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Google's CEO Warns Kids Will Have to Change Names to Escape "Cyber Past"

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the watch-how-you-play dept.

Google 706

Google's Eric Schmidt says that people's private lives are so well documented now that the young will have to change their names when reaching adulthood to avoid their youthful indiscretions. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Schmidt says: "I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time." A fresh start from the stupid things you did as a kid seems like a good thing. Now we just need a way to get rid of the dreaded family photo album.

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Either that (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33292092)

... or we'll collectively learn that throwing rocks in the neighbour's window is NOT a life-tainting event that will destroy your life forever? Criminal records are, in theory, forever, and even killers get to move on when their sentences are done.

Re:Either that (5, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 4 years ago | (#33292108)

even killers get to move on when their sentences are done.

Sex offenders... not so much.

Re:Either that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292286)

Sex offenders... not so much.

Drawn and quartered would be a better punishment for some of them.

Re:Either that (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292314)

Yeah, it'd be better if they just killed their victims.

Re:Either that (-1, Flamebait)

Rei (128717) | about 4 years ago | (#33292496)

So you're saying that people who've been victims of sex crimes would be better off if they committed suicide?

Re:Either that (5, Insightful)

tacarat (696339) | about 4 years ago | (#33292558)

Unfortunately the label is occasionally applied too broadly [] and in ways that probably weren't intended [] . Even if the charges and label get cleared, the financial costs would be great and the damage to one's reputation may not be repairable. It's hard enough to find people that RTFA, much less the follow up stories.

Re:Either that (5, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | about 4 years ago | (#33292428)

Sex offenders... not so much.

You have to remember that in an insane society ruled by religious wackos whose mental disease revolves around fighting "sin" killing is a far, far, far, lesser crime than all things sex-related.

You see killing is a forgivable sin (after all you can't have religious wars without killing and the "holy book" of the month is full of mass murder in the name of spreading the lunacy) but controlling sex resides deeply at the very core of the warped, hateful, controlling, jealous egos of the zealots.

It is no coincidence that the ravings on the subject of "morality" coming from the Taliban officials and US "born again" politicos are so similar.

Re:Either that (-1, Troll)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 4 years ago | (#33292498)

I have never seen a more fitting username

Re:Either that (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33292434)

Yeah it's ridiculous. The "sex offense" is not something worthy of a life sentence to be treated as one of the shunned.

As for youthful indiscretions, employers who do google searches on potential employees will quickly realize that all their candidates have tainted backgrounds. That's the moment where they will either keep their unrealistic standards and not be able to hire anybody, or else have to admit there's no such thing as a perfect employee.

I've found a few messages on Usenet as far back as 1988. Fortunately most of the really horrible things I've said (cough) disappeared when BBSes went defunct.

Re:Either that (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292450)

Or Felons, You get popped for any small infraction, (It's amazing what is a felony these days.) and you are screwed for a very long time after your sentence is over, and for some things, forever.

I did 8 months for firecrackers (That weren't actually illegal, but the lying feds convinced a jury that they were.) because I pissed of a sheriff who stood by and let some children die (Sheriff Stone of Columbine) and ten years later, I still can't get a decent job, and I will never again work in the two fields I'm best at. Computer Security and Firearms training. and in many states, can't even vote for change or reform, or ever hold public office. All because I stood up for what was right.

So much for getting to move on...

Re:Either that (4, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | about 4 years ago | (#33292114)

but, but, but.... that guy applying for a job said something mean 20 years ago! We can't hire him, what if he is the same as he was when he was seven years old? Our company can't take that chance!

Re:Either that (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | about 4 years ago | (#33292390)

When we're all unemployable we'll all be unemployeed.

That day is almost here.

Re:Either that (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33292466)

When we're all unemployable we'll all be unemployeed.

Does that mean there will be more people posting on /. ?? Ugh, here comes the eight-digit ID's

Re:Either that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292124)

Agreed. There's one great, big collective stick up our asses about kids being kids and doing stupid shit and/or just having fun. To hell with changing their names, how about the rest of us just grow the fuck up?

