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Facebook Exec: Online Anonymity Must Go Away 553

Posted by Soulskill
from the show-your-support-anonymously dept.
Chaonici writes "The EFF has a blog post about what appears to be Facebook's stance on anonymity on the Internet. Speaking last week at a social media conference hosted by Marie Claire magazine, Facebook's Marketing Director, Randi Zuckerburg, is quoted: 'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.' This position appears to apply to the entire Internet, not just Facebook (which already requires that its users post real names instead of pseudonyms). The EFF goes on to point out how this would be a bad choice for civil liberties online."
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Facebook Exec: Online Anonymity Must Go Away

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  • Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:10AM (#36970608)
    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
    • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rwven (663186) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:19AM (#36970704)

      You're comparing apples to pineapples here. We're not talking about government, which was the context of Franklin's quote. We're talking about online accountability. Facebook isn't pushing some law that states you have to be public with your online profile.

      While I don't necessarily agree with Zuckerberg's his point, i do agree with his sentiment. People use anonymity on the internet to be complete pricks. It's easy to talk a pile of trash when you aren't accountable for your blathering. Doing away with anonymity adds at least SOME accountability to your online life.

      That said, anonymity is also required in many cases, internet or not, to preserve life, liberty, etc. This is why Zuckerberg can talk all day long, but the government should NEVER get involved in any decisions about this.

      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:25AM (#36970780) Journal
        I think that the main problem, aside from good old fashioned scope/mission creep, is that the less 'normative' online anonymity becomes, the more anonymity tends to stand out. Unless you are damn good, a substantial portion of your actual anonymity, if you are trying to be anonymous, comes from the fact that the internet is a torrent of psuedo-anonymous and unverified noise. If it becomes the case that all the good little people who have nothing to hide move neatly in authenticated rows to keep them from being pricks, the people who need anonymity will stand out like sore thumbs, unless they have serious chops or serious resources.
      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@nosPAm.eircom.net> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:45AM (#36971036) Homepage Journal

        We're talking about online accountability.

        Really? I though we were talking about online anonymity. I don't see why the two concepts should be conflated.

      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kilfarsnar (561956) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:24AM (#36971506)

        While I don't necessarily agree with Zuckerberg's his point, i do agree with his sentiment. People use anonymity on the internet to be complete pricks. It's easy to talk a pile of trash when you aren't accountable for your blathering.

        This is true, but so what? I would much rather have anonymity than be free of jerks. If someone is just mouthing off, they tend to be treated accordingly by others. I don't see rude comments online as a problem. Heck, I make rude comments sometimes, and I use this same handle all across the Internet. Besides, as Michael Kristopeit has demonstrated, using your real name doesn't keep you from being rude.

        • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:4, Insightful)

          by HermMunster (972336) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @09:45AM (#36972650)

          Finally someone that makes a solid point.

          The next part of the process is to recognize that Facebook has no stake in controlling behavior, thus making discussions about it a dead horse. From their perspective anyway. If you speak about anonymity as it relates to behavior it is easier to motivate others to allow control of one through the other, providing the side benefit of making your already collected mega piles of data all that much more valuable.

          Their motivation is greed of money.

      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:44AM (#36971778)

        If you believe that alphatel compared apples to apples then you demonstrate you don't have a grasp on what you are talking about, which you demonstrate quite well in the rest of your post. If you did grasp the subject, you would understand that anonymity means just that: lack of accountability regarding one's statements. To put it more precisely, and to underline what you failed to understand, anonymity means that you (or anyone) can say anything without having to worry that someone who dislikes what you (or anyone) just said can punish you from saying precisely that. And that is a direct attack on the core of any society which likes to portray itself as being free.

        As an example, you complained that some people on the internet are "complete pricks" and that they only say that because they "aren't accountable for their blathering". The thing is, who are you to judge who is a "prick" and what amounts to "blathering"? Are you aware that you, by making this sort of comment, can be seen by someone as being a "prick" who is "blathering" on the internet? And what if those who see you as a "prick" who "blathers" on the internet decide that you should be made accountable for your "blathering"? And what if that "blathering" is a swift ass kicking to teach you some manners? That is very possible if you aren't anonymous.

        It has become very clear that those who defend the elimination of any anonymity are either completely oblivious to the consequences of what they are advocating or itching to oppress those who happen to say things that they don't personally approve. Advocating the elimination of anonymity represents a threat to everyone, and those who defend that they want you to lose your anonymity are in fact defending that "I want to know where you and your loved ones live, because if you say something I dislike you will hear from me". And this is terribly frightening, and has absolutely no place in a free society.

        So, please think things through. It is a lot better to have some internet tough guy acting like a prick onilne then having a deranged psycho knocking on your door because he frowned upon your statement on (politics|religion). And this is exactly what you are defending with your poorly thought-through ideas.

      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:47AM (#36971810)

        People use anonymity on the internet to be complete pricks.

        Yes, they do. So what?

