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Facebook Exec: Online Anonymity Must Go Away

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the show-your-support-anonymously dept.

Facebook 553

Chaonici writes "The EFF has a blog post about what appears to be Facebook's stance on anonymity on the Internet. Speaking last week at a social media conference hosted by Marie Claire magazine, Facebook's Marketing Director, Randi Zuckerburg, is quoted: 'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.' This position appears to apply to the entire Internet, not just Facebook (which already requires that its users post real names instead of pseudonyms). The EFF goes on to point out how this would be a bad choice for civil liberties online."

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Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970608)

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (0)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970668)

Except they're not doing it for safety or anything else except "better behavior". So no. Ben spoke thus not.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (2)

definate (876684) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970774)

You could define those concepts alike. The terms "safety" and "better behaviour" aren't mutually exclusive sets. While some things that are "safety" related, wouldn't be "better behaviour" related, and vice versa. However, this doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of overlap between them.

So yes. Ben spoke thus.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (0, Flamebait)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970884)

I doubt Ben would have agreed that "anonymity" qualifies as "Essential Liberty".

Re:Thus spoke Ben (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970926)

Oh, so everything they published was advertised under their real names? Good to know, thanks!

Re:Thus spoke Ben (3, Informative)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971018)

Publius: John Jay, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton

Re:Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970986)

We disagree. You haven't read much Ben, have you? You should brush up on your Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and perhaps: Mussolini.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970828)

They are not doing it for "Better behavior".... They are doing it to better sell your data. They can't sell your data if it is anonymous.

Nathan

Re:Thus spoke Ben (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971086)

True, that wasn't what Ben Franklin meant. But I think the point is, if we didn't know who made that statement, would it be any less insightful? And would the "better behavior" be worth the loss of an anonymous insightful comment?

Zuckerberg is implying that what anonymous people say is worth less than the effect on behavior of being identifiable. I'm not convinced. Samuel Clemens was comfortable with a pseudonym for his writings. Courts have upheld the rights of people to distribute political pamphlets anonymously. Pseudonyms and anonymous comment have been part of free public discourse for centuries. Why should the internet suddenly change things and *require* identity be disclosed?

Re:Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970704)

You're comparing apples to pineapples here. We're not talking about government, which was the context of Franklin's quote. We're talking about online accountability. Facebook isn't pushing some law that states you have to be public with your online profile.

While I don't necessarily agree with Zuckerberg's his point, i do agree with his sentiment. People use anonymity on the internet to be complete pricks. It's easy to talk a pile of trash when you aren't accountable for your blathering. Doing away with anonymity adds at least SOME accountability to your online life.

That said, anonymity is also required in many cases, internet or not, to preserve life, liberty, etc. This is why Zuckerberg can talk all day long, but the government should NEVER get involved in any decisions about this.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970780)

I think that the main problem, aside from good old fashioned scope/mission creep, is that the less 'normative' online anonymity becomes, the more anonymity tends to stand out. Unless you are damn good, a substantial portion of your actual anonymity, if you are trying to be anonymous, comes from the fact that the internet is a torrent of psuedo-anonymous and unverified noise. If it becomes the case that all the good little people who have nothing to hide move neatly in authenticated rows to keep them from being pricks, the people who need anonymity will stand out like sore thumbs, unless they have serious chops or serious resources.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971036)

We're talking about online accountability.

Really? I though we were talking about online anonymity. I don't see why the two concepts should be conflated.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970762)

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Now updated for the 21st century:

Those who would give up their privacy for Zuckerburg deserve everything they get.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970838)

These days, people are willing to give up their freedoms for convenience, not just for safety. On the one hand, it's a positive reflection on society that most people are never in a position of having to give something up for safety. On the other hand, it's a fairly damning indictment of the individuals that they value their civilisation so little.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970868)

Hes not talking about safety, hes talking about this [penny-arcade.com] , and on that count hes not wrong-- people DO behave better when theyre not totally anonymous.

Whether or not we actually want this enforced by an agency with teeth is a totally different conversation (I vote no).

Also, Im not sure I (or Ben, for that matter) would qualify "being anonymous on the internet" as "Essential Liberty". It is a disservice to take the mans words and stretch them way beyond what he was referring to.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971012)

No. This is about his business model, not about behavior. Tracking a MAC address is normal these days. Facebook knows where most conversations come from, and what Facebook needs are the specifics so as to tie you into a profile.