Re:Either that (2, Funny)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 4 years ago | (#33292396)

Nah, thats too easy and simple. We need some long drawn out and complex solution of sorts, with a cool name and light effects of course. Perhaps some type of name changing time machine like the Past-Name Evisceration Machine 9X

Re:Either that (3, Insightful)

aliddell (1716018) | about 4 years ago | (#33292142)

Seems more likely that getting smarter about hiding things is the way to go - as unlikely as that seems, it's far more likely than an end to people digging up dirt and blowing it out of proportion. Besides, kids can hide stuff pretty well. If you got caught as a kid, you were doing it wrong.

Re:Either that (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 4 years ago | (#33292268)

Yeah but now kids get caught because they paste it all over the internet. Look I set my neighbors garage on fire!

Re:Either that (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33292300)

I am going to have to interject here.

Back in the day, you do something stupid and brag to your friends about it in person. Now kids are bragging about doing stupid things on facebook, myspace and twitter. Not only do hundreds or thousands more people know about it, but a record of it exists for all time.

Another problem is facebook and other people tagging you in their pictures. You don't even need to have a facebook account and you can be unknowingly leaking information to facebook that could make you unemployable in the future.

Re:Either that (5, Interesting)

ovu (1410823) | about 4 years ago | (#33292384)

Not to mention that emerging facial recognition features in photo sharing sites will render name changes an exercise in futility. Society's going to be forced to loosen up.

Re:Either that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292550)

If you can find dirt on everyone but one person appears to be clean, wouldn't you assume that he is probably hiding something that is much worse than the dirt you found?

Re:Either that (2, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | about 4 years ago | (#33292242)

When I did a summer job (age 20) my older colleagues occasionally asked me "had a good night out last night did you? ;-) ;-)". Generally when I was clearly struggling to stay awake, or the time I turned up to work still drunk.

Four years later, and some of the placement students at work have added me to Facebook. Sometimes I can see they've had a good night out even before they've got home from it, let alone got in to work, but it's no different really.

I'm sure we'll just learn to ignore it, and consider it normal. I'd rather work with someone who has a Facebook page full of comments, a selection of interests and some drunk pictures than the antisocial guy with no life.

Re:Either that (2, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | about 4 years ago | (#33292310)

I second that, I never understand why normal behaviour is considered taboo. Going out drinking and having fun with friends is something most all of us do from time to time. Why would you not hire someone because they get drunk in their off times? Wouldn't their performance and history of performance be a lot more important? This is the same reason I don't like drug testing. If it tested whether the person had done it that day it wouldn't be so bad, but it's anytime in the last two weeks to 21 years depending on the test. That's completely pointless and says nothing about the reliability of the person.

I'm not sure when it became okay for businesses to inspect every aspect of your life, if only politicians were held to such scrutiny.

Re:Either that (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33292422)

Going out drinking and having fun with friends is something most all of us do from time to time.

So, do most of us do it, or do all of us do it?

Re:Either that (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292474)

Why would you not hire someone because they get drunk in their off times? Wouldn't their performance and history of performance be a lot more important?.

Here's what one *VERY LARGE* employer has to say about why you wouldn't hire someone because they get drunk in their off times:



Paragraph 21. The Concern. Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to the exercise of questionable judgment or the failure to control impulses, and can raise questions about an individual's reliability and trustworthiness.

Re:Either that (4, Funny)

epp_b (944299) | about 4 years ago | (#33292406)

I'd rather work with someone who has a Facebook page full of comments, a selection of interests and some drunk pictures than the antisocial guy with no life.

Darn. That's me :(

Re:Either that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292452)

I'll take the antisocial guy. Then again, I'm the IT manager for my company and I know how to spot the good geeks when I see them. I'd rather have the guy who sits at home and does productive things in his spare time than the frat boy who loves to go out and party.

Criminal records (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 4 years ago | (#33292248)

Actually, there is that little box on a job application asking "have you ever been convicted of a crime?" I never paid it any mind because it's easy to say "no" when that's the truth, but some people have to make a calculation. Is it better to check the box and hope they still get a chance to explain in the interview, or leave it blank and hope it never comes up that they lied on the application?

