Facebook so called “real names” and Drag Queens

So, Just when we thought the Nym Wars were over at least with Google / Google+.

Here is my post about those ending including a link to an annotated version of all the posts I wrote about my personal experience of it all unfolding.

Facebook decided to pick on the Drag Queens – and a famous group of them the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  Back then I called for the people with persona’s to unite and work together to resist what Google was doing. It seems like now that Facebook has taken on the Drag Queens a real version of what I called at the time the Million Persona March will happen.

One of those affected created this graphic and posted it on Facebook by Sister Sparkle Plenty:

MyNameIs

Facebook meets with LGBT Community Over Real Name Policy  on Sophos’ Naked Security blog.

EFF covers it with Facebook’s Real Name Policy Can Cause Real World Harm in LGBT Community.

Change.org has a petition going. Facebook Allow Performers to Use Their Stage Names on their Facebook Accounts.

 

 

 

 

We “won” the NymWars? did we?

Mid-July,  friend called me up out of the blue and said “we won!”

“We won what” I asked.

“Google just officially changed its policy on Real Names”

He said I had  to write a post about it. I agreed but also felt disheartened.
We won but we didn’t it took 3 years before they changed.

They also created a climate online where it was OK and legitimate for service providers to insist on real names.

For those of you not tracking the story – I along with many thousands of people had our Google+ accounts suspended – this posts is an annotated version of all of those.

This was the Google Announcement:

[Read more…]

Real Names vs Nyms at Quora & Unconferences

I am again in a #nymwar [wikipedia & Botgirl’s Scoop.it] situation that I actually care about. I have been denied full participation in Quora for a long long time now because my last name was listed as IdentityWoman (ironically my answer to why having control over your identity and personal data online matters did go through but then was put into suspension when they insisted on changing my name to a WASPonym).

Now there is a thread all about an unconfernece for women of Quora and they have mentioned both Unconference.net my business and She’s Geeky that I founded in the threads. I for this one important conversation bow to the “feudal lord”  of Quora as their humble “content producing servent” share my so-called real name…and help them have a good unconference and raise the issues of real name requirements within the context of real human beings who engage with the site all the time and hopefully staff as well.  Until we have the freedom to choose our names for public interactions on the web – to define our own identities based on our context and how we wish to appear where – we do not live in a free society.

 

Before they “banned” me for having the wrong color skin name. I got to write an eloquent to this question (posted below since it isn’t on their site).

Why does owning one’s own online identity and personal data matter?

and was voted to the top (with 5 votes) by others…but now that answer isn’t there cause I didn’t use my real name.

So now you can’t see it…this is akin to not letting me sit somewhere in a public space because the color of my skin is the wrong one OR I happen to sit in a wheel chair to get around and there isn’t room in our restaurant and they are in violation of American’s with Disabilities Act.

The women of Quora are talking about organizing an unconfernece and found two of my organizations/sites and are enthusiastic about them. I am totally unable to talk to them about their ideas or my sites unless I pass their “real names” test….you know like a pole tax … that Bob and I talked about in our Cloud Identity Summit closing Keynote about Identification and Social Justice (slides and videos will be online soon).

My answer to:

Why does owning one’s own online identity and personal data matter?

We own our own bodies – we have freedom and autonomy to move around the physical world.  We have rights and freedoms; If our physical lives are terminated there are consequences.

In the digital world many people are not the primary “owner” of their own identity (in digital space the equivalent of a physical body is a persistent identifier like an e-mail address or a URL or phone number).  Most people’s identity on the web is “under” terms and conditions of a private company and they can terminate people’s accounts, their identities, without recourse.

Many companies with which people have their identities “under” choose to in exchange for providing identity provisioning services and things like e-mail. They also track and aggregate user’s activities on their services and across the web via cookies and other beacons.  This profile of activity has real value and is being used by the companies to profile them and then sell abstract versions of the profile information on ad exchanges.

Some have said we live in an age of digital feudalism, where we are serfs on the lords’ manors (the large web portals).

Having the freedom and autonomy to choose who we are online and how we express ourselves is important to ensuring a free society  with rights and liberty.

Adding some more: About one’s social graph… The links in your social graph in the current architecture of the web exist within particular contexts – you have friends in Facebook or Followers on Twitter or Professional Contacts on LinkedIN. Those links, those connections in a “social graph” are ulitmately owned by the company within which you made those links. If you choose to leave any one of those networks – all your links to those people are terminated.

