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Google Bans Online Anonymity While Patenting It

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the best-of-both-worlds dept.

Google 188

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

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188 comments

This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (1, Insightful)

PointyToe (2733497) | about 2 years ago | (#41377713)

This is Google aggressively patenting online anonymity technology and methods so that other social networks and websites cannot provide anonymity . This is MUCH MORE SERIOUS than left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. It's a patent that blocks others from using said technology. This is evil^2, and Google of course benefits from it because this makes it easier for Google to identify people with their real names, and target ads to them.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377763)

New Account, Google Bashing... You forgot your Visual Studio plug.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377827)

New Account, Google Bashing... You forgot your Visual Studio plug.

Anonymous account, Google defending...You forgot irony.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378513)

New Account, Google Bashing... You forgot your Visual Studio plug.

Anonymous account, Google defending...You forgot irony.

Responding to anon, being a sockpuppet...You forgot self-reference.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 2 years ago | (#41378559)

Whoops - meant that to be a funny and not an overrated. If you want to be generous, you can pick an excuse and run with it, but I was simply clumsy.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | about 2 years ago | (#41377823)

You cycle through sockpuppet accounts faster than a d&d party through cheetos. Have you tried being less obvious about it, or does your employer not offer you that kind of training?

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41378011)

Nevertheless, by bashing Google constantly sooner or later he was guaranteed to be right. It's easy to write him off as a shill, but much harder to say anything to his arguments. If Google was patenting defensively, why patent something no other big social networks will use?

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#41378341)

Really, you respond with another sockpuppet?

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

Answer to both : no.

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

Idiot (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41378563)

Now that was low. Idea, why don't we just decide debates by who has the lowest user id? Google only got their patent today, we don't know yet whether they will use it to sue someone. Also, there's a direct link to the patent, are you questioning the factuality of the USPTO?

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 2 years ago | (#41378227)

Ad hominems are usually a strong indication that the actual message is well worth paying attention to.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378659)

Tom's Law #4575: An individual's intelligence vs psuedointelligence ratio is directly proportional to their use of the word Ad Hominem.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378795)

Light is faster than sound. This is why some people appear to be smart until you hear them speak.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41378607)

... faster than a d&d party through cheetos. Have you tried being less obvious about it...

By what, consuming something that doesn't stain their neckbeards orange? :p

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377957)

This prevents nothing from anyone, really. It's only corporations who have to play in the little corner they painted themselves into.

Meanwhile the hacker community, hobbyists and all the netizens boldly go where no man has gone before, regardless of what some lawyer says or thinks they're entitled to!

The patent system has lost its meaning. It's no longer an incentive to create. The single inventor could never afford to patent something, or to defend it in court. The big ones can. Thus patents create artificial barriers of entry and stifle innovation.

Furthermore, patents are now simply legal weapons used to cement monopolies and prevent innovation from disrupting established revenue streams from stagnated giants who output more Powerpoint fluff than actual progress.

Re:This BANS others from OFFERING anonymity (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41378065)

Actually, I think Google is attempting to patent lying.

  So now when Billy Hazkzor say "No, Mom, I didn't drop all those cheetos on the carpet, it was my friend Fred" he gets sent to his room and served a summons at the same time.

Prior Art (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377741)

I claim it.

Re:Prior Art (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#41378233)

Prior art: Yahoo lets you create a separate identity and avatar for commenting on news stories. This identity is separate from my real identity which is reserved for sending emails.

Re:Prior Art (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#41378473)

Nuh, nuh, nuh bitch, that ain't even yo real name!

Sigh.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377757)

Yes, please, patent something that I've been doing on IRC since the early 90s... go right ahead.

Re:Sigh.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377983)

Ah, but this is different! This is, uhh... on the WEB! Yes, on the web, that makes it totally different, you see.

Re:Sigh.. (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41378107)

The difference here is that Google will insist on knowing who you are, but they will issue you a pre-approved sock puppet when dealing with social media.

On IRC nobody knew Beth14 a Detective with the NYPD Vice Squad.
On Google+, at least Google will know.

Re:Sigh.. (3, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41378451)

On IRC nobody knew Beth14 a Detective with the NYPD Vice Squad..