So having a criminal record can, indeed have long-lasting effects. Remember, the question is usually "have you ever."

(As aside, a friend of mine had to answer "have you ever been arrested, which led to the amusing story of him and four other high school kids breaking into the gym because they got locked out during a late track practice... charges were dropped but technically that was an arrest.)

Re:Criminal records (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 years ago | (#33292430)

They can't ask if you got arrested, that's illegal AFAIK. (IANAL)

Re:Criminal records (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#33292442)

Lying on a job application is considered fraud, it's not worth the potential risks and it's far too common for companies to run a $50 background check on potential employees. The kind of place that wouldn't invite you in because of that little check box (or at least call and ask about it) is going to have plenty of other issues. Now if you have a conviction for something that is related to your job, that might be a different story. Obviously, you don't want someone convicted of securities fraud becoming a stock broker or someone convicted of identity theft in charge of customer billing, but they should at least take the time to ask about the circumstances and hear your side of the story.

Re:Either that (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#33292280)

Sex offenders is an obvious exception, but any felony remains on the record and is also used to deny you your right to bear arms indefinitely... so in some respects, being marked as a criminal, marks you as a criminal forever.

Re:Either that (1)

epp_b (944299) | about 4 years ago | (#33292372)

Criminal records are, in theory, forever, and even killers get to move on when their sentences are done.

Oh, yeah? Try crossing an international border.

Re:Either that (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | about 4 years ago | (#33292528)

A friend of mine spent an evening in a Texas jail after a routine traffic stop when it was discovered that there was a warrant for his arrest because of a $50 check he wrote (over a year ago) that bounced. He was charged with a class C misdemeanor.

It was an even bigger surprise when he was denied entry to Canada because of this offense. As far as he knows, he's still not allowed entry into Canada.

It's a good thing Canada has such strict regulations, otherwise their country would be overwhelmed with these violent check-bouncing criminals.

Re:Either that (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | about 4 years ago | (#33292380)

While I agree that we do need to grow up as a culture and address crimes in a different fashion I would argue that once you have a criminal record, you always have a criminal record. Even after your sentence is done, you never truly get to move on even for the small stuff.

Re:Either that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292410)

Juvenile criminal records are not forever, they get locked away when you reach 18. Criminal past disappears, on the internet you don't get a fresh start, unless you hide your real identity in the first place or change it later.

What is new? (5, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | about 4 years ago | (#33292436)

I think in the West we had a strange unnatural period where for the first time in human history there was enough individuality and wealth across the general populace that we could actually keep our lives private. This is not a luxury that most peoples and cultures of the world either have now or have ever really had. The only difference now is that instead of being recorded in the memories of all our the members of our community and anyone they happen to talk about it with, it is recorded electronically.

Call me a extremist if you want (0, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 4 years ago | (#33292494)

But on the whole, I wouldn't hire the guy who somehow thinks throwing in your neighbors windows is "acceptable" no matter your age.

Gosh, I expected an example like a kid caught skipping school, or listening to some really bad music or being drunk. Not serious crime.

Oh, I set an orphanage on fire at 16, but that is just kids being kids.

Somewhere there is a level between stuff you shouldn't have done but you grew out of it AND serious warning signs that this person has trouble separating right from wrong. And the OP crossed.

What he wants is the "no consequences" society. Where nothing is ever your fault and you should never be made to face the consequences of your actions. The kind of world Amnesty International wants were not a single criminal would ever do time because it is just to hard on them.

Sorry, but the majority says NO.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. And the time is the rest of your fucking life. On behalf of everyone who did NOT throw in their neighbors windows. GET STUFFED.

Your Favorite Youthful Indiscretion? (0, Flamebait)

Nzimmer911 (1553899) | about 4 years ago | (#33292098)

Flaming farts? Star Wars Kid?

Re:Your Favorite Youthful Indiscretion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292134)

Well in defense of the former, he did manage to chase Mogomra the Giant Country Lobster back into the ocean where he belongs.