Google is worse still, but Google is more clever and knows most everything about you, right down to the freckles on your butt.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971132)

Google is worse still, but Google is more clever and knows most everything about you, right down to the freckles on your butt.

Are they? Maybe in the data they have gathered; but I think Facebook is doing their best to fix it. I'll wait for a final opinion on Google+, but up till now Google has actively resisted giving full data out to advertisers and was keeping pretty good data protection internally (from what I could tell from the outside, admittedly). Google has the potential to become lots worse than Facebook, but in terms of selling on and making available personal data about you, Facebook has been much worse.

Facebook has also been much more dangerous since the data that it has chosen is exactly the data needed by opressive regimes and since Facebook has been trying to get in the way of social interaction. By doing that they are encouraging groups to come together and then setting up the framework needed to betray them.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970886)

Let's cut to the chase. They're too cheap to police their site, too interested in selling information and too lazy to manage security.

Re:Thus spoke Ben (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970982)

Ben can say what he wants. It has no bearing on the point in this context. No one is talking about giving up liberties for the sake of protection, we're talking about fuckwits acting like fuckwits when they are anonymous.

Now lick my balls ladyboy.

By the way I'm not normally like this. But I'm posting AC so what are you gonna do about it?

Re:Thus spoke Ben (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971136)

Cry to mommy and then hang myself.

turn that frown upside down. (2)

Xiph (723935) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970634)

Anonymous Online person: Corporate people must go away !

Re:turn that frown upside down. (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970890)

Is that anonymous ONLINE person running his own fiber, or is he relying on Corporate people to handle the "online" part for him?

Guess corporations are good for something, after all.

Re:turn that frown upside down. (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970930)

That's a HUGE no-shitter there. People hide behind corporate identities to hide from accountability for their actions. Just look at what Cisco did. They lied to the US Dept. of Justice to get them to do their bidding which was to contact the Canadian officials to have a man who was suing them arrested and detained so that he could not continue his case against them. If an individual with a name were responsible for this, there would be charges, an arrest, a trial and likely imprisonment. What will "Cisco" get? Pretty much a free pass on the whole matter.

Corporate person-hood should go away and the individuals making the decisions should be exposed for doing what they do. And no longer should corporate "persons" enjoy rights of actual living people.

So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970642)

'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.'

This quote makes it sound like this is a very recent realization and that this problem hasn't existed since the beginning of the internet. Furthermore, it totally overlooks one half of the double edged sword of anonymity online. You may retain your privacy through anonymity, you may be safer from stalkers and thieves by remaining anonymous and you can speak without fear of retaliation -- whether that be deserved (the only cases Randi Zuckerberg seems to be able to conjure up) or undeserved.

I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine. Is it impossible for Facebook to spend the effort to discover how they could accomplish the same thing?

Furthermore what in the world is she saying "on the Internet" for? Here's an idea: you stick to Facebook and the rest of the sovereign internet will follow or not follow your lead.

And yet further, I would argue that implementing a verification system is more complicated and more risky than simply dealing with spam and trolls in an intuitive way. Do you propose we each have some secret identification string that establishes our true identity on a given site? And when those are lifted wholesale by a foreign entity [slashdot.org] what then, Randi?

Side rant: Holy nepotism [wikipedia.org] , Batman! Hey, Mark, did you ever think that maybe Facebook wouldn't be so hated and being thrashed so much in Public Relations if the person in charge of it actually earned that position by merit? How do I know your sister didn't achieve this position by merit? If she was good enough to hold this high of a position at one of the most valuable internet companies, she would have known to issue a non-statement on anonymity as she would have researched this problem just a little bit more than relying on her psychology degree to say "Gee, people are jerks when they can say whatever they want--let's just stop that." She didn't offer a solution and all she did was piss a bunch of people off. GO TEAM ZUCKERBERG!

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970728)

I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine.

You say that but in practise anonymous comments are censored through obscurity on Slashdot - low-scoring posts are pushed off the first 50, and sit beneath the majority default browse level, coupled with almost nobody wishing to mod up an anonymous comment since there is no personal benefit in doing so.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970830)

mod parent up!...and me too!

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970858)

Your statements aren't mutually exclusive. Anonymous comments can and do get modded up, if they're really good, but most of them deserve to be obscure.

