) despise each other. I mean talk about setting a bad example for impressionable minds...

            I have a few close friends who's parents also divorced over similar issues. They say largely the same thing. Anecdotal, yes, but worth consideration.

            From my point of view that commandment (and all the other "what god has joined together..." bullshit) has nothing to do with preserving the stability of marriages and everything to do with providing the priesthood with a steady stream of neurotic angry people in dire need of counselling services.

      • Re:Either that (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:20PM (#33292450)

        Or Felons, You get popped for any small infraction, (It's amazing what is a felony these days.) and you are screwed for a very long time after your sentence is over, and for some things, forever.

        I did 8 months for firecrackers (That weren't actually illegal, but the lying feds convinced a jury that they were.) because I pissed of a sheriff who stood by and let some children die (Sheriff Stone of Columbine) and ten years later, I still can't get a decent job, and I will never again work in the two fields I'm best at. Computer Security and Firearms training. and in many states, can't even vote for change or reform, or ever hold public office. All because I stood up for what was right.

        So much for getting to move on...

        • by cat_jesus ( 525334 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @07:52PM (#33295646)
          That's right, I said it. And I mean it. If you have so many felons in your society that their vote could sway an election then their voice should be heard. Not only that but we're trying to rehabilitate felons right? Getting them to participate in society in elections is a good thing.

          If you don't want felons to vote then ask yourself, if felons could vote, what bad thing would happen?

          You want to know what bad thing can happen when you keep felons from voting? You can have a political party take people out of the voting pool by making felons out of them.
    • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by butterflysrage ( 1066514 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @02:59PM (#33292114)

      but, but, but.... that guy applying for a job said something mean 20 years ago! We can't hire him, what if he is the same as he was when he was seven years old? Our company can't take that chance!

      • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chibinium ( 1596211 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:33PM (#33292700)
        A society that has forgotten to forgive will hold a grudge against itself forever.
    • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:00PM (#33292124)
      Agreed. There's one great, big collective stick up our asses about kids being kids and doing stupid shit and/or just having fun. To hell with changing their names, how about the rest of us just grow the fuck up?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aliddell ( 1716018 )
      Seems more likely that getting smarter about hiding things is the way to go - as unlikely as that seems, it's far more likely than an end to people digging up dirt and blowing it out of proportion. Besides, kids can hide stuff pretty well. If you got caught as a kid, you were doing it wrong.
      • Re:Either that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:11PM (#33292300)

        I am going to have to interject here.

        Back in the day, you do something stupid and brag to your friends about it in person. Now kids are bragging about doing stupid things on facebook, myspace and twitter. Not only do hundreds or thousands more people know about it, but a record of it exists for all time.

        Another problem is facebook and other people tagging you in their pictures. You don't even need to have a facebook account and you can be unknowingly leaking information to facebook that could make you unemployable in the future.

    • Criminal records (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:08PM (#33292248)

      Actually, there is that little box on a job application asking "have you ever been convicted of a crime?" I never paid it any mind because it's easy to say "no" when that's the truth, but some people have to make a calculation. Is it better to check the box and hope they still get a chance to explain in the interview, or leave it blank and hope it never comes up that they lied on the application?

      So having a criminal record can, indeed have long-lasting effects. Remember, the question is usually "have you ever."

      (As aside, a friend of mine had to answer "have you ever been arrested, which led to the amusing story of him and four other high school kids breaking into the gym because they got locked out during a late track practice... charges were dropped but technically that was an arrest.)

    • What is new? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dov_0 ( 1438253 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:19PM (#33292436)
      I think in the West we had a strange unnatural period where for the first time in human history there was enough individuality and wealth across the general populace that we could actually keep our lives private. This is not a luxury that most peoples and cultures of the world either have now or have ever really had. The only difference now is that instead of being recorded in the memories of all our the members of our community and anyone they happen to talk about it with, it is recorded electronically.
  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:00PM (#33292132) Homepage

    I know I shouldn't have used my real name on Slashdot

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker ( 1381259 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:01PM (#33292146)
    Funny how that's coming from the guy who's indexing it all so we can find it easier.
    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jahava ( 946858 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:15PM (#33292368)

      Funny how that's coming from the guy who's indexing it all so we can find it easier.

      While Google may be the dominant information indexer, what they're doing doesn't require any special magic. Anybody can be indexing some or all of the information is out there (it's publicly-available, after all). Google being both dominant and public gives us a good idea of what can be done, but if Google didn't exist or limited itself, others would surely step in to fill that gap. It doesn't make what Mr. Schmidt said any less true.

      To some degree we should count ourselves lucky that Google is both dominant and public. Imagine all of that information (still) being used against you, but you not having any idea of the vast quantity and depth of correlation that could be done.

