What’s in a name?

Like many other people I rushed to join Google+, partly because I was finding Facebook a rather restrictive and passive aggressive space – like the insistence of ‘real names’ and forcing you to adopt ‘real-sounding’ names (they have no way of checking apart from keyword searches although will ask you to send ID if they still don’t ‘believe’ that is your name – CIA much?). So I was disappointed to find that Google+ was copying Facebook even down to the ‘real names’ policy.

So I joined the outcry of likes of Skud, danah boyd and Scoble (apparently not his real name?) and others I know personally (Madge Weinstein was one) who have been thrown off G+ for not having real names (and those people have been slurred by Google employees for having unspecified ‘naughty’ things they were doing, conveniently shielded by ‘legal’ reasons – in itself a very bad PR move). I dared Google+ to end my account, reported myself as being in violation in feedback and on Google employee threads. If having a real or ‘real sounding’ name and living under the fear of losing my account on a whim, then you can keep your wanky Fakebook. I’ve not heard anything as yet…

I hope Google steps down from this stupid policy which isn’t just a few tech-bloggers getting annoyed that they can’t call themselves Sparkleface McJones The Thurd or something. This issue affects LGBT people, abuse survivors, teenagers, those in various minorities and disaffected groups (like the Latin American transgender people I mentioned in the last post – bullying doesn’t just exist offline) and just those like me who just don’t want a bored security guard at an airport Googling up my entire online history (it does happen) or my clients or enployers searching for my details getting random and possibly work-losing posts popping up. And I agree with danah it is an abuse of power – these networks aren’t completely optional anymore, with people having to join for work or because of relatives (or have to leave because of same). The idea of ‘lump it or leave it’ ignores how big and ubiquitous these networks have become, there will be a time when all these sites are connected and you don’t have an option anymore…and then ‘real names’ will be an even bigger issue.

To me, my online nicks ARE my names, people call me by them in real life sometimes and it doesn’t bother me – and I’ve been using them upto 15 years. Strange idea of what a ‘real name’ is – and Facebook is full of nasty, homophobic, racist and mysoginistic stuff written by those with ‘real  names’ – it doesn’t stop those things, make it suddenly more fluffy…the insistence on real names is more for advertisers, news corporations (hey how else will they find the picture of the latest killer or victim?!?) and I suspect more sinisterly security organisations. This row over G+ reveals how anonymity is being eroded on the Internet, gradually – and that these corporates want to know everything about you – and don’t really care if you get sacked or your identity is stolen by someone else, they just see the advertising dollars – real profiles are worth far more than pseudonymous or anonymous ones – Google and Facebook knows that. If they want people to use their networks they do need to make sure leaks and privacy invasions can’t happen, and with all the ‘privacy’ leaks and changes on Facebook I see not very much concern from them about that, so hence not wanting to have my name out there, intentionally or otherwise.

BTW I love this site ‘My Name is Me’ which says it all really…

RC 164: Are you ready? (Oddz and Sods 9)

Well are ya, punk?

I’m ready for a long sitdown and a nice cup of tea (66.6Mb, 86mins)

Xmas comes early pt 3

Here’s the direct link for the RadioClash File (Zip) ;-)

The tracks:

1. Who Boys- Hugh Boy Secret Agent
2. LeedDM101 – Hot Pursuit
3. Celebrity Murder Party – Dumb Paranoia
4. dj lobsterdust – It’s Fun to Smoke Dust
5. dj lobsterdust – Stompinion
6. CMP – The Honeytrap
7. dj lobsterdust – Thund0-Clap0
8. RIAA- Mind Control CIA
9. dj lobsterdust – Krispy Eater
10. Who Boys – Eye Spy
11. CMP – Dickhead
12. LeedDM101 – The Assassin
13. dj lobsterdust – Wanna be your Alala
14. LeedDM101 – Die Silently
15. World Famous Audio Hacker – Spy
16. Copycat – L’Anarchie pour le UK

Liquid explosives or liquid lies?

(crossposted from my Livejournal)

I have been telling anyone personally who will listen about the stupidness of the liquid explosives plot and how it wasn’t possible because even my little-remembered rudimentary GCSE Chemistry (I had a very teenage practical interest in things that go bang, so I think I unusually took notice at that point) reminded me that liquids forms of things, especially explosive things, were usually extremely unstable. Hence why you have semtex, dynamite, etc (I wonder how many more keywords I can put in to confuse the keyword searching CIA bots!?)

So I was pleased to see via fellow LJblogger and podcaster nlotic that, in fact, I was right. An article from The Register shows exactly not only how unlikely it would be, but that it’s actually impossible on a modern commercial airline flight.

I wonder how long before it gets pulled or criticised by idiots for ‘telling the terrorists how to do it!’, totally missing the point, or the fact that the Journal of the American Chemical Society had all this info anyway years ago…and that this whole panic seems to be a fraud, or intentional scare with no teeth, at best.

Stupid science, stupid panic – but that never stopped politicians and security wonks before, did it?


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