But there is a difference between anonymity and pseudonymity, which might be confused here.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970914)

Dunno, I see your comment just fine with no adjustments. And I dont think its a problem that Slashdot and Amazon et al rank logged in users higher than anonymous-- anonymous users are undeniably more likely to post goatse, fristpsot, etc, and less likely to contribute meaningfully.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (5, Insightful)

yahwotqa (817672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971010)

I routinely mod up AC comments which add to the discussion. It looks like people here forget that moderation is not about karma and accounts, but more about particular posts and their contribution to the discussion.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (4, Insightful)

JackDW (904211) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971042)

I use a +3 modifier for ACs because AC posts are often (but not always) more interesting than named posts. I think this is because people speak more freely if they are able to do so without a permanent record of whatever they said which is forever attached to their name (or handle).

The disadvantage of anonymity is group identity, when a mob forms, and people act like assholes because their identities are hidden. See the KKK, or any other group of masked anonymous persons, online or off.

But group identity isn't always the result. Anonymity also promotes individualism, because an anonymous individual can feel free to go against the group identity. You would be lynched for standing in the middle of a large crowd and vehemently disagreeing with the crowd on some subject. But if you can be anonymous - well, you speak freely.

On Slashdot, this form is most common. ACs are the ones who step out of line and post things that are completely at odds with the groupthink on some particular topic. Sometimes, this is just garbage. Other times, it is refreshing insight.

And yes, when I see the latter, I mod it up.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (2)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971052)

I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine.

You say that but in practise anonymous comments are censored through obscurity on Slashdot - low-scoring posts are pushed off the first 50, and sit beneath the majority default browse level, coupled with almost nobody wishing to mod up an anonymous comment since there is no personal benefit in doing so.

There's also a level of semi anonymity. My real name isn't actually mooingyak (I bet that made you gasp).

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (5, Insightful)

Stellian (673475) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970808)

I mean, we're posting on a site that seems to handle anonymity just fine.

But I'm not anonymous, I'm Stellian, well known slashdot lurker and kook. I have a nice karma and care about my reputation, so I try my best to behave. See, no childporn or viruses in this post.

If I disclose my real identity complete with full name and postal address:
  - it will not improve the quality of my posts; facebook is a perfect example on non-anonymous people incapable, on average, to produce any useful content
  - it will not stop other anonymous people to do illegal things, in fact criminals will always try to remain anonymous when operating, just like in the real world
  - it will allow an anonymous stock owner of facebook/slashdot/etc. to make a few bucks more by farming my data

No, anonymity is not going anywhere and I will refuse to use any service does not respect my privacy

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970902)

Absolutely agreed. The important thing is reputation, not identity. Reputation tied to an identity is useful, but the mapping from identities to people does not have to be 1:1. Ideally, each individual should have multiple identities in different contexts. People do in real life - most people have distinct (possibly overlapping) groups of colleagues and friends, and don't behave in the same way at work and in the pub.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (2)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971028)

an interesting comment: "it will allow an anonymous stock owner of facebook/slashdot/etc. to make a few bucks more by farming my data"

forget the stock owners. what about the advertisers, data aggregators, etc. they are currently anonymous and behind the scenes. maybe if they want non-anonymity, they need to be more up front on what else goes on. how about at the bottom of my news feed is a feed of "here's who's scraped or sold your data today".

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970812)

Side rant: Holy nepotism [wikipedia.org], Batman! Hey, Mark, did you ever think that maybe Facebook wouldn't be so hated and being thrashed so much in Public Relations if the person in charge of it actually earned that position by merit?

Side response: How do you know she isn't qualified? Just because she said something with which you disagree?

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970834)

Exactly. Anonymity is, as far as my experiences have been, more often good, than not.

I used to have my real name on Facebook. Then one day, someone didn't agree with what I'd said on a friends wall, they pasted my name into Google, where it came up under historical WHOIS records, with all of my details, for businesses I'd worked for. Well, I haven't moved in a long time, so instantly this person knew my name, address, phone numbers, email, and job history. At which point, they began calling me, and harassing me. I pushed back, and it didn't go much further, but for a while, serious threats were made, and we had to take precautions, and keep an eye out. I knew his name, and got his details, via friends, and similar methods. However, he didn't care.

From now on, I'm anonymous.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970856)

It's interesting that they are making this statement while Google (specifically, G+) is being blasted for its stance on anonymity.

If Google should come around on this (anonymity is a necessity for free speech, if Google wants to be the de facto means for communication they are going to have to enable free speech) while Facebook is loudly declaring themselves to be assholes, then Google becomes a hero and FB disappears overnight.