This is an architecture of control. You are locked into those systems if you don’t want to loose the links to others in them. To own your own identity would be to have an identity that would give you the freedom to not loose the links to your contacts, they would be peer to peer autonomous of any particular service.

The next time there is a major social revolution like in Egypt governments are not going to try and turn of the internet or mobile phone system it is likely they will simply call facebook ans ask them to terminate the accounts of dissidents.

 

 

Identity in the Contexts of the Future OR Participatory Totalitarianism

This is the latest from Google in their “names policy

We understand that your identity on Google+ is important to you, and our Name Policy may not be for everyone at this time.

Kinda sounds like the owners of stores in the south who said their stores were not for everyone especially black people who didn’t have skin color they liked. It is a fundamentally discriminatory policy.  If we don’t have the freedom to choose our own names in digital space and the freedom to maintain different identifiers across different social spaces we will end up in a very creepy world…Here is my TEDxBrussels talk.

[Read more…]

Web Wide Sentence Level Annotation -> Hypothes.is

I first met Dan Whaley last spring via an introduction from Jim Fournier co-founder of Planetwork.  I was inspired by the vision he was working on building Hypothes.is -  a way to have sentence level annotation of news and other articles on a web wide scale. Really a foundation for peer review on the web. The motivation for his work is to support greater discernment of the truth around climate change and other key issues facing our society and our planet.  (Another area I could see this being really useful right now is around accountability in the financial system and ways to make that real.)

He asked me to be a part of the project as an advisor particularly around identity issues and technology options for identity.  He is taking my advice and coming to IIW this coming week.  Its an honor to be amongst other distinguished advisors like Brewster Kahle,  John Perry Barlow,  Mark Surman and others..

He has been working on a development plan and has a solid on one in place.  He has launched a Kickstarter Campaign and  stars in the video that articulates the vision of the project.  If you are inspired by the vision I encourage you to contribute.

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.

Mononym officially “not” accepted. I’m Kaliya. Google get a clue.

OK.

Let me be very frank.

Kaliya says to Google:
“Why should I have to justify my name to you?”

My name is Kaliya

Just me. That is what it was on my profile before you decided that i had to have letters in my last name.

Type me into Google nymrods, 5 of the posts on the fronte page are me…the other 5 are for a figure in Hindu mythology.

What is the top post for “me”? Its the “Identity Woman” blog, then my Fast Company blog post on  NSTIC written as Identity Woman, then my flickr photos (Kaliya), linkedIn (Kaliya), Slideshar’s (Kaliya) and finally my unconference site (Kaliya).

I chose to have Identity Woman as my last name when you rejected my choice to go with the mononym “Kaliya *”. That is how people know me. It is how I want to be known.

I am NOT putting my soon to be ex-husband’s, have been separated amicably  for 3 years, last name as “my name” as the top of my profile on Googoe+.

[TO BE CLEAR. My ex and I are on good terms and I really didn’t want to bring this up in public-public on my blog because it is not my practice to discuss personal matters on this blog and cause it is nobody’s business what my marital status is.  I made the choice to share this very real personal life situation I face to make the point I am trying to make. On another note he is also very supportive of my work on these issues for freedom on the internet.]

I am totally fine listing this last name in the “other” field along with my maiden name.  I am not particularly attached to either name. I have a an idea for a future last name and I might change it in several years in the mean time I don’t want to promote this “other” name that isn’t “mine” as the headline of my profile. Both Young and Hamlin are part of my legal name. They are my wallet names  (as Skud has so aptly put it) and in some way they are my names but they are not “my” names.

When people who don’t know me that well call me “Ms. Hamlin” I object politely and say “please just call me Kaliya – Hamlin is not “my” name”.  Everyone who I have made this request have honored it. If they didn’t I wouldn’t be their friend for very long. As Bob Blakeley from Gartner (formerly Burton Group) explains, names are social and if you don’t call people what they want to be called they won’t respond.

Google, My name is Kaliya.

If you don’t honor this request. I won’t be your friend any more. Just like Bob explained.

 

 

G-Male is a Good Listener, Maybe too good.

Ok, now we know what is wrong :) Google is on the [autism] spectrum.

“The obstacles primarily exist in the realm of social interaction. The fundamental problem is akin to blindness, as the term social blindness suggests.”