        It's easy to talk a pile of trash when you aren't accountable for your blathering. Doing away with anonymity adds at least SOME accountability to your online life.

        It would indeed add accountability to your online life, which would be a bug, not a feature.

        Random anonymous people on the net can't harm you. They can say things that you find offensive, but that's your problem not theirs. The fact that people can be complete assholes without any form of accountability is the single greatest feature of the internet. In addition to all the trolls that you hate so much, there's also a lot of unadulterated truth. I'm more than willing to put up with and ignore the trolls in order to have such a free forum.

        That said, anonymity is also required in many cases, internet or not, to preserve life, liberty, etc. This is why Zuckerberg can talk all day long, but the government should NEVER get involved in any decisions about this.

        I agree with that. However, if it's not illegal, someone will market to the people that want anonymity, so either the government gets involved, or we don't get rid of anonymity on the net.

      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcelrath (8027) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:49AM (#36971834) Homepage

        One man's online asshat is another man's crusader. Question is...do the people who think you're an asshat have guns/thugs/policemen/jails? Doesn't matter if the government requires your identity or a private organization...only if those who think you're an asshat have access to your Facebook profile.

        Asshattery is a price we pay for freedom. It's not pretty but it's one I'm willing to accept. Psychologists have long shown the tendency of people to self-censor when their identity is known or they could be held accountable for their actions (hey it's only logical). When important things need to be said, they should be said, anonymously if necessary, rather than everyone self-censoring until the situation blows up in our faces. Look at Turkmenistan or North Korea or Thailand for examples of self-censorship regarding their glorious leaders...

        Not only will the revolution not be televised, it also won't be on Facebook.

        For a more 1st world example, imagine posting something critical of a certain candidate or party in the US. Imagine then that party data-mining online posts, classifying people into "favorable" or "unfavorable" to their side using some basic NLP. If they have your name, then they correlate that with voter rolls (which parties have access to), so now they know where you live. Then they use that information to gerrymander your district so that your vote is marginalized, and thus, engineer the election result. I'd be surprised if this isn't happening right now in the US.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        It's easy to talk a pile of trash when you aren't accountable for your blathering.

        I think the danger here is obvious just from your post, and that's the mindset that being a prick, talking a pile of trash, or blathering is anything that one needs to be "accountable for".

    • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:23AM (#36970762)

      Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

      Now updated for the 21st century:

      Those who would give up their privacy for Zuckerburg deserve everything they get.

    • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:29AM (#36970838) Journal
      These days, people are willing to give up their freedoms for convenience, not just for safety. On the one hand, it's a positive reflection on society that most people are never in a position of having to give something up for safety. On the other hand, it's a fairly damning indictment of the individuals that they value their civilisation so little.
    • Hes not talking about safety, hes talking about this [penny-arcade.com], and on that count hes not wrong-- people DO behave better when theyre not totally anonymous.

      Whether or not we actually want this enforced by an agency with teeth is a totally different conversation (I vote no).

      Also, Im not sure I (or Ben, for that matter) would qualify "being anonymous on the internet" as "Essential Liberty". It is a disservice to take the mans words and stretch them way beyond what he was referring to.

      • No. This is about his business model, not about behavior. Tracking a MAC address is normal these days. Facebook knows where most conversations come from, and what Facebook needs are the specifics so as to tie you into a profile.

        Google is worse still, but Google is more clever and knows most everything about you, right down to the freckles on your butt.

        • Google is worse still, but Google is more clever and knows most everything about you, right down to the freckles on your butt.

          Are they? Maybe in the data they have gathered; but I think Facebook is doing their best to fix it. I'll wait for a final opinion on Google+, but up till now Google has actively resisted giving full data out to advertisers and was keeping pretty good data protection internally (from what I could tell from the outside, admittedly). Google has the potential to become lots worse than Facebook, but in terms of selling on and making available personal data about you, Facebook has been much worse.

          Facebook ha

      • Re:Thus spoke Ben (Score:5, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:03AM (#36971236)

        Im not sure I (or Ben, for that matter) would qualify "being anonymous on the internet" as "Essential Liberty"

        Good thing the supreme court has ruled that the ability to speak anonymously is fundamental to freedom of speech, and represents an important protection against tyranny of the majority:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McIntyre_v._Ohio_Elections_Commission [wikipedia.org]

        The courts have ruled that this extends to online communication:

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doe_v._Cahill
        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrite_International,_Inc._v._Doe_No._3
        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobilisa,_Inc._v._Doe

        Finally, I am pretty sure Dr. Franklin would agree that anonymous speech is important, given that he published "Abridgment of the Book of Common Prayer" anonymously.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:55AM (#36971150) Journal

      Actually, I find that whenever someone is telling you to give up your rights for your own good, it's not really safety they have in mind. Usually they're just trying to shaft you somehow, but they can't just say "bend over and squeal like a pig, I'm gonna make big money out of shafting you peons." So they have to pack it in some idiocy about how it's for your own good.