Ah, the heady early days of the Internet, where men were men, so were most of the women, and those horny 14 year old virgins wanting to come out to my house to fuck me stupid were FBI agents wanting a quick and dirty arrest...

Re:Sigh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378525)

Oh please... EVERYONE knew who Beth14 was.

Re:Sigh.. (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 2 years ago | (#41378735)

You know, I think I'd donate to an organization that kept an eye on patents in the pipe and sent out alerts (RSS/tweets/cat-symbols/etc...) when something seemingly obvious or prior hits the public comment phase. With the right mobilization, some topics at least, could swamp the USPTO - although sometimes comments are lumped together which could lead to summary dismissal. The organization might also be able to play a role in stopping the comment lumping.

Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41377759)

...so long as they alone know who they really are so the data aggregated goes in the right buckets.

Nothing's stopping Google+ from offering a secondary ID you can become, while Google still knows who you are.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (3, Informative)

bedroll (806612) | about 2 years ago | (#41377969)

Nothing's stopping Google+ from offering a secondary ID you can become, while Google still knows who you are.

A brief read of the patent tells me that this is exactly what Google has patented. It's a system in which a single identity can be used to generate anonymous secondary ones. In that case, Google, and anyone able to subpoena them, would know who the anonymous secondary identity is but third parties wouldn't be privy to the link between accounts.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#41378119)

"In that case, Google, and anyone able to subpoena them, would know who the anonymous secondary identity is but third parties wouldn't be privy to the link between accounts."

You don't know what public records are, do you?

Look up the court case. Filings will be made as to proof of the owner of the 'anonymous' identity for purposes of proper serving of subpoenas and warrants for arrests.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (3, Funny)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 2 years ago | (#41378289)

This way, when you commit a thought crime they know that it's you and not someone who got your password.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378817)

So like every MMO that has an account which you are supposed to use your own name and where you can create multiple characters with different names on that one account. You can even argue that MMOs are social networking systems.

Why was this granted a patent? I hope there is more to it, then: "like an MMO but for a social website."

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41377987)

I thought that was obvious. Apparently others like to come up with crazy scenarios. This scenario helps their revenue stream while allowing for users to be anonymous on the Internet. Just not anonymous to Google or those government institutions issuing search warrants to Google.

You alter-ego helps define who you really are. So the advertising target is even better than your PC personal profile.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378231)

You mean like, the billions of people that change their name on Facebook, but maintain all the same identifying information that FB uses to correlate data and target advertising at you?

I never quite understood why people even take the time to do it.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (2)

sixtyeight (844265) | about 2 years ago | (#41378097)

Short answer: "It's a risk to give access to your identifying information to people on the internet. Unless it's us."

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378167)

...so long as they alone know who they really are so the data aggregated goes in the right buckets.

This is exactly what is going on. To link your 'alter ego' and/or 'anonymous identity' to your real one.

-anon

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#41378175)

...so long as they alone know who they really are so the data aggregated goes in the right buckets.

Nothing's stopping Google+ from offering a secondary ID you can become, while Google still knows who you are.

Except for people like me who would leave if we had to interact with "MonkeyFucker-69" and the rest of their ilk. Some of us like the higher level of civility that results from real names.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41378699)

...so long as they alone know who they really are so the data aggregated goes in the right buckets.

Nothing's stopping Google+ from offering a secondary ID you can become, while Google still knows who you are.

Except for people like me who would leave if we had to interact with "MonkeyFucker-69" and the rest of their ilk. Some of us like the higher level of civility that results from real names.

From my experience, anonymity has little to nothing to do with civility; I used to regularly post commentary on the website of my local (Gannett-owned) newspaper. Recently, they (as required by Gannett) went from an anonymous, PHPbb based system to linking comments to Facebook profiles - they, too, claimed that it would lead to "increased civility." however, this has been anything but the case. Sure, there are less vitriolic comments, but that's not because people are being less uncivil, but rather a side effect of the push for real names driving many, many of the regulars from the site, myself included.

Adjusted for volume, the amount of hatefulness on said newspaper forum hasn't gone down one bit, and I would wager that acts of incivility have increased a fair amount. The only 'advantage' to people being forced to use their real names is that if they piss another person off, that person now knows who's house to firebomb.