They keep doing well meaning but awkward feeling things because well they know how to technically but it isn’t how human beings act or want to be treated.
[Read more…]

1 month anniversary of Goggle Gag

Its been a month now.

I have filled out the “application form” 3 times. This was my first post about it: Google+ and my “real” name: Yes, I’m Identity Woman

The most recent rejection letter when I applied to be a mononym (which I was before this all started) was from “Anonymous Nick”…

Re: [#859600835] Google Profile Name Review

[Read more…]

Is Google+ is being lynched by out-spoken users upset by real names policy?

Following my post yesterday Google+ says your name is “Toby” not “Kunta Kinte”, I chronicled tweets from this morning’s back and forth with  Tim O’Reilly and Kevin MarksNishant  KaushikPhil Hunt,  Steve Bogart and Suw Charman-Anderson.

I wrote the original post after watching the Bradley Horwitz (@elatable) – Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) interview re: Google+. I found Tim’s choice of words about the tone (strident) and judgement (self-righteous) towards those standing up for their freedom to choose their own names on the new social network being rolled out by Google internet’s predominant search engine disappointing.  His response to my post was to call me self-righteous and reiterate that this was just a market issue.

I myself have been the victim of a Google+ suspension since July 31st and yesterday I applied for a mononym profile (which is what it was before they insisted I fill out my last name which I chose to do so with my online handle and real life identity “Identity Woman”) 

In the thread this morning Tim said that the kind of pressure being aimed at Google is way worse then anything they are doing and that in fact Google was the subject of a “lynch mob” by these same people.  Sigh, I guess Tim hasn’t read much history but I have included some quotes form and links to wikipedia for additional historial context.

Update: inspired in part by this post an amazing post “about tone” as a silencing/ignoring tactics when difficult, uncomfortable challenges are raised in situations of privilege was written by Shiela Marie.  

I think there is a need for greater understanding all around and that perhaps blogging and tweeting isn’t really the best way to address it.  I know that in the identity community when we first formed once we started meeting one another in person and really having deep dialogues in analogue form that deeper understanding emerged.  IIW the place we have been gathering for 6 years and talking about the identity issues of the internet and other digital systems is coming up in mid-October and all are welcome.  The agenda is created live the day of the event and all topics are welcome.

Here’s the thread… (oldest tweets first)

 Note all the images of tweets in this thread are linked to the actual tweet (unless they erased the tweet).  [Read more…]

Google+ says your name is “Toby” NOT “Kunta Kinte”

This post is about what is going on at a deeper level when Google+ says your name is “Toby” NOT “Kunta Kinte”. The punchline video is at the bottom feel free to scroll there and watch if you don’t want to read to much.

This whole line of thought to explain to those who don’t get what is going on with Google+ names policy arose yesterday after I watched the Bradley Horwitz – Tim O’Reilly interview (they start talking about the real names issue at about minute 24).

[Read more…]

Lets try going with the Mononym for Google+

Seeing that Google+ is approving mononyms for some (Original Sai, on the construction of names Additional Post) but not for others (Original Stilgherrian Post Update post ).

I decided to go in and change my profile basically back to what it was before all this started.  I put a  ( . ) dot in the last name field.  In my original version of my google proflile my last name was a * and when they said that was not acceptable I put my last name as my online handle “Identity Woman”.

[Read more…]

Google+ Suspension saga continues

I get this e-mail from them. You know, I wish they would use their “real name” when they talked to me. Being stuck inside a bureaucratic system – Kafkaesque.

On Aug 9, 2011, at 10:40 AM, Google Profiles Support wrote:

On Aug 9, 2011, at 10:40 AM, Google Profiles Support wrote:

Hi,

Thank you for your appeal. It seems that we are unable to pull up your Google Profile with this Email. Please reply back with the Email and the Profile URL associated  with your Google Profile, so that we may further continue the review of your name appeal.

Sincerely,

The Google Profiles Support Team

 

Dear Google,

[Read more…]

Identity Woman Google+ Suspension Update

I checked in today …to see if I had been let out of Google+ prison. Was my profile free to speak with the rest of the prisoners or not?

Apparently not. Now I am being informed that “business accounts” will be available soon.

This is my personal  handle on account that is related to the professional side of my life. I only use my google gmail account to subscribe to PROFESSIONAL NEWSLETTERS.  So anyone seeing my g-mail address it’s “identitywoman@gmail.com” does so on a professional context.

