As you might know, I am one of those people who were kicked from Google+ for using a pseudonym. Google is not about to change the policy, if you value your anonymity on the internet, Google+ is probably just not for you. But that might actually be a wise move anyway, because all Google+ seems to be is one big fat honeypot, designed to collect user’s real names and track their movements on the internet, to then sell your data to the highest bidder, or any bidder at all.
It’s reported that Google CEO Eric Schmidt replied to a question regarding the use of pseudonyms from the audience during a recent TV festival event in Edinburgh thusly :
He replied by saying that G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information.
Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria, people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to their government’s own policies, which implies (to me, at least) that Schmidt thinks there’s no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms.
This totalitarian outlook on a future internet is shared by an obscure agency in the USA putting together a “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC)”, that envisions the internet as a “vibrant marketplace” with an identity ecosystem, but when I read up on how exactly they envision this, my association is more with an Orwellian scenario of complete lack of privacy, and total trackability :
For example, student Jane Smith could get a digital credential from her cell phone provider and another one from her university and use either of them to log-in to her bank, her e-mail, her social networking site, and so on, all without having to remember dozens of passwords. If she uses one of these credentials to log into her Web email, she could use only her pseudonym, “Jane573.” If however she chose to use the credential to log-in to her bank she could prove that she is truly Jane Smith. People and institutions could have more trust online because all participating service providers will have agreed to consistent standards for identification, authentication, security, and privacy.
Facebook is trying something similar with their Passport. And Google wants to get its share of this multi-billion dollar identity service business with Google+. That’s what it is about, collecting as many real names and tracking data as possible, not you doing social networking with your friends. Use at your own peril.