      Applies to everything from 10'th century warlords promising you protection if you just put your thumbprint here and sell yourself into serfdom, to politicians, to the likes of Zuckerburg.

      In his case, it's not even hard to see why. I mean, really, you could summarize the summary as "Guy who gets his money by selling your data to marketers, says your right to privacy has got to go. Reaches for the standard 'it's to protect you from other pricks' canned excuse. Film at 11." Well, whop-de-do. Big surprise that he wants that, eh?

    • by syousef (465911)

      Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

      Nah I think it's fair enough. This turd thinks Internet Anonymity should go away. I think he should go away and take the abomination that is Facebook with him. If Facebook is people behaving much better, I'm a chimp.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      And revealing your own name can be disastrous for some people. Bully victims and people in need of protection from stalkers are a few.

      Of course there are trolls and other kinds of weird people on the net, but a law won't stop them - they will just steal someone's identity and continue. Use the ID of the local bum or grandmother and you can blow by all gates.

      The reality is that the net actually works relatively fine as it is. The subversive forces will always be there and find channels for their deeds. The U [wikipedia.org]

  • by Xiph (723935) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:13AM (#36970634)

    Anonymous Online person: Corporate people must go away !

    • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:37AM (#36970930) Homepage

      That's a HUGE no-shitter there. People hide behind corporate identities to hide from accountability for their actions. Just look at what Cisco did. They lied to the US Dept. of Justice to get them to do their bidding which was to contact the Canadian officials to have a man who was suing them arrested and detained so that he could not continue his case against them. If an individual with a name were responsible for this, there would be charges, an arrest, a trial and likely imprisonment. What will "Cisco" get? Pretty much a free pass on the whole matter.

      Corporate person-hood should go away and the individuals making the decisions should be exposed for doing what they do. And no longer should corporate "persons" enjoy rights of actual living people.

      • by ScentCone (795499)

        People hide behind corporate identities to hide from accountability for their actions

        Really? Which big corporation are you thinking of - especially a publicly-traded one - that manages to operate without people readily knowing who their shareholders, board, and executives are? Please be specific.

        Of course, you're complaining about law enforcement, not about what it means to form and operate a business, aren't you? Plenty of corporate employees and corporations themselves get into actual, real legal hot water. What you're complaining about (getting unusually easy treatment from law enfor

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:14AM (#36970642) Journal

    'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.'

    This quote makes it sound like this is a very recent realization and that this problem hasn't existed since the beginning of the internet. Furthermore, it totally overlooks one half of the double edged sword of anonymity online. You may retain your privacy through anonymity, you may be safer from stalkers and thieves by remaining anonymous and you can speak without fear of retaliation -- whether that be deserved (the only cases Randi Zuckerberg seems to be able to conjure up) or undeserved.

    I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine. Is it impossible for Facebook to spend the effort to discover how they could accomplish the same thing?

    Furthermore what in the world is she saying "on the Internet" for? Here's an idea: you stick to Facebook and the rest of the sovereign internet will follow or not follow your lead.

    And yet further, I would argue that implementing a verification system is more complicated and more risky than simply dealing with spam and trolls in an intuitive way. Do you propose we each have some secret identification string that establishes our true identity on a given site? And when those are lifted wholesale by a foreign entity [slashdot.org] what then, Randi?

    Side rant: Holy nepotism [wikipedia.org], Batman! Hey, Mark, did you ever think that maybe Facebook wouldn't be so hated and being thrashed so much in Public Relations if the person in charge of it actually earned that position by merit? How do I know your sister didn't achieve this position by merit? If she was good enough to hold this high of a position at one of the most valuable internet companies, she would have known to issue a non-statement on anonymity as she would have researched this problem just a little bit more than relying on her psychology degree to say "Gee, people are jerks when they can say whatever they want--let's just stop that." She didn't offer a solution and all she did was piss a bunch of people off. GO TEAM ZUCKERBERG!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine.

      You say that but in practise anonymous comments are censored through obscurity on Slashdot - low-scoring posts are pushed off the first 50, and sit beneath the majority default browse level, coupled with almost nobody wishing to mod up an anonymous comment since there is no personal benefit in doing so.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        mod parent up!...and me too!

      • by tbannist (230135)

        Your statements aren't mutually exclusive. Anonymous comments can and do get modded up, if they're really good, but most of them deserve to be obscure.

        But there is a difference between anonymity and pseudonymity, which might be confused here.

      • Dunno, I see your comment just fine with no adjustments. And I dont think its a problem that Slashdot and Amazon et al rank logged in users higher than anonymous-- anonymous users are undeniably more likely to post goatse, fristpsot, etc, and less likely to contribute meaningfully.

      • by yahwotqa (817672) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:44AM (#36971010)

        I routinely mod up AC comments which add to the discussion. It looks like people here forget that moderation is not about karma and accounts, but more about particular posts and their contribution to the discussion.