Re:Your Favorite Youthful Indiscretion? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292212)

I once bought an Alanis Morrisette album. (posted anonymously for obvious reasons)

Re:Your Favorite Youthful Indiscretion? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292464)

Celine Dion.

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Re:Your Favorite Youthful Indiscretion? (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33292536)

I once bought an Alanis Morrisette album. (posted anonymously for obvious reasons)

Isn't that ironic ...

Big Brother Is In The Building (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292112)

It looks like they've not only turned away from "Do no evil," they've killed it and disposed of the body.

Re:Big Brother Is In The Building (5, Insightful)

easterberry (1826250) | about 4 years ago | (#33292230)

Except that in this case they aren't actually, you know, DOing anything. Evil or otherwise. He's talking about a problem that the internet as a whole creates and would be equally rampant with or without Google which Google has practically no effect on.

It's not an article about Schmidt releasing some new antiprivacy system, it's just a point he's making that the internet makes your past easily accessible to everyone forever. Hell, it's more Facebook than Google who's responsible. But no. Feel free to shoot the messenger.

Re:Big Brother Is In The Building (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 years ago | (#33292388)

Jesus christ, you could have a a story about what Eric ate for breakfast and you'd get people spouting this line over and over again.
Also, why the hell do they all get it slightly wrong? It's "don't be evil" not "do no evil".

I say we bring back requested name changes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292116)

Fuck, we use the SSN like it's a throwaway identification nowadays. If it's compromised you might as well become a new person, it's easier than getting a new SSN reissued with your original name.

Easier Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292122)

Or, you know, we could just become less prudish as a society. But that's crazy talk.

Getting old (2, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | about 4 years ago | (#33292126)

I am getting really tired of Google's lack of respect for privacy; not to mention their hypocrisy...telling everyone else how to do things while they walk out with the safe through the back door. What a joke!

Re:Getting old (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292224)

Google may be quietly taking the safe out of the back door, but that's preferable to Microsoft shoving something in your back door.

Re:Getting old (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#33292330)

All these stories that you hear about Google, and especially Schmidt, aren't anti-privacy stories. In fact, I would argue that they're more along the lines of honest warnings. Most of what he says echos what is common sense the the nerd community:

"If you don't want people to know about something, don't post it online." How many times have we said nearly this exact same thing to our friends and family? I know I have, especially to my younger, less experienced relatives.

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time." He's right, society doesn't understand and until people learn to look past minor indiscretions society never will. Until that time, the only way to have a fresh start is to give people a name that doesn't have all the past associated with it. He's not saying, "We're going to post all your data and theirs nothing you can do about it!", he's saying "the data is out there and we need to find ways to deal with it on a personal and on a societal level".

Re:Getting old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292404)

Except for the fact that they aren't stealing anything, it's being put out there by everyone and their mother (sometimes unknowingly but who's fault is that?). All of these informatics companies still provide you with privacy protection information to help you understand why leaving your life details on facebook and the like is a bad idea, and yet, people still choose to do otherwise. Why? Ignorance. Don't fear the efficacy of gathering information thats 'already there' by a company who's core business model is information.

TLDR: Opt out

Re:Getting old (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 4 years ago | (#33292432)

I too grow weary of Google's preachy attitude toward security. But as far as I know, Google has never had any significant security breach (i.e. one that exposed personally identifiable information).

Re:Getting old (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33292480)

I am getting really tired of Google's lack of respect for privacy; not to mention their hypocrisy...telling everyone else how to do things while they walk out with the safe through the back door. What a joke!

Yeah, that does sound like a joke. Safes are pretty damn heavy. It would be extremely difficult to walk while carrying one.

Real name online (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 4 years ago | (#33292132)

I know I shouldn't have used my real name on Slashdot

Re:Real name online (1)

grub (11606) | about 4 years ago | (#33292264)

My real name is Ray Piste. That could be why I haven't had a job in 25 years.

Re:Real name online (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#33292392)

At least it's not Sak D. Octor... Sakdoc Tor? Sak Doctor??? Ahem

Re:Real name online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292426)

You did? Oh my. You have cruel, cruel parents.