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The Trouble with Trust, & the case for Accountability Frameworks for NSTIC

There are many definitions of trust, and all people have their own internal perspective on what THEY trust.

As I outline in this next section, there is a lot of meaning packed into the word “trust” and it varies on context and scale. Given that the word trust is found 97 times in the NSTIC document and that the NSTIC governing body is going to be in charge of administering “trust marks” to “trust frameworks” it is important to review its meaning.

I can get behind this statement: There is an emergent property called trust, and if NSTIC is successful, trust on the web would go up, worldwide.

However, the way the word “trust” is used within the NSTIC document, it often includes far to broad a swath of meaning.

When spoken of in every day conversation trust is most often social trust.

[Read more…]

NSTIC Response by Identity Woman

Context for my response to the NSTIC Governance NOI

Table of Contents to Blog Posts of My Response

My Complete Response in PDF form Kaliya-NSTIC-NOI

Introductory Letter of the Response.

Context for my NSTIC NOI response

I surprised myself when writing my response to the NSTIC (National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace)  Governance NOI (Notice of Inquiry).  I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to say because the questions seemed like they were way ahead of where they should be interms of where things were.  I decided to begin by sharing important Context, Frames and Terms that were important before getting to the Questions of Governance and what should be done now.

I began with the word Ecosystem – what it meant and that a system was at the heart of this strategy not something simple or easily actionable.

I touched on the history of the Identity Community and how much conversation and intensive dialogue happened amongst that early community to get to a place where collaboration was natural and “easy”. A huge amount of effort went into developing shared language and understanding then and this is needed once again.  The range of self identified stakeholders for NSTIC is quite large (the range of not self identified stakeholders it could be said is everyone on the planet or at least all those with a digital connection (via phone or interent).

I put forward two different methods/tools/processes that could be used to form shared language and understanding across this stakeholder community Polarity Management and Value Network Mapping.

I suggest that the governance structure proposed a “steering group” actually have a mandate to regularly listen to and act on the recommendations of the system that are generated via 3 different well established dialogic processes (Creative Insight Council, World Cafe and Open Space Technology [What we use at IIW]. I then answer the NOI questions referencing the ideas above.

I am going to be posting the whole of my Response in a series of posts and linking them all from there.

I began with one earlier last week which is focused on “trust” both as an emergent property of the overall system AND as the current name of technology and policy/legal frameworks for identity creation.


Links to NSTIC Response Posts:

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When to share your real name? Blizzard and their Real ID plans.

I was recently CCed in a tweet referencing this article “Why Real ID is a Really Bad Ideaabout World of Warcraft implementing their version of a “Real ID” in a way that violated the trust of its users.

The woman writing the article is very clear on the identity “creep” that happened and got to the point of requiring users to use the Real ID account within the system to post on forums and EVEYWHERE they interacted on company websites.

She articulates clearly why this creates an unhealthy climate and a chilled atmosphere for many users.

[Read more…]

Thoughts on the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

Update: This blog post was written while reading the first draft released in the Summer of 2010. A lot changed from then to the publishing of the document in April 2011.

Here is my answer to the NSTIC Governence Notice of Inquiry.

And an article I wrote on Fast Company: National! Identity! Cyberspace! Why you shouldn’t freak out about NSTIC.

Interestingly in paragraph two on the White House blog it says that NSTIC stands for “National Strategy for Trusted Initiatives in Cyberspace” rather than “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace”.

This first draft of NSTIC was developed in collaboration with key government agencies, business leaders and privacy advocates. What has emerged is a blueprint to reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities and improve online privacy protections through the use of trusted digital identities.

[Read more…]

On Identity and Centralization

I was asked for a quote today to comment on F8 developments and the continuing apparent “centralization” of identity on that platform. It is not new for me to say these things but perhaps more crystallized…..

The turning point of the web becoming more social was mentioned several times today.

The issue at hand is fundamentally about FREEDOM: the freedom to choose who hosts your identity online (with the freedom to set up and host your own), the freedom to choose your persona – how you present yourself, what your gender is, your age, your race, your sex, where you are in the world. A prime example of WHY these freedoms are vital is the story of James Chartrand – you can read for yourself her story of being a “him” online as a single mother seeking work as a copy editor. Having a male identity was the way she succeeded.