      • by JackDW (904211) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:46AM (#36971042) Homepage

        I use a +3 modifier for ACs because AC posts are often (but not always) more interesting than named posts. I think this is because people speak more freely if they are able to do so without a permanent record of whatever they said which is forever attached to their name (or handle).

        The disadvantage of anonymity is group identity, when a mob forms, and people act like assholes because their identities are hidden. See the KKK, or any other group of masked anonymous persons, online or off.

        But group identity isn't always the result. Anonymity also promotes individualism, because an anonymous individual can feel free to go against the group identity. You would be lynched for standing in the middle of a large crowd and vehemently disagreeing with the crowd on some subject. But if you can be anonymous - well, you speak freely.

        On Slashdot, this form is most common. ACs are the ones who step out of line and post things that are completely at odds with the groupthink on some particular topic. Sometimes, this is just garbage. Other times, it is refreshing insight.

        And yes, when I see the latter, I mod it up.

      • by mooingyak (720677)

        I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine.

        You say that but in practise anonymous comments are censored through obscurity on Slashdot - low-scoring posts are pushed off the first 50, and sit beneath the majority default browse level, coupled with almost nobody wishing to mod up an anonymous comment since there is no personal benefit in doing so.

        There's also a level of semi anonymity. My real name isn't actually mooingyak (I bet that made you gasp).

    • by Stellian (673475) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:27AM (#36970808)

      I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine.

      But I'm not anonymous, I'm Stellian, well known slashdot lurker and kook. I have a nice karma and care about my reputation, so I try my best to behave. See, no childporn or viruses in this post.

      If I disclose my real identity complete with full name and postal address:
        - it will not improve the quality of my posts; facebook is a perfect example on non-anonymous people incapable, on average, to produce any useful content
        - it will not stop other anonymous people to do illegal things, in fact criminals will always try to remain anonymous when operating, just like in the real world
        - it will allow an anonymous stock owner of facebook/slashdot/etc. to make a few bucks more by farming my data

      No, anonymity is not going anywhere and I will refuse to use any service does not respect my privacy

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:35AM (#36970902) Journal
        Absolutely agreed. The important thing is reputation, not identity. Reputation tied to an identity is useful, but the mapping from identities to people does not have to be 1:1. Ideally, each individual should have multiple identities in different contexts. People do in real life - most people have distinct (possibly overlapping) groups of colleagues and friends, and don't behave in the same way at work and in the pub.
        • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:03AM (#36971232) Homepage

          All true. The most important part of anonymity (or pseudonymity) on the internet though, is that it gives voice to those who'd otherwise be silenced.

          That includes a *lot* of people living in all sorts of opressive circumstances, ranging from intolerant conservative christian parents of a gay teenager, up to governments who say straight out that they'll kill anyone who believe in the wrong thing (say atheists in Iran)

          Giving those people a voice, has a *lot* of value to me.

        • by plover (150551) *

          . People do in real life - most people have distinct (possibly overlapping) groups of colleagues and friends, and don't behave in the same way at work and in the pub.

          Well, I do. And let me tell you, trotting out a powerpoint presentation at the pub is a total buzzkill.

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        an interesting comment: "it will allow an anonymous stock owner of facebook/slashdot/etc. to make a few bucks more by farming my data"

        forget the stock owners. what about the advertisers, data aggregators, etc. they are currently anonymous and behind the scenes. maybe if they want non-anonymity, they need to be more up front on what else goes on. how about at the bottom of my news feed is a feed of "here's who's scraped or sold your data today".

    • Side rant: Holy nepotism [wikipedia.org], Batman! Hey, Mark, did you ever think that maybe Facebook wouldn't be so hated and being thrashed so much in Public Relations if the person in charge of it actually earned that position by merit?

      Side response: How do you know she isn't qualified? Just because she said something with which you disagree?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's interesting that they are making this statement while Google (specifically, G+) is being blasted for its stance on anonymity.

      If Google should come around on this (anonymity is a necessity for free speech, if Google wants to be the de facto means for communication they are going to have to enable free speech) while Facebook is loudly declaring themselves to be assholes, then Google becomes a hero and FB disappears overnight.

      If Google decides to continue attacking anonymity, then I get that creepy feelin

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        It's interesting that they are making this statement while Google (specifically, G+) is being blasted for its stance on anonymity.

        If Google should come around on this (anonymity is a necessity for free speech, if Google wants to be the de facto means for communication they are going to have to enable free speech) while Facebook is loudly declaring themselves to be assholes, then Google becomes a hero and FB disappears overnight.

        If Google decides to continue attacking anonymity, then I get that creepy feeling that everyone is out to get me.

        That is by no means a no-brainer. Some people like anonymity. Some like to be able to parse their email contacts etc and find the users on the social network, or look up "what ever happened to my friend Stephen from school". I really don't know which would attract most people.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          That is by no means a no-brainer. Some people like anonymity. Some like to be able to parse their email contacts etc and find the users on the social network, or look up "what ever happened to my friend Stephen from school". I really don't know which would attract most people.

