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Who Owns Your Social Identity?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the somebody-stole-your-pretentious-latin-nickname dept.

Social Networks 190

wjousts writes "Who actually owns your username on a website? What rights do you have to use it? An IEEE Spectrum podcast reports: 'What happens if Facebook or Twitter or, say, your blog hosting service, makes you take a different user name? Sound impossible? It's happened. Last week, a software researcher named Danah Boyd woke up to find her entire blog had disappeared, and in fact, had been renamed, because her hosting service had given her blog's name to someone else.' And as important as they are, what protects our accounts are the terms of service agreements. If you read them — and who does? — you'd learn, probably to no surprise, that they protect the provider a lot more than they protect you."

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190 comments

money (2)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078626)

whoever has more money gets their way.. it really is that simple. in this case the host will give the name to the one who is most likely to sue and who has the financial backing to do so. I miss the days of first-come-first-serve on the internet.

Re:money (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078634)

But what if I kill the person with the money? Then I win!

Re:money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078660)

You win buttsecks in the federal prison.

Re:money (1)

battling (2128650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078706)

You win buttsecks in the federal prison.

...and a prisoner's unique ID which your prison "admin" changes after you get used to it :-P

Re:money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078708)

I get the feeling that you feel proud of a system where money can buy anything.

Re:money (5, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079184)

I get the feeling that you feel proud of a system where money can buy anything.

I get the feeling you feel there's actually any real-life "system" where enough money can't buy anything. It's only a matter of price, blatantness, and which things are cheaper than others.

There isn't any system where money can't corrupt, because the system is people and people have been, are, and will forever continue to be corruptible as long as people are people.

The only defense is to make government as weak/small as possible on the national Federal Government scale to make it necessary for a would-be briber to have to bribe many, many politicians & officials across the entire nation instead of a handful or one to have national effect.

The more power given to the current massive central government the more a target for corruption it becomes and the more damage that can be inflicted on the citizens, and the more power shifts to the rich political elite who have the connections and can afford to play.

This is basically just systems analysis, people! A distributed system is less vulnerable to attack at a single or even multiple points. It can also be looked at as the US Constitution representing FOSS and Liberalism/Progressivism representing closed-source proprietary software.

Hold on, hold on people! This isn't some troll/flame. Take a few moments to read and think about it.

FOSS advocates for a distributed, volunteer method of development (Constitutional democracy, checks and balances, & free-market Capitalism) whereas closed-source proprietary software advocates for a central control with closed development and no source code access, restrictive EULA's, TOS's, etc (Liberal/Progressive top-down government command-&-control, centrally-planned/controlled economy, legislation/regulation control of people's behavior).

I know I shouldn't be shocked, but it never ceases to amaze me how many times I hear and read comments from strong FOSS advocates against proprietary software using much of the same logic and many of the same arguments that invalidate Liberalism/Progressivism as viable, fair systems, yet are vocal supporters of the Left when it comes to politics and sneer at the very same logic and arguments they themselves used regarding FOSS vs closed-source proprietary software.

Strat

Re:money (1)

Psion (2244) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079402)

Outstanding! You're absolutely right about this and the obvious corruption inherent in centralized authority. I've had this same argument with many others -- it would seem to be obvious that it's easier for massive corporations to get their way if there's one-stop-shopping in Washington, but most people seem to want a super-powerful, central government that can give them anything they want.

And as Jefferson pointed out, can also take it all away.

There's also the point that distributing government across fifty states gives us all fifty more times to find good solutions to any problem. Rather than pick one solution and apply it to every state along with the hope that it's the right choice, fifty states all seeking their own, best solution increases the chance of actually finding a solution that works. It's a political form of biological diversity.

Re:money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079610)

most people seem to want a super-powerful, central government that can give them anything they want.

