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 http://epic.org/free_speech/watchtower.html
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+.