Thursday, July 8, 2010

Anonymity is the Enemy

I am restating some ideas already expressed by Seth Godin, David Kirkpatrick and Mark Zuckerburg, but I believe the current greatest enemy to online privacy, copyrighting, legal, libel, and simple self-governance, is the issue of user anonymity.

The motion of many organizations, including the social media leader, Facebook, is towards an internet that requires identification and validation of the user. The method currently used is very primitive: validation through registered email, placing verification code onto a personal website or blog, and early steps into universal profile connections such as Google's Friend Connect, OpenSocial, and Facebook Connect.


The leaders in this are obviously Google and Facebook, both racing to become “The Internet,” essentially being everywhere and touching everything, the most recent play by Facebook of putting the “Like” button everywhere. But here is where the move toward a user-identified web is affecting the world of online gaming:

Bye-bye trolls? Blizzard forums to use real names

July 7th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

By BARBARA ORTUTAY
AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Activision Blizzard Inc.'s move to require people to use their real names if they want to post messages in online forums for games is the latest sign that online anonymity is falling out of favor with many companies.

The upcoming change has upset many gamers who prize anonymity and don't necessarily want their gamer personas associated with their real identities.

Blizzard, the maker of "World of Warcraft," said Tuesday that the new rule will go into effect later this month. It will apply first to forums about the highly anticipated "StarCraft II," out July 27; other games are to follow.

Blizzard hopes that making people use their real names will cut down on nasty behavior in the forums and create a more positive environment. Players will have the option _ but not a requirement _ to display the name of their main game character alongside their real name.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Blizzard is the latest company to require real identities. But he added businesses have "a lot of freedom" in doing so.

Facebook, the world's most popular online social network, asks users to sign up with their real names. The company tries to delete fake profiles it comes across. A growing number of blogs and news sites are also abandoning anonymity. The Buffalo News said last month it will start requiring commenters on its website to give their real names and the towns they live in, just as they would do in a printed letter to the editor...

Article continued here: http://bit.ly/beMaK4

2 comments:

Nocturnal Hermit said...

While I agree that feeling anonymous can inspire one to unleash their inner angst - it's not the cause of their angst and it will manifest in other forms that affect you in more concrete ways. Please reconsider your intellectual yet Orwellian musings.

Shawn Butler said...

@Nocturnal Hermit I still believe I am right on this. I look at the growth and success of verification tools on Twitter, Foursquare, Gmail, and the increase of sites incorporating Facebook Connect in order to decrease anonymity. I think they are actually trying to INCREASE accountability.

I think people behave differently when we know that everyone else knows who we are. Although this will require your "angst"-filled web user to vent his or her rage in other areas, I think it will be preferable to trolling inflammatory comments and spam on YouTube videos and public spaces.

And for those who still need to vent their angst in ignominious online anonymity... there's always 4Chan.

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