I'm over 40 years old and haven't met one person ever that wants a super-powerful central government that can give them anything they want and neither have you. A bigger problem than central government is people who pepper their arguments with superlatives, color anecdotes with charged adjectives, and sometimes just flat out make shit up when they argue a political point. For far too many people it's becoming a habit.
Your comment is far from an extreme example of this, relatively mild, but it is just that kind of debate tactic that has our country divided in half. So stop. Even if you're right, don't be right that way.

Re:money (1)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079566)

Very good post.

While touting the good that comes from spreading power away from individuals in government, we must be careful not to assume that big business is any better than big government. Not that I got that implication from the parent post... but like it stated, the less power any individual has, the better off we all are. So in that sense, we don't want huge monopolies any more than we want huge government. Billionnaire CEOs have so much power and influence, they might as well be kings. And we certainly don't want government giving special favors to mega-corporations over small businesses.

(Don't ask me how we solve all these problems at the same time... indeed, regulating mega business would seem to require a big government.)

Re:money (1)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078664)

until those whom that person paid/lobbied for enforce the laws he also lobbied for to come after you..

Re:money (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078682)

Or whoever has more clout: by the time this article showed up on Slashdot, Danah Boyd had already been on the phone with Tumblr's CEO, and the account had already been reinstated.

Re:money (1)

wen (35796) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078736)

Ahhhh....... I would definitely have chipped in to sue.

Hey that's an interesting idea, Open Source litigation, or open source patent trolling..... We can have tyranny of the masses!

Re:money (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079424)

Ya reckon somebody read the part of her blog that sez she is a researcher for Microsoft and went "Oops..."? If I was a second-tier 'net company with visions of being bought someday that particular name might have given me pause...

Re:money (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078764)

If you're using a free service, you should expect that if someone comes along and offers to buy your username, they'll get it. I don't know why this would be surprising.

Re:money (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078952)

If you're using a free service, you should expect that if someone comes along and offers to buy your username, they'll get it. I don't know why this would be surprising.

How about paying an ISP for an email account and having spamers use your username freely?

Re:money (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078786)

It's been like that for a really long time. That's why you get TM and copyright protection over your Imaginary Property, so other people can't claim they own it. It's a rat race, but either you comply or you're subject to potential great inconvenience with no notice, because you have no Imaginary Property rights.

Re:money (4, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078816)

Money is a social construct, which exists by consent. So it isn't accurate to say that money will buy anything. The correct statement is that we consent to allow anything to be bought with money. When the problem is restated this way, the logical consequence is inescapable: only as long as we stand by and allow money to buy anything can it in fact buy anything. If we are not happy with a world in which things work this way, all we need to is withdraw our consent in sufficient numbers to effect change. This is the basis for the rule of law.

Re:money (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079568)

Mod parent up. Not only was this a good post, but the poster used effect correctly. A rare double whammy of a post.

Re:money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079786)

People have tried to create their own private currencies before, the government has mostly shut them down. Hence, that's partly the reason why the authors of Bitcoin attempted to ensure Bitcoin was decentralized in nature, to make it harder for governments to shut it down.

There is a genuine need for currency, it facilitates trade by making it far more efficient. but it's kinda hard to boycott money in favor of another currency when the government will use violence to enforce its will (governments enforce laws with violence).

Re:money (1)

mijelh (1111411) | more than 2 years ago | (#36080100)

The GP said we shouldn't allow money to buy *everything*. Whether or not you use bitcoin or any other currency system makes no difference in this case.

Who owns it? Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078636)

Or someone like that - someone who will try to make money off it.

Be careful... (4, Funny)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078654)

...you could lose a gem like this one [urbandictionary.com].

Re:Be careful... (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079728)

I still clearly remember watching that skit, it's still my favorite skit, and I still, on occasion, reference it inappropriately. I don't know that anyone's ever understood it, but the possibility that there's scores of people in this world who think I'm some sort of sexual deviant who goes for red noses and brown noises, well.. that, too, makes me laugh.