Not a feature I would tout.

Re:Oh, Google is fine with anonymity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378747)

Except for people like me who would leave if we had to interact with "MonkeyFucker-69" and the rest of their ilk. Some of us like the higher level of civility that results from real names.

And therefore will impose it on others? You sound like Fascist-101, maybe that could be your anonymous nick name?

The final solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377803)

How oh HOW is this patentable?

Re:The final solution? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41377939)

How oh HOW is this patentable?

Simple: File it with USPTO.

Re:The final solution? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41378127)

How oh HOW is this patentable?

Simple: Have your veritable army of on-staff patent lawyers file it with USPTO.

FTFY.

They'd never allow little guys like you and I to patent such a thing.

Re:The final solution? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41378527)

How oh HOW is this patentable?

Simple: Have your veritable army of on-staff patent lawyers file it with USPTO.

FTFY. They'd never allow little guys like you and I to patent such a thing.

Sure they would. Then their invincible army of patent l*wy*rs would rape pillage and plunder you and your family's bank accounts and scam up the patent. Why innovate when you can litigate?

Re:The final solution? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41378251)

Yeah, this must be pretty frustrating to people on a website where people think NASA wouldn't be able to patent a working Warp Drive because it was portrayed on Star Trek.

Re:The final solution? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41378405)

Right. I see your logic. Because others have been warp-driving around the galaxy for decades!

Re:The final solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378531)

It was a reference to a not-actually-working-tablet in 2001 being called prior-art in Apple's recent patent case against Samsung. Try to keep up. ;)

real identity (5, Funny)

skyggen (888902) | about 2 years ago | (#41377811)

How can they know who the real me is when I can even answer that question without having a quorum among myself.

Re:real identity (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41378361)

Funny? Mod that insightful.

How CAN they proof if Michel Peter Abelton is really who he says he is.

Offtopic but .... (0)

WankersRevenge (452399) | about 2 years ago | (#41377831)

looks like slashdot was just sold again [arstechnica.com] .

Re:Offtopic but .... (1)

TheSwift (2714953) | about 2 years ago | (#41377855)

Re:Offtopic but .... (1)

WankersRevenge (452399) | about 2 years ago | (#41377893)

hahaha ... I totally missed that!

Nothing like breaking news for those too lazy to scroll down the home page.

Re:Offtopic but .... (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41377907)

How appropriate that you posted the news as a dupe

Exactly why I'm not on Google+ (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377849)

"There are lots of places where you can be anonymous online. Google+ isn't one of them."

Yes, that's why I'm not on Google+ or Facebook.

Youtube (0)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 2 years ago | (#41377851)

Not directly related, but yesterday on youtube my account suggested to me in a popup to change my account name to my real name. I passed, but I was then prompted for a reason with a 6 tile multiple choice. If I wanted to change my account name to my real name I would have indicated that when I set it up, or altered the settings.

Re:Youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378055)

Yep, and for a while if you said no you couldn't comment.

Personally, if google does that, that's fine, I won't comment. If google won't let me use youtube without a Real Name account, that's fine too, I just won't use it.

They are not the only video provider on the web--vimeo has lots to offer.

Google isn't the only search provider on the web, either. I can use duckduckgo.

And I've never really bothered with social networking, so I don't even need to use the lame "Facebook" alternative.

I can't figure out where Google is going with this, other than losing customers.

Re:Youtube (3, Insightful)

hazah (807503) | about 2 years ago | (#41378445)

You're not their customer.

Re:Youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378567)

Is the viewing public not required for them to have customers (assuming their customers are advertisers)?

Or have advertisers put google in the position of "Either we get all the user data with real names or we leave"? In which case, is google not big enough to tell them "If you do that and people leave for other services, then the ones that remain won't have much new content to see, so they will leave too?"

Just wondering...

Re:Youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378745)

You're the product, silly boy.

Re:Youtube (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41378501)

My nick is houghi. On some sites I have been asked to fill out a first and last name. I also am asked to enter existing addresses. My details on some sites is now:
Mrs. Hou Ghi
DOB: 01-01-1950
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20502

I hope I never do anything wrong, because I would hate to bring the people who live there in trouble.