Irony (4, Insightful)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | about 4 years ago | (#33292146)

Funny how that's coming from the guy who's indexing it all so we can find it easier.

Re:Irony (4, Insightful)

Jahava (946858) | about 4 years ago | (#33292368)

Funny how that's coming from the guy who's indexing it all so we can find it easier.

While Google may be the dominant information indexer, what they're doing doesn't require any special magic. Anybody can be indexing some or all of the information is out there (it's publicly-available, after all). Google being both dominant and public gives us a good idea of what can be done, but if Google didn't exist or limited itself, others would surely step in to fill that gap. It doesn't make what Mr. Schmidt said any less true.

To some degree we should count ourselves lucky that Google is both dominant and public. Imagine all of that information (still) being used against you, but you not having any idea of the vast quantity and depth of correlation that could be done.

Re:Irony (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#33292472)

For his next trick, he is going to unwrap GoogleNameChange(beta), where you can automate your transition from old life to new... Just be careful that you *dont* keep the same friends otherwise it will be trivial for anyone looking carefully to find your new identity. And for god's sake make sure you don't go with the default privacy settings of "allow anyone to see my old and new name, along with email and postal addresses and pictures of me drinking at a high school party".

To that, Schmidt will admit that the two practical options to escaping your past are 1) eliminate anyone who knew or could find out information about you (this may involve killing everyone on the planet) or 2) Combine your DNA with a willing partner, creating an offspring, and raise it to your specifications so that it may carry your life forward (giving it a unique name, of course.)

Re:Irony (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#33292546)

No matter who index it, google is not the only player in that field, nor are all only public search engines. The problem is that information is there, for anyone that want to collect, index, or use it. And being in Google makes you more aware of what is really there, and how it can be abused.

And you just can't filter out that information, IS the web, and something that at least the author in an implicit or explicit way wanted to be public, when posted it online.

Re:Irony (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#33292556)

The data is out there, what Google does is trivial compared to the effort that goes into creating the data in the first place. And I do mean trivial, you can knock out a web indexer in a couple weeks if you really had to. It wouldn't be as good as Google's and it wouldn't be very fast, but that doesn't change the facts of the situation. There is no sense in being angry at Google for indexing data that is freely available, the only people responsible for the data are the ones that make it widely available on the web and increasingly that is the very person that the information is about.

Scary (4, Insightful)

bieber (998013) | about 4 years ago | (#33292152)


"We're trying to figure out what the future of search is," Mr Schmidt said. “One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type. "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Surely he jests. I know Google hasn't always been the most steadfast guardian of personal privacy, but coming right out and stating that you want your company to become so intertwined with peoples' lives that it will plan their future for them? That's just creepy...

Re:Scary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292468)

It's just a speculation into what motivates people to do searches, and I think he's right. Most people using google for problem-solving (as opposed to research) work like this: 1. experience problem; 2. think up keywords; 3. search for them. He just wants to remove step 2., and search for solutions from the problem directly which seems reasonable; e.g. a google-agent watching the user fail at excel pivot tables for a few minutes and then suggesting an "I'm Feeling Lucky" page for it. Good luck with that though.

He has to say "Google" instead of "a search engine" because he works there. It does sound pretty creepy though.

Re:Scary (1)

joebok (457904) | about 4 years ago | (#33292542)

I don't think he is directly saying he wants Google to become so intertwined with lives and personal data, what he is saying is more subtle - he is saying that what he thinks people want is for Google to be able to provide a next level of information (which would necessitate the intertwining, etc.). His comments about the young needing to change their name since the information never "expires" offers the other side of the coin. I think he's giving us a monkey's paw warning - that we need to be careful what we wish for. The convenience of targeted ads and services comes with a price - all Schmidt is saying that Google will be happy to take us up on the deal - not that they are going to shove it down our throats no matter what.

Or (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292210)

people will stop acting like trash because there will be more consequences and the world will be a better place to live in.

Also, get over yourself, google.

Re:Or (2, Troll)

Z_A_Commando (991404) | about 4 years ago | (#33292470)

Too bad this is an entitlement generation who don't feel they should face any consequences for their actions.

Remember when you used aliases to post online? (4, Insightful)

stagg (1606187) | about 4 years ago | (#33292218)

This kind of schlock comes from the same corporate minds that have been pushing for real names and credit card information to be associated with all online interactions. I'd like to go back to taking anonymous aliases for granted again please.

Re:Remember when you used aliases to post online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292486)

Ha! Ha! I'm using a pseudo on the internet!

Just give your kids a famous name (3, Insightful)

Urd.Yggdrasil (1127899) | about 4 years ago | (#33292234)

I have the same name as a Canadian hockey player, though unintentionally, and virtually every result for my name on Google is for him. If your name is common enough and you practice information control over yourself you can almost completely avoid being in Google's system. The real problem is that youths are willing to give out vast amounts of personal information, partially because they don't realize the value of such information and partially because they are stupid kids.

Re:Just give your kids a famous name (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | about 4 years ago | (#33292290)


Re:Just give your kids a famous name (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#33292462)

How well will that work when Google (or any search engine, for that matter) successfully implements:

Did you mean: ${NAME} (date of birth: ${DATE}), ${NAME} (date of birth: ${DATE}) or ${SLIGHTLY_DIFFERENT_SPELLING_OF_NAME} ?

Re:Just give your kids a famous name (1)

KovaaK (1347019) | about 4 years ago | (#33292540)

What about the unfortunate people who end up with the same name as registered sex offenders, or people on the no-fly list? It's safer for the employer to just weed out the potential bad seeds early on...

Or maybe (4, Interesting)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | about 4 years ago | (#33292236)

People will grow up and learn that stupidity has consequences. Then train their kids to live productive giving lives instead of wasting their youth on idleness and pointlessly looking for lines to color outside of just to prove they are different.

Instead of planning on changing your name when you grow up you can choose be responsible instead.

Re:Or maybe (1)

fishexe (168879) | about 4 years ago | (#33292318)

People will grow up and learn that stupidity has consequences. Then train their kids to live productive giving lives instead of wasting their youth on idleness....

You mean instead of wasting their days on Slashdot? I know that's what I'll teach my kids...

Google promises not to index name changes? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 4 years ago | (#33292240)

I'm not sure he thought this one through.

Google can promise, but... (1)

fishexe (168879) | about 4 years ago | (#33292446)

...the rest of the internet will still find you [] .

Forward thinkers (5, Funny)

travdaddy (527149) | about 4 years ago | (#33292254)

"the young will have to change their names when reaching adulthood to avoid their youthful indiscretions"

OK guys, I have to admit, girls are WAY ahead of us on this one.

Geez (1)

Target Practice (79470) | about 4 years ago | (#33292266)

I think this guy has a goal to sound like an utter tool at least once a week...

Re:Geez (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 4 years ago | (#33292538)

You're only saying that because you don't know him personally. If you did, you'd realise his goal is to sound like an utter tool every day.

Not unless everyone does it (and even then) (1)

MLCT (1148749) | about 4 years ago | (#33292282)

I saw his comments earlier today, and it struck me that it won't make a bean of difference (in a social networking context) unless everyone changes their name. If you are still "connected" with a distinct (and essentially fingerprintable) social network of people then you are always identifiable - your old name can simply be correlated with your new one based on who all of your "friends" are and other indelible information (education, location, background, likes, dislikes, etc) - assuming you are not starting a new life in a new country and never speaking to anyone from your past ever again.

The only way it may be able to work is if everyone changed their names - and even then I think there would still be enough unchangeables to be able to positively correlate old and new identity information unless, again, you are starting a new life in a new country and have no connections to the past.

People who get heavily involved in social networks do not have a clue what the implications for them in the long term are - not even a smidgen of a clue. Facebook know you for life (because they know *you* - and all of *your* connections, not just a username connected to other usernames). Even when facebook fades away as the fad that it is and something else takes over as the hip trendy thing to do, facebook still know who you are, and can still use that to make money long after Zuckerberg has started shaving.

Escapeing your past? It's been done. (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 years ago | (#33292288)

Uh, most employers ask for any previous names you might have had. You know, to catch people escaping their past. I think a few people have tried that before.

Of course, before facebook, the solution was to just use a pseudonym. Not that it's a real solid solution, more like a cheap masterlock.

Noone uses a real name anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292296)

Half of the names on facebook, etc are bs. Just look at "Candy Apple" or "King Kong Shlong" for examples. Almost every chick you meet these days gives their "public" name to you: "What's your name?" .... "Oh, I'm Keshia, what's yours?". Kids figured this out years ago, dude you're just catching on now??

Stop making it available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292298)

If people would stop posting their idiotic behavior all over the web (Facebook, etc), this would be less of a problem.

Come to think of it, if they'd just stop being idiots in general the world would be a much better place.

what happens (2, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33292324)

I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time

Why, it becomes SOCIETY again. Way back before towns had 29 million people in them and mobility wasn't hyperamplified by oil and 99% of us interacted with the same few hundred folks every day of your life, people knew of the stupid shit you did when you were a kid and repeated it at your funeral.

But they also recognized that kids are ignorant, impulsive, incompetent beings, and they treated the adult differently and got on with the world.

I don't believe Mr. Schmidt understands what society is.

I know he doesn't understand what neutrality is.

I'm pretty sure he's lost the plot on evil, as well.

Robert');DROP TABLE Students;-- (0, Offtopic)

Ranger (1783) | about 4 years ago | (#33292342)

Not a new discussion (4, Insightful)

BenFranske (646563) | about 4 years ago | (#33292346)

This is not a new discussion... there have been people thinking about this for some time. In March of 2006 I wrote an article on my blog about it (reproduced below) which eventually led to me consulting with Public Radio on a show they were doing at the time about online public information (you can listen to an archived copy of that at October 12, 2007: Your Exposed Life on MPR []

My Original Article 3/24/2006:

I've often wondered who will be able to run for political office in forty or fifty years. People, especially youg people, seem to be so naive about posting things online. For years online forums and message boards have been a place where people vented. Now sites like Myspace, Facebook and others are creating such a low barrier to entry that almost every middle and high school child in the United States has some kind of web presence. What many fail to understand is that once something is posted or "said" on the internet it never goes away...ever. The internet is also quite easy to search if you know what you're doing. This dangerous combination means that everything you write to a message board can be found at some point in the future and "can and will be used against you". Any kind of off-color comment or joke you ever made online, even if your intention wasn't to hurt anyone, is public knowledge.

Employers already know about this. BusinessWeek recently ran an article called "You are what you post" that talked about some of the implications for job seeking but I think the arena where this will really get the consultants salivating is politics. There are so few people who are able to hold their tongue and never offend anyone. In the past politicians have relied primarily on obscuring and making it difficult to find embarrassing things about their past. When today's teens start running for political office these things will only be an internet search away. Remember that posting to that email discussion list about STDs you made when you were 15? How about that time someone on a message board got you mad and you called them a racial slur? You may have forgotten these incidents but the internet has not and neither will your enemies.

I wonder if the politicians of the future will need to be groomed from birth to have no defects and think very, very carefully before ever speaking. On the other hand our society may end up becoming more accepting of faults which would not be an all bad outcome. This remains to be seen but in the meantime those of us who have always tried to think about how what we say today could come back (for better or worse) in the future are going to be much better off than the indiscriminate masses.

Oh, that'll help... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33292350)

I'm certain that legal changes-of-name aren't public records, unlike virtually everything else the courts do(the interface might suck ass, it might even involve tromping down to the courthouse or some document depository somewhere; but that is what you pay LexisNexis for...)

The idea that the system is going to be so omnipresent and good at remembering that you would like to escape your past is highly probable, whether or not google aids and abets. The idea that such a system could be fooled by anything short of a cool few million in back alley sci-fi medicine, some seriously impressive document doctoring skills, and probably changing every habit, friend, and familiar location you've ever had is silly.