We did a whole session at She’s Geeky the women’s technology unconference about women, identity and privacy online. ALL the women in that session had between 3-5 personas for different aspects of life and purposes. Many of those personas were ‘ungendered’ or male. I have not talked to many people of color about their online lives and persona management but should. I imagine that like women they choose for some of their persona not to identify racially.

Your “friends” shouldn’t be locked into a particular commercial context. This is where the work on client-side applications for identity management and social coordination for individuals are key. The browser was never designed to do these kinds of functions and I don’t think trying to make it do them is wise.

We need open “friend” standards where people are autonomous, without their identity tied to a commercial silo – like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, or any company. This is a vision of a web where I can “peer friend” my friends, and then no entity has power over our relationship. This requires people to be first-class objects on the web. Not easy to do, but essential for us to figure out.

Suicide Options for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

I have another post up on ReadWriteWeb that went up just after Christmas covering people who are choosing to leave Facebook or considering doing so along with the tools to help them.

Fed Up with Facebook Privacy Issues? Here is how to End it All.

It highlights two different Web 2.0 suicide machines; one is an art project called Seppukoo.com .

The service creates a virtual memorial for you and posts you on a suicide wall & they give you points for how many friends you had and how many of them choose to follow you to the “after life”. The leader board is here.  You can see the RIP page for one of the creators of the service – Gionatan Quintini here.

It received a cease and desist from Facebook and responded.

The response is not covered in the article (it wasn’t out when I wrote it). It has some great quotes that sound like language coming from the user-centric identity community.

5. My clients have the right to receive information, ideas, and photographs from those people whom are the legitimate proprietors of this data and can decide to share this data or to store it, with the prior consent of its respective owners. All of this is freedom of expression and the manifestation of thought and free circulation of ideas that is accepted and guaranteed in Europe and in the U.S.A.

6. Facebook cannot order the erasure of data that does not belong to it, acting against the free will of the owners of such data. This is not protection of privacy, but rather a violation of the free will of citizens that can decide freely and for themselves how to arrange their personal sphere.

We shall see how Facebook responds to this.

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is more comprehensive – covering LinkedIn & Twitter as well.

Here is the previous Read Write Web post on the changes in what is and is not public.

Demand for Web 2.0 suicides increasing

I went to the suidicemachine and got this message

We apologize to all our users for the breakdown of our service! Within the last hours the huge demand for 2.0 suicides completely overblew our bandwidth resources!

We are currently considering relocating to another serverfarm. Please consider suicide at a later moment and accept our apologies!

You can still try to catch a free slot, but chances are quiet low at the moment!

More from their site….

Faster, Safer, Smarter, Better Tired of your Social Network?

Liberate your newbie friends with a Web2.0 suicide! This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego. The machine is just a metaphor for the website which moddr_ is hosting; the belly of the beast where the web2.0 suicide scripts are maintained. Our services currently runs with facebook.com, myspace.com and LinkedIn.com! Commit NOW!

You can even see video’s about what happens as one uses the machine.

ok the FAQ’s get eve better…..

I always get the message “Sorry, Machine is currently busy with killing someone else?”. What does this mean?
Our server can only handle a certain amount of suicide scripts running at the same time. Please consider your suicide attempt at a later moment! We are very sorry for the inconvenience and working on expanding our resources.

If I kill my online friends, does it mean they’re also dead in real life?
No!   

What do I need to commit suicide with the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine?
A standard webbrowser with Adobe flashplugin and javascript enabled. So, it runs on Windows, Linux and Mac with most of browsers available.   

I can’t see my friends being killed, what happened?
Probably your flash-plugin is older than version 10? But yikes – you cannot stop the process anymore! Once you entered the login details, the machine is running the suicide script.   

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can I stop the process?
No!   

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can YOU stop the process?
No!   

What shall I do after I’ve killed myself with the web2.0 suicide machine?
Try calling some friends, talk a walk in a park or buy a bottle of wine and start enjoying your real life again. Some Social Suiciders reported that their life has improved by an approximate average of 25%. Don’t worry, if you feel empty right after you committed suicide. This is a normal reaction which will slowly fade away within the first 24-72 hours.