  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bieber ( 998013 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:01PM (#33292152)

    "We're trying to figure out what the future of search is," Mr Schmidt said. “One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type. "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

    Surely he jests. I know Google hasn't always been the most steadfast guardian of personal privacy, but coming right out and stating that you want your company to become so intertwined with peoples' lives that it will plan their future for them? That's just creepy...

  • Or (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:05PM (#33292210)

    people will stop acting like trash because there will be more consequences and the world will be a better place to live in.

    Also, get over yourself, google.

    • Gosh, first reaction so far that puts the shoe on the other foot. Uptil this post everyone complains basically that their criminal record can come back to haunt them. Oh noes! Being held accountable for your actions! What will the world turn into.

      Don't think that your dream will happen AC. Notice you yourself don't even dare to post it under your own account and face the karma burn.

      People learning to accept the consequences of their actions and therefor restrain themselves from actions that might hurt the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      People do stop acting like trash. Teenagers who do stupid and sometimes malicious things (and perhaps experience consequences for their actions) can grow up to be responsible adults. I could name names, but won't. That's not the problem here.

      The problem is that, given the information now available, it doesn't make any difference if they stop acting like trash. They'll still face all the consequences of acting like trash without having any of the fun. The only solution is to never have acted like tra

  • by stagg ( 1606187 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:05PM (#33292218)
    This kind of schlock comes from the same corporate minds that have been pushing for real names and credit card information to be associated with all online interactions. I'd like to go back to taking anonymous aliases for granted again please.
  • by Urd.Yggdrasil ( 1127899 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:07PM (#33292234)
    I have the same name as a Canadian hockey player, though unintentionally, and virtually every result for my name on Google is for him. If your name is common enough and you practice information control over yourself you can almost completely avoid being in Google's system. The real problem is that youths are willing to give out vast amounts of personal information, partially because they don't realize the value of such information and partially because they are stupid kids.
  • Or maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EraserMouseMan ( 847479 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:07PM (#33292236)
    People will grow up and learn that stupidity has consequences. Then train their kids to live productive giving lives instead of wasting their youth on idleness and pointlessly looking for lines to color outside of just to prove they are different.

    Instead of planning on changing your name when you grow up you can choose be responsible instead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You have unreasonable expectations.

      Show me someone who never did anything stupid as a kid, and I'll show you someone who can't possibly raise his kids "right" because he's never going to have any.

    • Re:Or maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tekfactory ( 937086 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:52PM (#33292982) Homepage

      I'm all for personal responsibility, but you have to make some choices when you're growing up, these choices all happen to you when your decision making faculties are still developing.

      I don't mean the particles of experience (mistakes) that lead to better judgement later, I mean the scaffolding of the mechanism is still being developed. Teenagers and Twenty Somethings make bad descisions because the decision making part of the brain is still being finished.

      I can't count the number of things that happened before I was 20 that should have killed me, I do know my insurance company dropped me before I was 18 because 1 person can only wreck so many cars.

      I was wondering a while back if we couldn't have facebook for teens, then twenty somethings, then grown ups. When you graduate from one to the other, you old comments are sealed like court records. It hit me when I was riding with a cowowrker who was tellimg me the awful stuff her daughter posted on FB.

      Kids are going to do stupid crap, there's got to be a statute of limitations for your childhood. Even background investigations and bankruptcies only go back 10 years.

    • Re:Or maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kevin Stevens ( 227724 ) <kevstev AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:54PM (#33293890)

      So when you were younger you never:

      Made fun of or teased anyone in a way which now as an adult you would regret?
      Held views that you now would be embarrassed by?
      Were an ardent fan of music or specific bands that might have promoted views of lifestyles you no longer want to be associated with?
      Enjoyed songs or lyrics that may have others think you are depressed, angry, or prone to violent behavior?
      Drank alcohol before you were of legal age, or attended parties that might give the appearance that you were drinking before legal age?
      Experimented with drugs, or you associated with people or groups that may give the appearance that you experimented with drugs?
      Said anything that could be misunderstood for you saying that you partook in illegal activities including drug use.
      Spoke in a style (IE LOL, or 1337 speak) that you would be embarrassed by as an adult, or maybe you are not personally embarrassed by on a personal level, but on a professional level you don't want others to see?

        It's not about being responsible. Schmidt is just pointing out that now everyone has to essentially conduct their lives as if they are politicians and be very aware of who could be recording their actions and how they could be perceived. This is somewhat acceptable as an adult, but it is an unfair burden to put on kids, especially when a 14 year old is really incapable of understanding how putting lyrics to their favorite rap song on their Facebook page may look down the road to someone doing research on them when they are interviewing at an investment bank.

