At the Edinburgh International TV Festival, NPR's Andy Carvin asks Google Exec. Chairman Eric Schmidt about privacy, nymwars, and Google+
Andy (@acarvin) has done some innovative and valuable journalism on the Twitter platform this past year, retweeting, curating, and factchecking tweets from activists, reporters, and "regular people" on the street in popular uprisings throughout the Middle East. Many of those Twitter sources use nyms, because revealing their "real names" is a matter of life and death under despotic regimes such as the ones in Libya or Syria.
So with that experience in mind, Andy asked Eric how he justifies Google's apparent "real names or go home" stance, given that real identities could put people at risk?
Comment thread on Andy's G+ stream is here
He replied by saying that G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information.
Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It's obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn't use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria, people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to their government's own policies, which implies there's no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms.
He also said the internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.
Google's Bradley Horowitz articulates a somewhat different view here, in an interview with Tim O'Reilly. From what I can tell, there is a diversity of opinion within Google, and even within the Google+ team, on how best to handle the admittedly complex matter of personal identity. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
You won’t need to think twice about going hands-free on the road with Exomount’s easy-to-use car mount. It mounts your smartphone so easily, you literally only need one hand to quickly secure your phone in the perfect position and get driving. Don’t risk a ticket, use the world’s best suction technology to effortlessly mount and […]
It’s time for a power upgrade — throw out that tired-out power strip and swap in this family-size USB charger, packed with 6 high-speed ports. With a built-in control chip, Kinkoo optimizes each port to ensure the fastest charging possible for all your devices. The Kinkoo is made from high-grade and durable materials so you […]
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]