Usernames should never change (1)

battling (2128650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078674)

That's very weird practice. The website should preserve your blog name, urls of your articles and so. Otherwise they break all links to the articles and confuse your readers... sadly, the website owner is the one that rules :-/ I hope it never happens to me...

Re:Usernames should never change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078804)

But the website owner doesn't care about your readers. They'll do whatever gets them the most money.

Re:Usernames should never change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078872)

But by doing this the website might lose more than one small blog. The precedent they set can scare new people from joining, and convince some old users from leaving.

Re:Usernames should never change (3, Insightful)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078928)

Big hosting companies don't care that it's counterproductive. They have policies.

Best to buy a domain name for yourself.

Re:Usernames should never change (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078934)

Best to buy a domain name for yourself.

Exactly: if you need an online identity that you control, buy your own domain. It is not terribly hard to do, and it is not terribly expensive.

Re:Usernames should never change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079092)

But then how can we let data farming companies own and control everything we do, if we use the very peer-to-peer nature the internet was designed for like that?

No... we should all trust Facebook and Twitter with everything.

Re:Usernames should never change (2)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079098)

sadly, the website owner is the one that rules :-/

How can this be "sadly"? So you want that someone who doesn't PAY A DIME for a service GIVEN FOR FREE, to get granted higher rights than the person owning the domain name and infrastructure? Come on, on what world are you living?

That guy and his wife just got what they paid for, and the only person they have to blame is themselves for being greedy, or trusting enough someone they don't know, and give out personal content. Would you give your personal diary to a random person on the street? Same issue here.

Hosting a blog on your own website doesn't cost much, I'm sure you could find such a shared hosting service for less than 20USD / year.

Re:Usernames should never change (1)

hb79 (917595) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079518)

That guy and his wife just got what they paid for, and the only person they have to blame is themselves for being greedy, or trusting enough someone they don't know, and give out personal content. Would you give your personal diary to a random person on the street? Same issue here.

Hosting a blog on your own website doesn't cost much, I'm sure you could find such a shared hosting service for less than 20USD / year.

Exactly, and there is no free lunch. Facebook, Flickr, Fwitter, or Froogle do not give you anything for free, and cannot be trusted with your business. Seems like this was good lesson learnt for the couple.

Well, yeah. (1)

Glarimore (1795666) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078702)

It would make sense that the entity writing the contract would be favored in the contract it had written. Especially when they serve a large number of customers and don't individualize their contracts.

Ad Impressions from Customer Content-generation (3, Insightful)

Dr.Hair (6699) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078720)

Not just money to sue. But a service whose entire revenue model is dependent on customer generated content creating ad impressions is more likely to hand an identity from someone who produces little revenue to one they think will generate more ad impressions. (So you're safer if your social identity is a big traffic generator, say like a Scoble.)

Southpark, dead-on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078746)

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s15e01-humancentipad

What protects your social identity? (2, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078754)

Why, the same thing that protects you if someone steals your identity in the real world.

Unicorns, vigilante superheroes and the goodwill of corporations like Mastercard - all in equal measure.

Re:What protects your social identity? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079590)

Why, the same thing that protects you if someone steals your identity in the real world.

Unicorns, vigilante superheroes and the goodwill of corporations like Mastercard - all in equal measure.

That's ridiculous. Because every knows that even if the other two are imaginary, there are, in fact, a few vigilante superheroes.

Re:What protects your social identity? (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079630)

That's ridiculous. Because every knows that even if the other two are imaginary, there are, in fact, a few vigilante superheroes.

You find me one with 'super' powers that would defend Axman13 and I'll agree.

domain names? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078808)

Should have bought your own domain name instead. That way it is registered as belonging to you, so long as you don't violate a legitimate trademark (for certain registrars and TLDs). But no, just make a tumblr account because it is easy.

Re:domain names? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078878)

Hell, do both, then tumblr have no control over the blog domain.

It's easy to set up and you're not relying on goodwill to keep "ilikebigbugs.blogspot.com" or whatever it turns out to be

She did register zephoria.org (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078886)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

Should have bought your own domain name instead.

Should have read the article instead. I quote: "Last week, a software researcher named Danah Boyd woke up to find her entire blog had disappeared [zephoria.org]." The link goes to a page on zephoria.org about how the username zephoria on Tumblr got reassigned and then reinstated.

Re:She did register zephoria.org (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078958)

So what is the complaint, exactly? If it is about Tumblr...then so what? She has her own domain, and she could run her own microblogging system on her own domain if she wanted to.

Follow across multiple microblog providers? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078980)

She has her own domain, and she could run her own microblogging system on her own domain if she wanted to.

But I haven't seen evidence of a follow operation across multiple microblog providers. Can a user of Twitter follow users of Tumblr and Identi?

Re:Follow across multiple microblog providers? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079048)

...and? Either it is time to write a program that does that, or to move to a system that is more open and more easily interoperates with other systems.

Re:Follow across multiple microblog providers? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079152)

Either it is time to write a program that does that

And run the risk of having the popular microblog providers block that program's access to the microblog providers' data feeds, just as all major U.S. TV networks have blocked access from Google TV-powered devices.

or to move to a system that is more open and more easily interoperates with other systems.

Say I have used T*r for months or years, and I want to abandon T*r in favor of "a system that is more open and more easily interoperates with other systems." So how do I convince all the T*r users who are following me on T*r to drop T*r in favor of something else?

Re:Follow across multiple microblog providers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079228)

They will follow you if they care to... what does it matter, people collect followers?

Re:Follow across multiple microblog providers? (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079302)

You don't convince them to drop tumblr, you tell them why you are, and where they can find you. if they're really following you they will follow you somewhere else too.

Re:Follow across multiple microblog providers? (2)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079368)

I've often pondered that question, and I keep coming to the conclusion that a perfectly good system exists for that: RSS feeds. A lot of proper blogging services (LiveJournal et al) provide RSS by default with any blog. Twitter doesn't, afaik, and neither does Facebook - they prefer to keep all the users in their own walled-off ecosystem, just like AOL did once upon a time.

Straight RSS feeds don't allow for comments and/or replies, of course, so it's effectively limited to following; but then you can always reply on the actual service, or "retweet" a comment on your own preferred service.

And, best of all, RSS is already incorporated in most products people use. I have a load of RSS feeds nicely plugged into my Mozilla bookmarks. I suspect IE, Chrome and Opera also support a similar mechanism. There's Google Feed Reader or whatever it's called, and uncountable ticker widgets for the desktop of your choice.

No, I utterly fail to see the technical problem. The main issue, I think, is the current obsession with "social media" - popularity measured by the number of people who click "friend" or "I like" on you; whcih is of course heavily encouraged by Zucherberg et al so they can keep mining everyone's data.

As much as I don't like the implications (2, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078818)

I'm torn on this. As much as I would like the server operators to have control as to what they do with their machines and the data, there is a trust relationship between the users and the service provider, and some rights that users should have are being violated in the name of profits--which is a sign that the model is breaking down in the face of a changing reality and needs to be changed--whenever you see humanity acting as a tool to serve the economy and not the other way around you should reexamine you priorities and goals.

I'd like some sort of first come first serve system, but then you get cyber-squatters who buy up domains with no intention of using them just to extort money from people who would like to put them to good use; the same could be possible with usernames on popular sites but I'm not sure if that's happened before. The question is, how do you stop the squatters while protecting the rights of the little guy who got their first and is legitimately using a username or domain that a big powerful corporation or well connected individual has their eye on?

I was able to register the vanity URL for my real name on Facebook, but if some more famous or powerful person came around with my same name (possible, it's that uncommon of a name) and wanted to take that URL from me I'd want there to be some protection against that. I registered the name first, it's my name so my claim to it is just as valid, money or power shouldn't have a say in who gets it and that seems to be a gap where we need legislation to protect people from the service operators.

Re:As much as I don't like the implications (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078902)

>I'm torn on this.

I'm not. It's a dick move to take someone's content and steal it like this.

And just because you click on an agreement doesn't mean that all parts of the agreement are valid. There are things called unconscionable terms, which are /never/ valid.

I would also say that all bullshit clauses that say "this agreement can and will change at any time" are demonstrably unconscionable and any changes made without explicit agreement by both parties are contracts of adhesion, at best.

--
BMO

Re:As much as I don't like the implications (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078940)

I agree with that, but what if the service operator simply shuts down their business? What happens to your account and username? If tumblr just shuts down, what's stopping someone from making a site on blogger with your old username and stealing your traffic that way? How do you enforce ownership of an account across multiple businesses?

Re:As much as I don't like the implications (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078994)

what if the service operator simply shuts down their business?

Which, as it turns out, has happened numerous times so far. AOL home pages, Geocities, and countless smaller systems have just vanished.

If having your online name be under your control is that important to you, then your online name needs to actually be under your control: buy your own domain, and manage your own services.

Link to services that people actually use? (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079030)

manage your own services

But how does one link one's own services to the services that people actually use? See my other comment [slashdot.org].

Re:Link to services that people actually use? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079068)

how does one link one's own services to the services that people actually use?

With RSS? Or perhaps by sending people a link (that is, the kind that the web itself was built on)? Really, this is a problem that was solved a long time ago (perhaps everyone has forgotten the solution).

Following both RSS and Twitter users (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079140)

With RSS?

I don't follow. Twitter doesn't support RSS or Atom [staynalive.com]. So how do you recommend that people who want to follow both RSS users and Twitter users combine RSS or Atom feeds with Twitter feeds?

Or perhaps by sending people a link

What kind of "send"? Did you mean e-mail? As I understand it, most home ISPs throttle outgoing e-mail so as to frustrate spammers.

Re:As much as I don't like the implications (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079178)

Shutting down the business is not the same thing.

A few weeks warning should be given so people can pull their content off like the shutdown of Geocities.

There's a difference between stealing and going broke/shutting down.

If you can't see it, then I don't know what to tell you.

--
BMO

Do you have the right to not have an account? (3, Interesting)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078846)

On a similar topic, could Facebook create an account for you "on your behalf" using information acquired from other sources where the fine print said they were allowed to share it?

Re:Do you have the right to not have an account? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078926)

Sounds like identity theft to me...

Re:Do you have the right to not have an account? (2)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079134)

But credit rating agencies do this all the time - there are likely several companies, political parties and other organizations out there who have databases about me despite my never having done any business directly with them. If they have any authority to create such entries, it's only because of some deeply buried clause in some bank agreement allowing sharing. Given that Facebook is alreayd providing login management services and wants to be a database of how everyone's connected to each other, the logical role for them to grow into is a social credit agency for doing background checks on people.

Re:Do you have the right to not have an account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079958)

In Germany there is an institution called Schufa which evaluates how credit worthy you are. I'm lacking more information and too lazy to look it up but afaik the system is based on points. You had the possibility to access the information they had gathered on you (income, past credit card details, etc.) but that would result in your rating being lowered. Afaik that state has remedied that situation in so far that getting information on your rating does not lower rating. imho the whole system screams that "they" are out to screw with you.

My Username.. (2)

headkase (533448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078856)

..is headkase. I've been using it since 2001. Around 2005 I learned there was an Australian band called: Headkase [wikipedia.org]. We have yet to cross paths and I doubt there is even interest, and besides: mine is a lower-case "h" and theirs is upper.. ;)

Re:My Username.. (2)

Kompressor (595513) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078950)

Oddly enough, we're in the same boat.

I'm not the musician who goes by Kompressor, although I have listened to and been confused by his work.

How many others on here have the same situation?

Re:My Username.. (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079240)

If you google my name, the first N pages of results are mostly about a jazz drummer named Bill Stewart. While I am an amateur musician, if you've heard me drum you'd know that I'm not the same Bill Stewart....

Re:My Username.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079960)

Posting AC, because I'm paranoid that the lot of you are going to steal my pseudonym.

See, I had a brilliant, completely original Internet pseudonym. Completely invented. For over a decade - literally, twelve years - there was no one else attached to it. I was vain and Googled my pseudonym on occasion, mind you. No one else used it or anything similar. Makes sense, given I made up the name.

Then one day, I see that I apparently posted some crappy videos on YouTube. I think, "The hell? When did I get drunk and..."

Turns out, some cheap, unimaginative bastard child in New Zealand grabbed my glorious pseudonym and ran off with it screaming into the hills.

Bastard. Wait, I said that already, didn't I? Well, whatever. I forget where I was going with this, but kid from New Zealand, when my armies rise up and conquer the world, New Zealand is going to get it, because of you. I hope you're happy. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to posting ads on Craiglist for low-level henchmen.

In Soviet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078898)

wait, no... In Osama bin Laden's secret lair, your social identity pwns you.

You own your domain (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36078910)

Uh, if keeping your online identity is that important to you, then why not just buy your own domain?

What, did you think that Facebook or Twitter were obligated to keep your username intact? If you were on my system, would I be obligated to keep your username and account intact (politeness aside)?

Re:You own your domain (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079032)

why not just buy your own domain?

She did. Please see my other comment [slashdot.org].

Re:You own your domain (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079082)

Notice that nobody took her domain from her, and her complaint is about a system that she does not control and which is not obligated to maintain her username. Tumblr is not a utility or a vital service, and treating a Tumblr user name like it is your property is just silly.

To put it another way: my username on my high school's servers was recently deactivated, probably since it has been several years since I was a student there. Would it be reasonable to complain about having lost that username?

Re:You own your domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36080036)

This logic falls down completely in the context of the article. If it is silly to treat a user name like property, then why would a company have any interest in her username? I thought it didn't make sense to treat it like property?

The example of a username on high school servers is irrelevant. There is an expected end date for a high school server login (when you no longer have any right to log in to the high school servers). A blog site on the other hand creates an expectation that you can user the account you've created until some drastic event like the company folds or you do something completely against the terms of service.

Re:You own your domain (3, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#36080078)

To put it another way: my username on my high school's servers was recently deactivated, probably since it has been several years since I was a student there. Would it be reasonable to complain about having lost that username?

Perhaps you should e-mail the Slashdot admins and see if they'd be willing to take away BadAnalogyGuy's username and give it to you, because you'd clearly do a great job with it.

Re:You own your domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079426)

Uh, if keeping your online identity is that important to you, then why not just buy your own domain?

Take it one step further and colocate your own machine in a dependable data center that has no association with your domain registrar. It's not terribly expensive to do so, and there are plenty of companies out there that will manage it for you if you don't have the skills to do it yourself.

hymenology council; who owns our social ability (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36078984)

once just one big fat lie is 'infactated' into our minds & spirits, the rest becomes just more errant fatal history.

disarm. tell the truth. the sky is not ours to toy with after all?

you call this 'weather'? what with real history racing up to correct itself, while the holycostal life0ciders continually attempt to rewrite it, fortunately, there's still only one version of the truth, & it's usually not a long story, or a confusing multiple choice fear raising event.

disarmament is taking place based on the pure intentions of the majority of the planet's chosen to be depopulated, population. as the biblical fiction based chosen ones have only one ability, which is destruction for personal gain, they just don't fit in with all the new life extending stuff that's we're being advised to ignore. life likes to continue, advance etc... deception & death appear to have similar ambitions. wouldn't this be a great time to investigate the genuine native elders social & political leadership initiative, which includes genuine history as put forth in the teepeeleaks etchings. the natives still have no words in their language to describe the events following their 'discovery' by us, way back when. they do advise that it's happening again.

tightrope tuesday upon us already?

I will never, ever, ever feel sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079006)

for anyone who writes their name with all lowercase letters.

what the fuck is a software researcher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079028)

But what I really want to know: does she shave her pussy?

Why do people expect from free? (1)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079036)

If it's free, why complaining? Why should a 3rd party giving you a service FOR FREE should behave the way user expect? Shouldn't we expect the free provider to do what it likes, on his own interest? All this doesn't make sense. And that's exactly the same issue with Facebook, Gmail, you name it... And it's not as if buying a domain name plus a small shared hosting was expensive, it's really cheap to do so. I'd say to anyone complaining: you got what you paid for.

There oughtta be a law. (2)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079090)

There should be a law against this. Something to enforce your right to control copies of your creative work, and maybe something to make sure nobody uses your unique names, logos, and marks to steal your business trade. We could call it a "copyright and trademark law".

I realize that supporting copyright and trademark law is heresy on Slashdot, but this is *exactly* the sort of situation it was designed to help with. The service provider has the right to shut you down if they want, but if you have trademarked "zephoria" -- a unique identifying phrase which is eminently trademarkable -- they can't re-purpose it without your express permission.

Ok so Blizzard Stole my name..... (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079110)

Ok so Blizzard stole my name, what recourse do I have?

http://www.wowhead.com/quest=4122/grark-lorkrub [wowhead.com]

I clearly have had the name since 1988, even have published short story about the character.

Funny how they never returned my emails....

Yo Grark

Re:Ok so Blizzard Stole my name..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36079196)

it was marked obsolete, what more do you want?

RMS was right all along (3, Interesting)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079180)

With all the shit talking people do here on RMS, he's right on a lot of fundamental things. This includes his campaign against cloud services.

The only reason you would have your host rename your blog or account with no regard to you is because you are not your own host. People enter into these disgusting one sided contracts multiple times per day and then they're surprised when the party holding all the cards actually plays them. It's the definition of stupidity.

Willingly signing your rights away and then run around crying when you get shafted. Then you run crying to the politicians because now you need them to fix it, you don't care what they do but something must be done about it. And of course they seize the moment to push through whatever power grabbing measures that only go one way, ratcheting away everyone else's freedoms too with all sorts of unintended consequences.

Same reason I'll never get a damn kindle.

Re:RMS was right all along (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079574)

Yeah, but for most people there are pretty practical reasons why they don't host their own services, and that's why they go running off to the Government to try to get some redress for their grievances.

You're not signing your rights away, you never had rights to begin with. You have no right to post on slashdot, you have no right to post on Gawker, tumblr, facebook, twitter, xanga, livejournal or bash.org. You're allowed the use of those services, but right? No.

I'm all for legislation stating that if EULAs that are double binding. You give your personal data over to some entity, they have to protect it, and your user details.

Re:RMS was right all along (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079672)

And when they run their own blog it will get hacked every few weeks, spammed to hell and generally be useless. If you think the average person won't have those problems you're downright delusional.

So, between having nothing and having something with risk, guess which wins?

oooo oooo I know this one!!! (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079222)

It's society, right?  I mean your social identify is part of a collective society, right?

Simple (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#36079700)

Don't trust anything online. Have we not learned this lesson many times now? Several people have mentioned that "he who has the most money wins." Yeppers. This story is absolute crap (as in the way the company trounced on this lady), but if you really want to be free you have to have to go really independent of anyone above you that can cut you off. Which, really, is nigh impossible unless your super rich so you can have your own ISP, servers, line, and a team of lawyers. No one will ever try to claim my social identity, as all my projects have ridiculous names (on purpose), so I'm not worried. If someone was dumb enough or greedy enough (refer back to dumb as I make no money on this stuff) to try and take over, I'd let them. Then I'd take my stuff and set up a parody site mocking my former site.

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