      • I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @10:56PM (#33296958) Homepage Journal

        Schmidt is *wrong*.

        There will always be unforgiving, vindictive, dishonest, and just plain cruel people. And some of them will hold hiring authority.

        But, if you don't want to work with those kinds of people, you don't have to worry about being honest with your past. Why does anyone want to work for a company that:

        1. Wants to peer into their private lives.
        2. Is more concerned with their extra-curricular activities than their ability to do a job.
        3. Is unwilling to forgive and forget?
        4. Will ask them to work unpaid overtime, reduce their wages when times are tough, and lay them off to increase the profit during an already profitable year?

        I've worked in this kind of environment and I don't miss it at all. You shouldn't give up your freedom because other people are jerks. If an employer won't hire you because you committed a few youthful indiscretions, you can bet they won't treat you like a person, either.

  • by travdaddy ( 527149 ) <> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:08PM (#33292254)
    "the young will have to change their names when reaching adulthood to avoid their youthful indiscretions"

    OK guys, I have to admit, girls are WAY ahead of us on this one.
  • what happens (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:12PM (#33292324) Journal

    I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time

    Why, it becomes SOCIETY again. Way back before towns had 29 million people in them and mobility wasn't hyperamplified by oil and 99% of us interacted with the same few hundred folks every day of your life, people knew of the stupid shit you did when you were a kid and repeated it at your funeral.

    But they also recognized that kids are ignorant, impulsive, incompetent beings, and they treated the adult differently and got on with the world.

    I don't believe Mr. Schmidt understands what society is.

    I know he doesn't understand what neutrality is.

    I'm pretty sure he's lost the plot on evil, as well.

  • by BenFranske ( 646563 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:14PM (#33292346) Homepage

    This is not a new discussion... there have been people thinking about this for some time. In March of 2006 I wrote an article on my blog about it (reproduced below) which eventually led to me consulting with Public Radio on a show they were doing at the time about online public information (you can listen to an archived copy of that at October 12, 2007: Your Exposed Life on MPR []

    My Original Article 3/24/2006:

    I've often wondered who will be able to run for political office in forty or fifty years. People, especially youg people, seem to be so naive about posting things online. For years online forums and message boards have been a place where people vented. Now sites like Myspace, Facebook and others are creating such a low barrier to entry that almost every middle and high school child in the United States has some kind of web presence. What many fail to understand is that once something is posted or "said" on the internet it never goes away...ever. The internet is also quite easy to search if you know what you're doing. This dangerous combination means that everything you write to a message board can be found at some point in the future and "can and will be used against you". Any kind of off-color comment or joke you ever made online, even if your intention wasn't to hurt anyone, is public knowledge.

    Employers already know about this. BusinessWeek recently ran an article called "You are what you post" that talked about some of the implications for job seeking but I think the arena where this will really get the consultants salivating is politics. There are so few people who are able to hold their tongue and never offend anyone. In the past politicians have relied primarily on obscuring and making it difficult to find embarrassing things about their past. When today's teens start running for political office these things will only be an internet search away. Remember that posting to that email discussion list about STDs you made when you were 15? How about that time someone on a message board got you mad and you called them a racial slur? You may have forgotten these incidents but the internet has not and neither will your enemies.

    I wonder if the politicians of the future will need to be groomed from birth to have no defects and think very, very carefully before ever speaking. On the other hand our society may end up becoming more accepting of faults which would not be an all bad outcome. This remains to be seen but in the meantime those of us who have always tried to think about how what we say today could come back (for better or worse) in the future are going to be much better off than the indiscriminate masses.

  • by JohnQPublic ( 158027 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:29PM (#33292618)

    Sounds like Clarke and Baxter's "Light of Other Days". Societal impacts in the book were huge.

  • If you really care (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:30PM (#33292640)

    Register a fake name with Facebook etc... as that is what we are really talking about here.

    I already have friends on Facebook that are registered under an assumed name. It can be a bit confusing at first, but its just like having an online handle in the old days.

    It's not like Facebook can actually check or anything. The only problem is that if everyone does this, then no one can find one another, which totally negates any reason for using Facebook. If a few do it, no one can find you, but you just add everyone else that you know.

    Anyway I guess if you really think this stuff through, then it is in Facebooks very best interest to straighten up and start enforcing some strict privacy protocals, because as soon as everyone starts using aliases, Facebooks entire business plan falls to pieces.

    Or you could show some common sense and not post anything you remotely care about on sites like Facebook, and if your friends do, then unfriend them.

  • by macbeth66 ( 204889 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:30PM (#33292648)

    When I interview these recent grads and see nothing out there, I wonder, did they have NO life or did they manage to erase their past?

