Google Confirms It Aims to Own Your Online ID

Kaye Beach

Sept. 2, 2011

The right to anonymity

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse.   I have nothing to hide and don’t communicate anonymously online yet still see the option to do so as absolutely vital.

Google+ is a big minus.

Anonymity–the ability to conceal one’s identity while communicating–enables the expression of political ideas, participation in the government process, membership in political associations, and the practice of religious belief without fear of government intimidation or public retaliation

Article by  Bloomberg Businessweek 

Published August 29, 2011

Amid a furor over Google+’s ban on pseudonymity and anonymity, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt just admitted the company intends to be an ‘identity service”

Ever since Google (GOOG) launched its new Google+ social network, we and others have pointed out that the search giant clearly has more in mind than just providing a nice place for people to share photos of their pets. For one thing, Google needs to tap into the “social signals” that people provide through networks such as Facebook so it can improve its search results. There’s a larger motive, too: As Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt admitted during an interview in Edinburgh over the weekend, Google is taking a hard line on the real-name issue because it sees Google+ as an “identity service” or platform on which it can build other products.

Schmidt’s comments came during an interview with Andy Carvin, the National Public Radio digital editor who has become a one-man newswire during the Arab Spring revolutions. Carvin asked the Google chairman about the company’s reasoning for pushing its real-name policies on Google+—a policy that many have criticized (including us) because it excludes potentially valuable viewpoints that might be expressed by political dissidents and others who prefer to remain anonymous. In effect, Schmidt said Google isn’t interested in changing its policies to accommodate those kinds of users: If people want to remain anonymous, he said, then they shouldn’t use Google+.

Google+ is primarily an “identity service”


2 responses to “Google Confirms It Aims to Own Your Online ID

  1. There’s Google+, yes, and then there’s Facebook,

    Their personal data stores (PDSs) fit in with G-Cloud in the UK ( and NSTIC in the US (

    “Technocracy”, as your guest says — frontline public servants are replaced by computers and citizens are replaced by electronic IDs. What happens then? The electronic record drifts away from the real person, it isn’t kept up to date, the two no longer match, but the eID is the one that counts, as far as the state is concerned, it takes on a life of its own, like Frankenstein’s monster,

    To get eID off the ground, the state needs a national identity register, of course. Despite huge opposition, the REAL ID Act links on in the US, whereas here in the UK we have dumped our plans for an NIR, Or have we? Hidden away in the 2011-12 Business Plan for our dearly beloved Identity & Passport Service what do we find? Reference to a proposed Civil Registration Act. That’s what,

    Like Norman said, it’s happening again …

  2. “Round at the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), they know just what a human is. A human is a bundle of entitlements. The entitlement to work in the UK, for example. The entitlement to non-emergency state healthcare and to state education. The entitlement to operate a bank account and to travel overseas.

    And IPS intend to prove it. If they get their way, no-one without an ID card will have any state entitlements. They won’t exist.”

    So true.

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