Re:Youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378751)

Ha! Now that we know where you live, we know your REAL name Mrs. Ghi!

Re:Youtube (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41378737)

Not directly related, but yesterday on youtube my account suggested to me in a popup to change my account name to my real name. I passed, but I was then prompted for a reason with a 6 tile multiple choice. If I wanted to change my account name to my real name I would have indicated that when I set it up, or altered the settings.

Google didn't really have much in the way of 'real' info for me....the youtube account email address, is not the one used for gmail. They did finally get my real info...from the youtube account when I had to set things up for revenue generation (I couldn't figure how to earn $$ from them and still stay anon).

Strangely enough, they have my real name now associated with that particular YT account...but they don't nag me to change it to show my real name on the account/channel.

Two levels of anonymity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377853)

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

No prior art (1)

DogPhilosopher (1149275) | about 2 years ago | (#41377909)

Wow, what a great idea! There CANT be any prior art, who would have thought of using an assumed name online!?

What if you aren't known by your "real" name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377937)

Seriously, I'm known by various names in different communities. Hell, half the people who I interact with on a regular basis don't know my real name.

Google can go fsck themselves.

Re:What if you aren't known by your "real" name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41377999)

Google can go fsck themselves.

In the USA, Google fsck YOU.

(Apologies to the Russians, but I'm afraid they've fallen behind us again.)

Re:What if you aren't known by your "real" name? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41378589)

Google can go fsck themselves.

In the USA, Google fsck YOU.

(Apologies to the Russians, but I'm afraid they've fallen behind us again.)

We must not allow the Russians to win the search engine war! We cannot afford a search engine gap!! [/drstrangelove]

Re:What if you aren't known by your "real" name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378003)

It looks like Batman hates Google.

Is it really that confusing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378035)

Google is a lot bigger than Google+. Just like almost everything else in the computer world, different priorities and tools apply to different contexts. A social networking site might be a lot easier to administer, run, and use (for some) if everyone used their real names. That doesn't mean they dislike privacy or anonymity, they just don't want it there. You can still go elsewhere or use their other services where Google might be more willing to aid (or at least try to) privacy and anonymity.

Re:Is it really that confusing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378529)

All of googles services are unified now, so if you use your real name in one place, it's attached to everything you do, from youtube to gmail to google code.

It's about advertising and data mining, and you know that, as you are obviously a google astroturfer - ironically posting anonymously.

stop making choices for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378041)

"...so that the people you want to connect with can find you..."

If you allow any name, then people who want to use their real name can, and people who want to be anonymous can.

If you allow only real names, then you preclude the second group. In BOTH cases, people who want to be "found" by their real name can be, so you've removed functionality unnecessarily. The reason you claim to remove it still exists even if you don't remove it.

Providing feature A is not an excuse for removing feature B when A can be provided whether or not B is provided.

Re:stop making choices for us (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#41378129)

If you allow only real names, then you preclude the second group..

And I'm perfectly OK with that. In fact it's why I use Google+ and not other social networks. There are dozens of other social networks that allow anonymous accounts, if you have something that can only be said anonymously then go use one of those, some of them even have more users, and larger audiences than Google+. In the mean time I'll enjoy a network free from the likes of "MonkeyFucker-69"; one where people behave better.

Re:stop making choices for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378901)

And I'm perfectly OK with that.

Why? No one is forcing you to be anonymous, so why not offer the choice? If you don't want to be anonymous, then just don't do it.

Thankfully people don't have to use Google+, though.

Re:stop making choices for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378189)

But logic clogs the money stream.

Re:stop making choices for us (2)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#41378219)

The real problem with that part you quoted is that the logic is completely backwards. How do people I want to connect with know to try to find me? If I wanted to connect with them, it should be my problem to go find them, not their problem to come find me.

Some situations demand anonymity... (2)

CityZen (464761) | about 2 years ago | (#41378053)

And some situations demand clarity.

The main problem is that people use "Act like an ass" as an excuse for using anonymity (or is it the other way around?).
Of course, one person's "Act like an ass" is another person's "Saying what needs to be said".
There is probably no good democratic way to resolve many of these cases one way or the other.
(Ie, having a lot of people being offended doesn't necessarily justify exposing a poster's identity.)

its quite simple: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378113)

Google has become the epitome of EVIL on the INTERNET.

