The new Google is Creepier then ever.

The Washington Post has an article today that talks about what google is doing as of today:

Google’s no-opt-out privacy changes and the end of the anonymous Internet

Google announced Tuesday its plans to integrate data from all its services with your profile for logged-in Google+ users.

She makes this assertion in the early part of the article.

The Internet, nowadays, is overwhelmingly dominated by fora in which you hang out as your actual self. Facebook. Twitter. And now, Google.

 While I understand her assertion that the net is “dominated” by these fora. There are two assumptions one is that the people in those places are being ‘Their actual selves” when the research shows that people are being thoughtful and careful about how they present in different places and what aspects of themselves they share where (see danah boyd’s research about young people and networked publics).  I think in one way she is right the people like her – who went to college and have mainstream white collar jobs are on these fora with their real names but most people who actually do interesting hobbies or have religious lives that they don’t share publically or across all contexts of their lives either are not sharing about these on those fora or they are keeping them contextually separate using different names and handles.
This weekend at She’s Geeky I am going to ask a lot of questions of the women coming about how they do manage their identities and what they want and need out of digital systems to feel safe using them.
Tie actions online to our real identities, and suddenly online activity has real-world consequences.
This is very true and unless we build tools that give people both persona management and context management we are going to be creating a really creepy world.  See my TEDx Talk on Participatory Totalitarianism. 

The new Google+ Names process

Today people were tweeting/writing about the new google+ names policies. Well. I just went through it and it involves many screens and an appeal into the Kafkaesqe googleplex that takes up to 3 days before they approve your name request.  I think they should to this to EVERY user cause how do I know your name “is” David Smith…it just doesn’t trigger their dictionaries prompting inquiry into the legitimacy of your name…Ok but I digress…lets see how this works.

First you are discouraged from changing your name and limited to the frequency you can do so. You have to click “change name” to do anything.

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The Nymwars and what they mean: summary of my posts to date.

Update: Google relented a bit, however I am still waiting to see if my name of choice was approved. You can read about the process I had to go through here. The New Google Names Process

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For those of you coming from the Mercury News story on the NymWars exploding

I STILL have my Google+ profile suspended for using a  [  .  ] as my last name.  Prior to that I had “Identity Woman” as my last name and prior to that… before I ever got a G+ profile and since I started using Gmail and Google Profiles I had a   [  *   ]as my last name. [see the complete list of posts about this whole saga below]

It is my right to choose my own name online and how I express it.  Names and identities are socially constructed AND contextual… and without the freedom to choose our own names, and the freedom to have different names (and identifiers) across different contexts we will end up with a social reality that I don’t want to live in: Participatory Totalitarianism.

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Open Letter to Google+ Profile Support

On Sep 19, 2011, at 11:25 AM, Google Profiles Support wrote:

Hi,

Thank you for contacting us with regard to our review of the name you are trying to use in your Google Profile. After review of your appeal, we have determined that the name you want to use violates our Community Standards.

I am curious what community developed the standards?  If there really is a community behind them, where can one engage in dialogue about them and have one’s needs addressed.

Please avoid the use of any unusual characters. For example, numbers,symbols, or obscure punctuation might not be allowed.

(.)’s for last names are permitted for mononym people. I am making this choice.

If you search my name “Kaliya” in Google, I am 1/2 of the links, the other 1/2 are for the Hindu mythical figure that happens to share my name.

It is my name. I claim name sovereignty.

Most users choose to use their first and last names in the common name field in order to avoid any future name violation issues.

I am not “most users”. I am unique individual with my own name.

How can a name be in violation? What is a “name violation issue” anyways? Who says?

I feel violated by this experience because I do not want to use my (soon to be ex-) husband’s (who I’ve been separated from for 3 years) last name, Hamlin, as the headline on MY profile. I am fine listing it in the “other name” field – it is an “other name” to me.

I do not want to use my old last name, Young, last used in 2004 before my professional career began. I am also fine listing this the “other name” field as some who knew me before this date will be able to find me this way. Again, it is not appropriate for the headline on my profile.

I was fine using my professional handle/title “Identity Woman” as my last name for the headline of my profile but this was rejected by your acceptable name algorithms for having a space in it and being words not commonly in last names.

I actually do often list “Identity Woman” as my last name when I attend conferences so it is on my badge prominently  on my badge because my current last name (my ex-husband’s name) isn’t relevant. My Identity Woman professional handle IS relevant to the context, being at a professional conference so I choose to use it as my last name.

I decided when I began using Google+ that I would present and put forward information relevant to and related to my work persona Identity Woman and I am sticking with this persona in this context.  My Gmail address is after all identitywoman@gmail.com.

Last week I went back to what I had before we began this name silliness back and forth a symbol in my last name field on my Google profile for the last 4 years. I have gone ahead and listed other names as “Hamlin, Young, Identity Woman”. You are refusing this option.  This seems like the best compromise position all around. A win-win.

So I am not really sure where to go with this. Is there a human being I can talk to? How do I actually move through this process. Continuing to interact with faceless, first name only people in e-mail and via ever changing rejection notes on my profile is not working for me.

You can review our name guidelines at http://www.google.com/support/+/bin/answer.py?answer=1228271

If you edit your name to comply with our policies in the future, please respond to this email so that we can re-review your profile.

I am not editing my profile. I want to talk with a human being to resolve this or alternatively we can a committee meeting with your team at Google.

This feels like I am being put on trial for my choice of name.

It feels dehumanizing and unjust.  I expect better from a company like Google.

Regards,

-Kaliya

Sincerely,

Bennett

The Google Profiles Support Team

ps. What is your real name? I am curious to know more about you by looking you up on the internet and then maybe will have a better idea about how to persuade you to let my name be.

Potential Future: Google-Zon

With the nymwars unfolding (Nym = Pseudonym , Anonymous and other varities on this theme) this video of the Google-Zon story in the year 2014 seems more prescient then ever.

Please watch the video on the Original Site the way it was done is amazing. 

EPIC in this video stands for the Electronic Personalized Information Construct

The computer writes a new story for every user (sound like the Filter Bubble?) everyone contributes and in exchange gets a cut of the revenue…

We stand for the exact oposite vision at the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium where people have control over their own data and manage the rights to access it and shape things.