          I suspect a false dichotomy would attract most people. Er, wait.

          You can have both on the same network at once. Facebook does, and it works fine. Well, not so fine for their purposes of knowing everything about everyone, but fine enough for the users.

      • From what I've read -- mostly by following tweets by Skud [twitter.com] on the subject -- there are a significant number of people inside Google who aren't happy with the "real names" policy. Even accepting the intent, it's poorly executed, as it makes some classic blunders in its assumptions about what forms names take. It strikes me as a case in which someone at the top of the food chain insisted on a simple, stupid idea.

        I think you're quite right: there's a real opening for Google to express contrition, revamp its pol

    • by lucidlyTwisted (2371896) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:41AM (#36970992)

      My name is Simon Wimpleblode, I am 34 years old, I live in Cape Town, I am an accountant.

      I could create just such a profile in Facebook (or G+ or...) and not be "anonymous" as far as they are concerned, but without the ability to verify primary ID, they have no way to prove whether anything I have claimed is true in any way. All that remains of any worth is the identity/persona that is Simon Wimpleblode, and that's the same whether I am using an obvious handle or not.

      Without some massive, world-wide scheme to link IP multiple-addresses back to primary, state-approved ID; there is no way to actually remove anonymity. All that handles allow you to to is segregate the on-line-self from the real-world-self and there could be many reason for wanting to do that. If the on-line-self has value (e.g. contributes to projects, respected blog, whatever) then it matters not if the consumers know the real ID or not, the content/product is what is of value and the trust built-up over time.

      If people are trolling ass-hats, let the community/admins deal with those accounts as required. If people are weird in the head and prone to stalking, threats etc then I rather doubt that a lack of anonymity will dissuade them.

      The only reason FB et al want anonymity gone is so that they can link the on-line-self to the real-world-self and thus sell more advertising. That's it. End of discussion.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        My name is Simon Wimpleblode, I am 34 years old, I live in Cape Town, I am an accountant.

        No I'm Simon Wimpleblode!

      • Wishing I had Mod to up this - succinct, lucid (no pun intended) and the only real compromise between anonymous trolls and preserving personal freedom.

        And as someone posted previously, a compromise being well handled here.
  • Ulterior motives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atomicstrawberry (955148) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:15AM (#36970660)

    Company with vested interest in tracking people by their actual names online thinks everyone should use their real names online?

    • by vlm (69642)

      Company with vested interest in tracking people by their actual names online thinks everyone should use their real names online?

      Also their product is selling their viewers... nothing repels viewers more than endless anonymous comment spam. Therefore anonymous is a direct threat to profits in general, not even counting targeted advertising.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:15AM (#36970666) Journal
    It seems only fair to let them lead by example. Anybody know what it would cost(in round numbers) to get more or less panopticon-caliber surveillance done, 24/7 on the upper echelons of the house that Zuck built? Perhaps some of Rupert's boys are back on the market?
  • While I'm perfectly fine with beating the Internet Fuckwad Theory, repressive politics, not just in China, but also their recent rise in the west, requires that anonymity has to be possible.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anonymity will be the standard, since the laws of humans are no match for the laws of mathematics.

    Lack of anonymity invites intimidation, surveillance, censorship and prejudice. This is what must go.

    (captcha: attacks)

    P.S. Reputation can be conveyed pseudonymously. If the holder of public key A is known for good behaviour, you may be justified in trusting them, even without any high authority (to whom you'd have doubtless no access anyway) knowing what color of underwear they prefer to buy, and how frequentl

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:22AM (#36970736) Journal

    Who cares what some manager at the next Geocities has to say about it? Facebook is a fad, it too will pass.

    -jcr

  • Anonymity on Internet used to be a rare exception. It's the spammers/identity thieves/excessively nosy employers who made it this way. Does the author really want to get phone calls based on sites he visits online.

  • by rbrausse (1319883) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:22AM (#36970742)

    It's kind of funny that The People(tm) argue about the Internet as if it is completely unrelated to the real world. no one (I hope..) would say "I think anonymity on the streets has to go away. People behave a lot better when they are tagged with their real names."

    I'm cool with using my real name in the web (see my account at /.), but I would never accept regulations that ban pseudonyms.

  • Randi Is Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:23AM (#36970746)
    "The Internet" is not Facebook, no matter how much it may feel that way for Facebook principals. If Facebook, or Google+, or whatever trendy social network fad of the year wants to require real names, fine. I can think of many cases where such a policy is desirable. The operator of this or that service should be free to adopt the policy that meets their needs, but extended that policy to the Internet as a whole is just absurd.
  • by seebs (15766) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:23AM (#36970752) Homepage

    A friend of mine used to be pretty open about her online identity... until she got a box of sex toys mailed to her with no return address.