That being said, I'm staying with GMAIL and Chrome...

Useful google+ information (5, Informative)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | about 2 years ago | (#41378121)

To delete your profile:

        Sign in to your Google profile.
        Click Edit profile.
        Click the About tab.
        Click Delete profile and disable Google Buzz completely.
        Click Yes, delete my profile and posts.

You Are A Terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378677)

Or at least a communist. If we cannot prove that with some waterboarding, we will at least Charge Your Of Being French.

Law Enforcement (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 years ago | (#41378139)

is it that difficult to figure it out? They will, in theory, offer you some anonymous cloak to protect you're real identity from others, except Google. Google can then provide that information any time any law enforcement or investigative body comes knocking. Nothing more than CYA.

Re:Law Enforcement (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41378643)

is it that difficult to figure it out? They will, in theory, offer you some anonymous cloak to protect you're real identity from others, except Google. Google can then provide that information any time any law enforcement or investigative body comes knocking. Nothing more than CYA.

And ad revenue. Can't send you targetted ads if you're anonymous. Hey, corporations pay real money for those ads and they fucking want their money's worth!!

It shouldn't be that difficult. (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 2 years ago | (#41378143)

Sure, require the person's real name, but let them choose whether or not to make it public. If you keep your real name private, you can go by some screen name publicly. Someone searching for you by your real name can offer a connection. If you choose to accept, then your public screen name becomes known to them.

Meh (1)

Kesh (65890) | about 2 years ago | (#41378197)

It's not that difficult: the Google+ folks want real-world info for ad-tracking, while the other systems (YouTube, etc) don't care as long as you're viewing their stuff.

Mr. Al-Zawahiri (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 2 years ago | (#41378241)

Just read an irate rant from a Mr. Al-Zawahiri about the change in his Google+ account status.

There's a distinction. (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41378261)

Anonymous to other users = maybe

Anonymous to Google = no way.

Use TOR as a Matter Of Principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378541)

And if you think it is not good enough, patch it until it does 25 hops or any number the user wants it to do. Use GPG.

Or Submit To King Carlos Obama and his Spanish Inquisition.

Google Does Not Believe (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41378269)

So does Google now believe that there's a genuine 'risk of disclosing a user's real identity'? Or is this just a case of Google's left hand not knowing what its right hand is patenting?

Google does not believe. They do not believe in protecting anonymity, nor in advancing reliable identities. Google wants money and power. There was a time when it was reasonable to think that Google believed in things, that they wanted to do good, but those times are gone. Google wants to make money on anonymity because they want to make money, not because they believe free speech depends on anonymity. They want to make money on reliable identities because they want to make money, not because they believe identities should be reliable. They want to make money on being the only one who knows the real identities because they want to make money, not because they believe one company should be the sole authenticator.

Most sufficiently large corporations have no beliefs. "I want as much stuff as I can get" is not a belief. Beliefs are things for which you are willing to make deep sacrifices. When a company sees that the patent system is broken and its public response is that they need to get more aggressive about patents, it is a clear statement that they lack motives outside of acquisitiveness and will-to-power. Avarice is not a belief, it is our default state when we choose not to elevate ourselves above the animals. Google does not believe.

Google And Former Bell Labs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378619)

...are appendices and R&D labs for NSA. They even hired former Bell Labs scientists. Bell Labs brought us that wonderful technologies C and C++. Well-suited for the spooks of this world to penetrate systems made with these languages.

Google is just the last incarnation of that government/Industrial snooping complex. Before it was the Bell System. It is about control and making sure there is no resistance against their plutocratic schemes from permanent war to destroying hard-earned savings.

But fake names are OK if you're the boss (5, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 years ago | (#41378275)

Or famous.

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

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

Google gets a +1 for hypocrisy.

And the pendulum swings (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41378281)

Once upon a time, when I first got on the Internet (late 1980s), there was no anonymity. Sysadmins voluntarily adhered to a policy where each user's online identity and their real identity were linked [rajivshah.com] . If someone ever found a way to break this link, it was considered a bug [google.com] which needed to be fixed. It was staunchly enforced by admins who believed the net would devolve into a morass of misbehavior if people were allowed to post anonymously.