    If I see that the kid went to some parties and got sh*t-faced, so what, many of us did that. But, if I find nothing, my imagination is left to fill in the blanks.

    • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:54PM (#33293024)

      So, you'll base hiring decisions on wild speculation about someone's past? When you see nothing on Facebook about someone, do you dream that they're a serial killer or a space alien? What company do you work for?

    • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:56PM (#33293054)

      When I interview these recent grads and see nothing out there, I wonder, did they have NO life or did they manage to erase their past?

      I am too busy living my life to spend any time whoring it out on social sites to thousands of people I don't even know. But I suppose having a sense of privacy makes me some kind of sociopath with skeletons in the closet. I don't understand the need some people have to tell everybody every thing they do. Do you also have sex with every person who happens to come within 10 feet of you? Why the hell are people so promiscuous with their "friendship?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Erase, or just took care to not record themselves with identifiable info in the first place?

      I'd take it as a sign they developed their senses at an early age (assuming they had Internet at their early age).

    • if I find nothing, my imagination is left to fill in the blanks

      If only your imagination was good enough to conceive that many names are so common that thousands of others share it, and many people have more of a life than "creating an internet presence". I don't know how long you've been out of school, but the inability to find someone on the internet doesn't mean jack shit. You really sound like an idiot, to be frank.

      If you google my name, you don't find me. If you add in the last two places I worked, you STILL don't find me, even though I was listed on both places websites for a long time. If you add in my undergraduate college, you find a current bio on me at the place I work now. But that's it. That's the bulk of my online presence you can find using google, browsing Facebook, etc.

      Why you'd assume that lack of internet presence is any indication of anything is beyond me. I've got a pretty damn active social life, am very active online, and I've got a pretty long career behind me. All of this I'll tell you when you interview me, and give you contacts to check into these things.

      But a random search? Doesn't find much of anything. If you base hiring decisions on that lack of information, you're an idiot.

    • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:35PM (#33294396)

      But, if I find nothing, my imagination is left to fill in the blanks.

      Er... maybe you shouldn't be the one interviewing people, because those blanks are going to be filled in by every prejudice you don't even know you had.

      It's like the example Carl Sagan gave on Cosmos.

      Observation of Venus: We can't see a thing.
      Conclusion about surface: Dinosaurs!

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:45PM (#33292862)

    People are freaked out about this but they have not factored in that future world is one where the same is true of EVERYONE. When everyone has stuff going way back into childhood online, people will also be a lot more accepting of weird past stuff coming up on people.

    Don't forget that it also serves as a record of all the GOOD you have done as well, when kids reach college age they may tend to perhaps volunteer more or do other helpful things recorded online to help them later. There is no system you cannot game for your benefit.

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:46PM (#33292882)
    If Net Neutrality is not preserved then it won't matter. The internet will be fragmented and so will the information on it.
  • by afiske ( 1639599 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:03PM (#33293154)
    I'll just name my kid Anonymous Coward. Then at least whatever they do on Slashdot won't come back to haunt them...
  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:18PM (#33293386) Homepage Journal

    Hardly any employers are really taking minor youthful indiscretions seriously. The ones that are are losing out competitively to the ones that don't, because they aren't hiring the best people. Unless you've done something quite surprising, you are going to be fine:

    Talented, but drunk in college? Hired.

    Talented, but dressed up stupidly in college? Hired.

    Talented, but had sex in college? Hired.

    Talented, but made a fool of yourself in college? Hired.

    Talented, but murdered someone in college? Maybe not.

  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:30PM (#33293560) Homepage

    There will be enough links that you'll still be traceable back to your old identity... facial recognition, social security number, address history, and so on.

  • Hope? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:50PM (#33293832) Homepage
    Maybe I'm just being naive, but I kind of hope that as our indiscretions become more and more public, we'll stop pointing fingers at each other for their indiscretions. Glass houses, and all that.
  • by npsimons ( 32752 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @09:01PM (#33296136) Homepage Journal

    To all those who tagged this article "dontdostupidstuff", for what definition of stupid are you talking about? Do you mean "stupid stuff" like shoot your mouth off online? Or how about the "stupid stuff" of being a member of a political party that is later rounded up and harrassed []? How about being a member of *any* group (non-religious [], sexual [], intellectual [], ethnic [] . . . ) that is later legislated to be "dangerous" or "stupid", or is just plain discriminated against?

    The fact of the matter remains that until human society is tolerant enough to accept people for being innocuously different (where "innocuous" means "not harmful to others"), then privacy will still be necessary. In other words, privacy will be necessary for the foreseeable future. "dontdostupidstuff" indeed.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham