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Who am I? - Hawk's Eyrie
It's all about releasing your inner sociopath
Who am I?
On G+, I got asked:
Given that you've always been one of the most vocal pseudonym users in my circles (even before they were Circles), I've got a hypothetical question I'd like to pose you: If Google allowed you to set display name separately from real name, i.e. they would know, but nobody else had to, would you still object?

This came up as a possible solution somewhere else. I have to say it still doesn't feel right to me -- after all, they want real names for advertising purposes, if nothing else, so their advertisers might well be able to link the names & nyms.

On the whole, though, I'm not very invested in this whole thing personally (privileged white male, all that, so I go by name pretty much everywhere), and so I'm not sure what to think.

I feel many, many things. I gave a response over there, but I also want to port it here. I've slightly edited my comment.

Let me start off by saying that much of this controversy grew from the fact that Google said to "use the name that others know you by". If they had said, "use your wallet name", I & others would have known upfront what this was going to be about, and made decisions accordingly. However, their wording has lead to a bait-and-switch, which is where many of my issues are coming from.

I use a "pseudonym" for a few reasons:
1) Others might consider "Hawk" a pseudonym; I consider it my name. It's what I go by in both cyber- and meat- space, excluding the office setting. While it might not be on my driver's license, it's the name that makes my head turn when people call it out. Any other name feels fake to me.
2) Fragmentation of data. It's too easy to put too much of our data online, to be easily complied and used against us. It could be as simple as identify theft, and as complicated as a National Security Letter[1]. By fragmenting my data, I make it harder for anyone - whether foe or friend - to compile information that is, frankly, none of their business.
2a) That being said, I do give my wallet name to websites when I pay for their services. I use my name as the screen name, and my wallet name is used for billing purposes. However, not only have I made a conscious choice to give out that information, I've done it in a context where I am the customer. If I am not the customer, I am the product. I do not trust my full data to companies that consider me the product.
3) How many times have we heard about issues on Facebook, LJ, Etsy, or other sites where information that was once private is suddenly made public with little to no warning? Again, if I'm not paying, I don't put full trust in privacy settings. If I'm not paying, their revenue is coming from my data. In which case, it's not much use to them if I completely lock it down.

So, no, on a site that doesn't charge me, I don't consider giving them my wallet name on the back end a good compromise.

[1]An aspect of the Patriot Act, which does not allow a provider to even mention that they had received one, let alone tell the person who is the subject of it that one has been served on their data.

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