There were a few people running their own servers who bucked the trend, but it wasn't until AOL joined USENET [wikipedia.org] that pseudonyms became a fact of life on the Internet. AOL allowed each account to have up to 5 usernames, ostensibly for families sharing a single AOL account. Obviously these extra usernames were quickly taken up by people wishing to post things online anonymously, which was good for free speech. But not surprisingly, spam was invented shortly thereafter.

All that's happening now is that the pendulum is starting to swing the away from anonymity as netizens struggle to figure out the best balance between real names and pseudonyms. The people at the pro-anonymity extreme won't like it, just like the people at the pro-real-name extreme didn't like it in the early 1990s. But as with most things the best balance is probably somewhere in between.

They didnt say it was evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378311)

you fucktard editor. They said they dont want it on their stuff.

what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378357)

omg wtf lol day can do dat oohhhhhhhhh...

By patenting it, no one else can have it (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41378381)

So does Google now believe that there's a genuine 'risk of disclosing a user's real identity'? Or is this just a case of Google's left hand not knowing what its right hand is patenting?"

Or, by patenting it, they ensure that anyone else trying to allow online anonymity violates the patent in some way, thereby outlawing online anonymity.

At least, that's one use for the patent - to prevent someone from doing stuff counter to your interests.

Google is your friend. Why won't you allow Google to be your friend?

The more you tighten your grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378485)

http://youtu.be/-wntX-a3jSY

I, for one, do not welcome our anonymity-banning overlords; which is why I am in the process of replacing all my Google products (Android phone gone, Google+ gone, YouTube gone, Gtalk gone, Gmail migrating, Docs and Voice pending; I've also moved a couple of local organization I consult for off of Apps).

NSA Wants To Know Your Identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378499)

..so that they have an easier job wasting your money with the whores the surveillance gear contractors have sent. Then the Catholic King Carlos Obama will collect all the evidence and apply His Spanish Inquisition to you Sheep. You will be incarcerated until you confess whatever Carlos and his Bankster friends want you to confess,

The worst sin: Have a Cache Of Gold, so that they cannot easily fuck with the currency.

Americans, if you let all of this happen, you deserve it.

Behead those who insult the prophet (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#41378595)

Thank you for pointing us in their general direction.

Fuckin' blow me (1, Interesting)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 2 years ago | (#41378749)

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's really just Common Sense http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/ [ushistory.org] .

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

FUCK APPLE GOD DAMN ASSHOLES PATENT ANYTYHING!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378767)

oh wait, this was Google. Well, carry on then! Android 4 lyfe bro!

Don't use Google+ (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | about 2 years ago | (#41378799)

I still use Gmail for several deterrent accounts and 1 main account. I've been setting these up over the past 3 months or so. So far, The count is up to 8. Google has tried to force them to sign up for Google+, but each time the sign up page presents itself I just close it down and relogin. Until Google makes Google+ mandatory for using their services, this usage pattern will repeat. When that day arrives, I'll pay for my own domain(s) and set up shop over there.

This whole social aspect of the Internet is mostly about the advertisers getting control again. I lived too long without TV to have that happen again.

Google full of crap (0)

Snaller (147050) | about 2 years ago | (#41378821)

"'It's important to use your common name,' Google explains in its Google+ ground rules, 'so that the people you want to connect with can find you.'"

Bullshit, on the order of nazi propaganda. Google wants you to use your real name so they can make more money from me. The people I want to connect with me can easily find me, I mail them a alink - your policies are making people I DON'T want to connect with find me.

Or it would if I used G+ which I won't. But you've lost your way greedy google.

Patents have value for many reasons (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41378829)

This is the reason Google have patented this. They may or may not have any intention of using it, but someone else might. And that someone else might decide Google is infringing on their patents, so Google unot./se it defensively. Or perhaps another company would like to license it. Or perhaps they never use it. Or they might change their mind about their policies.

Even though it's most likely this patent will never be used, patents are so cheap that it's still worth patenting everything just on the off-chance.

Everyone rapes your privacy except for PB. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41378951)

PlainBoards.com [plainboards.com] . Spread the word. This needs to get big.

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