Do you store any data on your webserver, like password of the user?
We don’t store your password on our server! Seriously, it goes directly into /dev/null, which is equal to nirvana! We only save your profile picture, your name and your last words! Will the 2.0 suicide machine be available for other networks such as twitter and plaxo? We are currently working on improving our products!. Currently we are working on Flickr and Hyves, but of course we are eagerly thinking of ways to get rid of our “Google Lifes”.   

How does it work technically?
The machine consists of a tweaked Linux server running apache2 with python module. Selenium RC Control is used to automatically launch and kill browser sessions. This all driven by a single python/cgi script with some additional self-written libraries. ?Each user can watch her suicide action in real-time via a VNC remote desktop session, displayed on our website via an flash applet rendered live into the client’s webbrowser. We are also running some customized bash scripts plus MySQL in the background for logging and debugging, jquery for the website and a modified version of the great FlashlightVNC application built in Flex. Web2.0 Suicide Machine consists of roughly 1800 lines of self-written code.   

Why do we think the web2.0 suicide machine is not unethical?
Everyone should have the right to disconnect. Seamless connectivity and rich social experience offered by web2.0 companies are the very antithesis of human freedom. Users are entraped in a high resolution panoptic prison without walls, accessible from anywhere in the world. We do have an healthy amount of paranoia to think that everyone should have the right to quit her 2.0-ified life by the help of automatized machines. Facebook and Co. are going to hold all your informations and pictures on their servers forever! We still hope that by removing your contact details and friend connections your data is being cached out from their servers. This can happen after days, weeks, months or even years. Just deactivating the account is thus not enough! [emphasis mine]

How much does it cost to kill myself?
Usage of Web 2.0 Suicide machine is for free.   

Can I build my own suicide machine?
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India says it will be creating National ID for Citizens

I found this last night on Slashdot – it was to important not to blog about. “India to Put All Citizen Info into Central Database

Reading the article in The Independent this stood out for me

The creation of the ID or Unique Identification Number (UID) was a major plank of the manifesto of the ruling Congress Party during the recent election.

India is not a western democracy where “everyone” has papers and certificates of birth. As the article highlights

“This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo, without access to public services, employment and basic welfare.”

Our identities don’t come from government – they come from our social interactions and relationships.

The other issue that comes from this is “everyone in one database” is a giant honey pot.

Personal Anchors on the Web for Digital Identities

I have been evangelizing about user-centric identity on the web 5 years. I talk about the ideas with people constantly explaining and re-explaining different developments in the field, forward looking projects and visionary ideas community members talk about. I watch what I say carefully and I notice when I start thinking and explaining something differently.

The new term that has emerged for me this week is “anchor on the web”... as in Where is your anchor on the web? or People have an anchor on the web – this is there “identity” – the question is do they control (owning a domain name) it or is it controlled by the company that does.

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I link this metaphor because it evokes the image of a boat that is you and an anchor that is linking you to somewhere – do you want this to land in a stable place that you have control over? Likely yes – if you anchor to someone else’s ship (have your name in their domain space) you are literally tied to them. Rather then being able to visit them on your own terms and leave if you like.

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You can get copies of these images under CC license here.

In my last post I talked about facebook URLs and people getting their own domain name along with the contrast of usability with each. Chris Messina also wrote about facebook URLs and correctly points out that this is a battle over your digital identity.

I got a comment today from IWantMyName.com (they also have a blog) saying I was absolutely right about usability issues that domain registrars have.

You are absolutely right. It’s a common problem of domain registrars / hosting providers. They’re too focused on up-selling other services and the secondary market instead of serving the actual internet user. We’re watching the identity community closely with iWantMyName and will definitely provide identity management features in the future. For now, we already made the domain registration process easy and are helping users setting up apps like Gmail, Tumblr, Posterous etc.

Coincidently – today at SemTech the CEO of Nombray presented as part of Chris Saad’s talk about DataPortability. They let you very easily create a website under your own domain name that aggregates your information from around the web. I haven’t paid the $10 yet but I was very impressed with the usability of the sign up process and you can see my the 1/2 working site here.

There is of course Chi.mp too – but some how it feels a bit more like being tied to somewhere then actually owning your own domain (paying for it) and setting up the services under it.

The next level of interoperability and user-empowerment will be the way these systems map/document your online life and how they give you the data in a standard way when you leave their service to go to a different one.

I am hopeful these sites are the basis of what will become personal data stores that project VRM has brainstormed about and people/companies are developing.

UpDate: Wow and that was Post: 1000 for this blog!