Or... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 years ago | (#33292354)

A fresh start from the stupid things you did as a kid seems like a good thing.

...people can grow the fuck up and realize no one is perfect and not everything we have done is a permanent reflection of who we are. Personally, I think complex people with a bit of adventure and experimentation under their belts are more interesting than the contrary.

New Google Service (1)

smist08 (1059006) | about 4 years ago | (#33292356)

Won't Google just enhance their search to give results for the name you are googling along with results for everyone who changed their name to the one you are Googling? Doesn't seem like this will separate you from your past. Best bet is to choose a common name like Tom Brown, Jim Wong, Stephen Smith, etc.

ICANN would regulate this, no? (1)

aapold (753705) | about 4 years ago | (#33292358)

I'm gonna start cyber-squatting on the best names...

Learn to accept we are all human. (0)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | about 4 years ago | (#33292376)

How about this instead. How about our generation finally admit to ourselves that we are all human and aren't "good little christians". Every single one of us will have to learn to not care otherwise there will be no one left to lead.

Easy fix (1)

alvinrod (889928) | about 4 years ago | (#33292394)

Okay, not an entirely easy fix, but what's to stop a society from creating laws preventing the collection or dissemination of this type of information?

The part I really don't understand is why Schmidt runs around and spouts crap that comes off as fear-mongering when this is the type of stuff on which Google is basing the company's future. If anything, he should be reassuring people that this kind of scenario will never come to pass because Google is more responsible than this and values the privacy of its users.

LOL... RLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292398)

I change names and email accounts all the time... it is how the internet works.

--- ac

Google - "OK Fine, Be Evil" (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 4 years ago | (#33292454)

I share a name with a famous athlete. I am a needle in a haystack as far as my real name in a google search.

In an effort to scatter my online activity I've recently put to rest the notion of having just one nick. Now I have many. Every new site or forum I join that allows anonymity I use a different nickname. I'm not fond of many of the new screen names I use, but I can walk away from my user profiles without caring.

I don't participate in myspace, facebook, or any site that encourages putting my personal info up there.

My wife on the other hand, does not share my feelings on the matter. As a result someone I know found my very private (for emergencies) cell number recently and decided to be nasty to me for not giving them the number.

I never had problems like that back in my BBS days.

Big Village (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292458)

Thousands of years ago, we'd be hard-pressed to move outside our tribe and start a new life for ourselves. Then technology and large populations come along and we're able to "start over" basically anywhere we like. Now we're back again to our tribe, albeit of 7 billion, where everyone can know our past again. Interesting.

Or maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292476)

people will come to realize that a lot of shit is not actually as important as the old generations thought, and just let them go ? and noone will need to hide their own true self ?

it aint stepford wives district anymore ...

Security through obscurity (1)

kaoshin (110328) | about 4 years ago | (#33292516)

The records for name change petitions are filed and can be viewed by the public unless a court seals it. IANAL.

Why would they mention that? (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 4 years ago | (#33292534)

The 55-year-old also predicted that in the future, Google will know so much about its users that the search engine will be able to help them plan their lives.

Why in the world would this man's age be relevant at all? Is this some less-than-subtle form of the 'old ppl sux @ teh inernt' stereotype?

I'm not a narcissist, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33292544)

I'm not a narcissist, so I don't use Facebook or Twitter. Therefore this does not affect me.

Oh great... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 4 years ago | (#33292562)

>I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available

Actually, you have the perfect example in a small town, where everybody knows your name, who you are, where you live, what you have done...etc. The only exception is that they have no choice but to move away to a new town as far away from their own town to avoid anyone knowing what happened. Changing your name is not possible, unless you are made of I think the first Google generation wont be able to get by, but all generations after that should be brought up with the thought that anything you do or say can be captured and posted online, so think twice before you tarnish someone's name or start sending out pics of your butt to your friends.

Parents need to be more proactive especially today, in their kids lives, whether real or virtual, to avoid cyber bullying, to avoid
sexual predators, and also to avoid all the junk that comes from being young and stupid. Our lives no longer remain real, they are virtual as well, so now the parents must be even more implicated!

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