    The arguments for lack-of-privacy are fundamentally inconsistent. We are told that people "behave better" when there is a risk of consequences, but also that there are no harmful consequences. These cannot both be true. While most people don't need privacy most of the time, you rarely know in advance that you will later turn out to have needed privacy.

    People tend to make arguments like "well, don't do anything you'd be ashamed of", but this only works if you have a guarantee that the rest of the people in the world are all basically sane. They're not. Furthermore, lots of people don't get a choice; you don't get to say "hmm, lots of people object to transgendered people, guess I won't be one."

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      And it only took a box of sex toys? Amazing. Usually it takes the average person 2 or 3 stalkers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      hmmm this suggests to me a great idea for a privacy campaign. Encourage all privacy advocates who find the originator of any material online be found, that advocate is encouraged to mail that poster one or more sex toys with a note "saw youre posts online and wanted to say thanks"

    • by CarsonChittom (2025388) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:51AM (#36971090) Homepage

      The arguments for lack-of-privacy are fundamentally inconsistent. We are told that people "behave better" when there is a risk of consequences, but also that there are no harmful consequences. These cannot both be true. While most people don't need privacy most of the time, you rarely know in advance that you will later turn out to have needed privacy.

      It's extremely important to distinguish between privacy and anonymity—they're related, but they're not the same. I'm for the former in all circumstances and against the latter in most circumstances.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        You can't have privacy without anonymity. If you can't do certain things anonymously then you really can't claim to have privacy. In real life the distinction isn't as obvious, but online you literally can't have privacy without anonymity ever.

  • Are they trying to get google to buy them and merge with G+ kinda like the whole google-video vs youtube thing?

    Of course ... two competitors come up with the same philosophy; have to consider, maybe because its correct?

    All the car companies seem to have standardized on "righty tighty lefty loosey" WRT to screw threads with only the strangest most required engineering exceptions, not because they're all in a plot against us, but because it just makes sense to manufacture screws that way (assuming the eternal

    • Your analogy is invalid. There is no down side to standardizing car parts, everyone benefits. There are metric shit tons of downside to removing anonymity from the internet. I need not go into the litany of charges, all you have to do is read some of the posts here to see what I'm talking about. However, this argument struck me as particularly concise.

      We are told that people "behave better" when there is a risk of consequences, but also that there are no harmful consequences. These cannot both be true.

  • Facebook fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:24AM (#36970768)

    "This position appears to apply to the entire Internet, not just Facebook (which already requires that its users post real names instead of pseudonyms)"

    Yes, and it's long proven how well it works on Facebook too. Just the other day I was searching for Anders Breivik's profile on there to have a nosey and had the pleasure of stumbling across around 50 groups praising the guy as a Saint, and a whole bunch more trolling Norwegians over it. So yes, obviously people behave so much better with their true identities that Facebook "enforce".

    No seriously, dickheads act like dickheads when you can't punch them in the face, anonymous or not.

  • by Bloodwine77 (913355) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:25AM (#36970788)

    It does not surprise me that Facebook would take such a stance, as they are a glorified data mining company.

    I just hope the internet does not completely lose its wild west feeling. It is hard to not be concerned, though, as between walled gardens, paywalls, ever-more-draconian anti-piracy measures, bandwidth data caps, bandwidth throttling, multi-tiered internet, and cross-site tracking it is clear that corporations and government wants to change the web and internet as we know it. Then you have Google coming out and saying that they are banning accounts that do not use real names.

    When IPv6 finally becomes mainstream and goes in to widespread use it will only get worse, in my opinion. With IPv6 every man, woman, child, dog, and toaster can have its own IP address. Not only would it be trivial to track most people by their IPv6 addresses, but as TV sets and other devices get connected it will be trivial to track and monitor the activity on these devices and tie that activity to their owners. The more tech savvy will be able to sidestep some of it if my prediction comes to pass, but the general public won't know enough or care enough to do it.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I have the opposite fear; every 2 days my cablemodem DHCP will give me a new /48 and I'll have to scramble to update the toaster's firewall, the microwave's DNS AAAA record, my desk clock's NTP server addrs. Don't say ULA will help, all it'll do is confuse the unholy heck out of people with different OS prioritizing different addrs all the time and Really messing up the AAAA records inside and outside..

  • by LMacG (118321) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:26AM (#36970804) Journal

    It's cute that she thinks everybody on FB uses a real name. I'll be sure to pass that along to my friend Charlie Unknown*, and many others.

    *Not the actual pseudonym, I wouldn't want somebody to get reported to the bureaucrats....

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:27AM (#36970816)

    So, people tend to say whatever they want behind "closed doors", and you have a problem with that, Randi Zuckerburg?

    Fine, then you won't mind if I put a webcam in every room in your house, right? I mean after all, people tend to say AND do whatever they want behind "closed doors", and we can't possibly have any of that without the rest of the world being well aware of exactly who is doing what behind "closed doors", right?

    Keep it up, Farcebook. You won't be relevant enough for people to even give a shit if you keep pulling moves like this. There's a damn good reason anonymity existed well before privacy lawsuits, Farcebook or even the internet, and it's the same reason it will continue to exist well after you're gone.

  • The Internet is currently a little bit like the American Wild West.

    Its filled with various folk, some lawful, some lawless, and many hiding in obscurity and anonymity either for self protection, a general sense of freedom, or to escape prosecution or persecution.

    It will get regulated. In the same way that the Wild West become controlled. It is just a matter of time.

    Arguing about the rightness or wrongness of the loss of anonymity is roughly equivalent to complaining that our sun will eventually expan
  • Anonymous facebook (Score:4, Interesting)

    by binkzz (779594) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:35AM (#36970904) Journal
    This from the company who's officials are regularly quotes under demand of anonymity? Let the facebook staff be first who give up all their details online.
  • If commercial and governmental entities keep pushing us in a direction where are forced to use our real life identity then I believe the meaning of identity will change.

    Just because I happen to live in a country, have a bank account there and have a VISA card means I have a valid identity? I can even have officially my name changed. Is that the true meaning of identity?

    I think it won't be long before the Coconut Islands will begin to offer identities for $50,- per month. You can get to choose your name, get

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:36AM (#36970924)

    'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. I have no way of knowing if my user, Clem Kadiddlehopper is the same person as Willy Lump Lump and Bolivar Shagnasty on other sites That costs me money, money I deserve. If I can correlate the information about users across sites I can build up an even more valuable trove of information to sell. It's time for this quaint notion of privacy and an individual's right to it to go away; after all it is pre-internet thinking and we're in a new economy. It's money we're talking about, real money.'

    As deep throat said, "Follow the money."

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      Exactly my thoughts. When people do not behave online, than this is due to bad education. Their parents and others who educate them have failed to make clear that it is not ok to call someone bad names. This is not an acceptable behavior in private contexts and it is not ok in public contexts.

      As the Internet comprises public, commercial, leisure and private contexts, the common increase in egotistic, selfish and rude commentary can also be found on the net. So when "Sugarmountain" wants more polite people,

  • Grocery stores, malls, libraries, public parks - I see rude people everywhere. We all need our name and government ID number tattooed to the forehead, both arms, and back of the neck. Then we'll all behave better everywhere.

    As a side benefit we'll be able to get targeted advertisements/marketing directed our way no matter where we are (I guess we'll need an RFID implant in addition to the tattoos)

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:50AM (#36971080) Homepage Journal

    The real reason for this of-course has nothing to do with people being pricks on the web. The real reason for this is the bottom line of FB, which would improve greatly if they could have everybody on file, with their real names, addresses, S/Ns, birth dates, certificates (long form, right?), etc.

    They want you to be a better product for their customers - advertisers. What better way of doing this if not by making sure everybody is known exactly for who they are, where they live, where they work, what they do, where they shop, how much they make, what their family situation is, medical data, what their future plans are, etc.etc.etc.

    Of-course if you provide FB with this sort of information, FB gains enormous power over your lives, they become more powerful than you could ever imagine, product #241125

  • How many "John Smith"s or "Mohammed Khan"s are there in the world?

    Just signing on to FB with the name your parents gave you doesn't uniquely identify you. In fact you couldn't distinguish if "Susan Jones 55" was the same physical person as "Imran Bin Laden 99" no matter how many tests you put in place - short of checking a notarised copy of his/her/its DNA, passport or state-issued photo identity card.

    So the whole thing is not only unenforceable, but will lead the gullible and net-illiterate (or just t

  • Does it mean that we are going to use the government to collectively steal the natives land, and then murder the ones that dare to resist? I mean in the Wild West. there were only a handful of truly dangerous individual outlaws, far fewer than exist at present. Hell the most dangerous sociopaths in the west wore government badges or uniforms, same as today. And similar to today, their acts were done by government in the name of a corporate entity.
  • by redelm (54142) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:15AM (#36971416) Homepage

    BZuck is not alone, many people confound politeness (civil discourse, minimal insults, etc) with the quality of the discussion. They seem to say, if you cannot say it politely, it should not be said at all. Or worse, if you can't be civil, you must shut up.

    This unstated warrent is entirely wrong -- it confuses style for content. Perhaps because the believers are incapable of evaluating content.

    Fundamentally, communication is about teaching and learning. This is necessarily somewhat uncomfortable as old ideas (generally) have to be abandoned or at least modified by the new message. Often politeness helps this transition, but not always. Some people cannot be polite, others choose not to. Silencing them by banning anonymity is to impose on everyone the shallow value of style-over-content.

    This is not necessary, hence is meddling. Rather dictatorial which BZuck can be for Facebook, but not elsewhere. People can choose what to read when they open a book, newspaper, blog or email. Filtering is easy and a necessary skill. But many are those who would impose their values upon others.

  • by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:25AM (#36971532) Homepage Journal

    I detest facebook exactly for this reason, i have no privacy left now, all my friends know who all my friends are, and if i say something to someone, others can read it...it makes total sense, and i think they could even go further and lift even more privacy off facebook, this way when it becomes a standard in the near future...no one will be able to steal your identity, especially if your bank has your facebook account attached to it, in terms of validating who you are....when you open a bank account, you associate your facebook account, this will enforce identity validation. the person might see a picture of your facebook page appear on her screen when you go in to try and take out 20,000$ from your bank account...and when she sees the face is not the same, which at this point becomes harder to do if you add twitter and myspace and all the others....it becomes like a fort knox equivalent, where no one will even try it due to an already established premise that it is impenetrable.

    Less theft = less bank loss.... hoepfully = less bank charges.

  • idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:39AM (#36971712) Homepage Journal

    oh gosh what a pile of bullshit.

    Apparently, all these youngsters have no idea what a real online community looks like. Back in the BBS days, everyone had a "handle". Since we rarely changed them, it was closer to pseudonymity than anonymity, but it served a purpose.

    That's what these piles of garbage who've gotten filthy rich over breaking other people's privacy and then telling the world that's the new black don't get: Purpose of seperation.

    I have a couple hobbies where I change identity. In LARP or online gaming, I'm known under a different name than my family knows me as. And while I go as "Tom" in various social circles, they often do not overlap. The same three characters do not express the same identity.

    I would, in fact, prefer to have several linked accounts on Facebook, Google+, etc. - because what I post, write or comment as the "Tom" of my own online games isn't all that interesting to my real-world friends. And vice-versa, the players of my games probably don't care what I'm doing this evening. Most of them don't even understand the postings I make in my native language.
    This is not even about hiding anything. It's about being better than blarring everything about you on broadcast, whether or not anyone cares.

    Maybe you have to be a celebrity like Mark to lose touch with this basic reality: That your life is seperated into various roles you play. Heck, that's sociology 101. Few things about our social lives are as fundamental as that. So how can a social network ignore basic facts about what it means to be social?

    There's also some information theory 101: Too much information becomes indistinguishable from noise. If our connection is because we share some online hobby, then I usually don't care about your personal life because it has no impact on me. I don't care where you go this evening because I couldn't join you there anyways, you're hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from me.
    And even if you're my friend, I don't give a flying fuck about your latest accomplishment in FarmVille!

    Basically, what social networks lack to be actually social instead of just being the most simple and primitive kind of network imaginable is the ability to classify "friends". Google+ has a good start with its circles, but that's one baby step up from Facebooks unbelievably stupid binary friendship concept.

    Twenty years from now, we'll look at Facebook the way we look at hand-copied bibles today, shaking our heads in disbelief that people went to all that effort for so little gain.

    And the fact that you simply aren't the same person to different people is one of the things that will change in those social networks, because it's a fact of human nature and human nature doesn't adapt to toys, it forces the toys to adapt or changes them as soon as a better one comes around.

    • by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @09:36AM (#36972506)

      In some ways, bbs handles were more identifiable than one's name, and their holders had as much reputation to gain or lose as if they had their real name. Yes, one could just drop the handle and grab a new one, but it would take forever to get people to know that person, and as soon as someone found out they were linked to an old handle, it would be all over the place, and the two handles linked to each other.

      Same with my LARP and MMO characters. People recognize those identities, although they don't have my RL name or info attached, and reputation is quite valuable there.

      As for the Z brothers, one needs to follow the money. Their whole empire is based on being able to get advertisers aboard, and the more behavioral tracking they can do, the more cash they make. To use an old Texas expression, "they have a dog in this hunt" when they say anonymity must go away.

  • by Sperbels (1008585) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @12:05PM (#36974418)
    Hell, I don't even feel like it's a good idea for me to say I'm an atheist. I don't live under an oppressive regime. I am an American computer programmer living in a politically balanced area. But I don't want any Tom Dick or Harry to be able to Google me and learn everything there is to know about me and everything that I post on the internet. I don't want Google keeping track of the fact that I did a search on herpes (which may lead some people to think I actually have herpes), or what kind of porn I like to look at. Because that information leaks out sooner or later. My ex girlfriend who is a facebook friend has a facebook app that logs IP addresses of people who look at her profile. She thinks I look at her profile too much...which I don't. I can't even click on her profile without her monitoring my activity and misinterpreting my actions as "pining for her". So, the things I click on are logged. It's to the point where our activities online will become more visible to everyone than in the real world. In the real world I could go to the public library and read a sympathetic magazine article about Muslim terrorists without creating an electronic trail that puts me on a bloody watch list. In the real world I don't have to worry about people evaluating every action I make in order to determine if I'm behaving normally or not. I can sit around with a group of friends and I can say something embarrassing and everyone will forget about it after a while. If I say it online, it lasts forever, and everyone in the world with a browser can see it. I'll keep my anonymity thank you very much.

I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by 4 o'clock. -- Henny Youngman

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