If Google decides to continue attacking anonymity, then I get that creepy feeling that everyone is out to get me.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971076)

It's interesting that they are making this statement while Google (specifically, G+) is being blasted for its stance on anonymity.

If Google should come around on this (anonymity is a necessity for free speech, if Google wants to be the de facto means for communication they are going to have to enable free speech) while Facebook is loudly declaring themselves to be assholes, then Google becomes a hero and FB disappears overnight.

If Google decides to continue attacking anonymity, then I get that creepy feeling that everyone is out to get me.

That is by no means a no-brainer. Some people like anonymity. Some like to be able to parse their email contacts etc and find the users on the social network, or look up "what ever happened to my friend Stephen from school". I really don't know which would attract most people.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971112)

That is by no means a no-brainer. Some people like anonymity. Some like to be able to parse their email contacts etc and find the users on the social network, or look up "what ever happened to my friend Stephen from school". I really don't know which would attract most people.

I suspect a false dichotomy would attract most people. Er, wait.

You can have both on the same network at once. Facebook does, and it works fine. Well, not so fine for their purposes of knowing everything about everyone, but fine enough for the users.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (4, Insightful)

lucidlyTwisted (2371896) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970992)

My name is Simon Wimpleblode, I am 34 years old, I live in Cape Town, I am an accountant.

I could create just such a profile in Facebook (or G+ or...) and not be "anonymous" as far as they are concerned, but without the ability to verify primary ID, they have no way to prove whether anything I have claimed is true in any way. All that remains of any worth is the identity/persona that is Simon Wimpleblode, and that's the same whether I am using an obvious handle or not.

Without some massive, world-wide scheme to link IP multiple-addresses back to primary, state-approved ID; there is no way to actually remove anonymity. All that handles allow you to to is segregate the on-line-self from the real-world-self and there could be many reason for wanting to do that. If the on-line-self has value (e.g. contributes to projects, respected blog, whatever) then it matters not if the consumers know the real ID or not, the content/product is what is of value and the trust built-up over time.

If people are trolling ass-hats, let the community/admins deal with those accounts as required. If people are weird in the head and prone to stalking, threats etc then I rather doubt that a lack of anonymity will dissuade them.

The only reason FB et al want anonymity gone is so that they can link the on-line-self to the real-world-self and thus sell more advertising. That's it. End of discussion.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971088)

My name is Simon Wimpleblode, I am 34 years old, I live in Cape Town, I am an accountant.

No I'm Simon Wimpleblode!

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971104)

Wishing I had Mod to up this - succinct, lucid (no pun intended) and the only real compromise between anonymous trolls and preserving personal freedom.

And as someone posted previously, a compromise being well handled here.

Re:So They're Either Lazy or Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971096)

I have endured being stalked by a psychotic ex-girlfriend. This has included her sending crazy emails to my workplace, calling them over and over again, and at one point filing a false police report claiming I had done something to her at an address she believed to be mine (luckily for me, her information was bad and the police had already been informed of what she was doing, so they called my phone number and determined I did not live, nor had ever been to, the address and it was quickly resolved).

I have good reason to keep certain things relatively anonymous, on a need-to-know basis (such as the name I use on Facebook). The purpose is to keep me safe so that she does not have an avenue to contact me, at least not without enough trouble that I have a reasonable hope to know it's coming and take preparatory countermeasures.

If Zuckerberg doesn't like that, he can go fuck himself.

Ulterior motives (5, Insightful)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970660)

Company with vested interest in tracking people by their actual names online thinks everyone should use their real names online?

Re:Ulterior motives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970722)

Company with vested interest in tracking people by their actual names online thinks everyone should use their real names online?

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Re:Ulterior motives (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970786)

Company with vested interest in tracking people by their actual names online thinks everyone should use their real names online?

Also their product is selling their viewers... nothing repels viewers more than endless anonymous comment spam. Therefore anonymous is a direct threat to profits in general, not even counting targeted advertising.

Re:Ulterior motives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970864)

It really helps to when targeting advertising and junk emails when you utilize all of your real information.

Yep (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970662)

"... and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors".

That's because people CAN SAY whatever they want behind closed doors.

Proposed Kickstarter project: (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970666)

It seems only fair to let them lead by example. Anybody know what it would cost(in round numbers) to get more or less panopticon-caliber surveillance done, 24/7 on the upper echelons of the house that Zuck built? Perhaps some of Rupert's boys are back on the market?

am I happy (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970676)

am I happy that I was right not to have an FB account .....

Internet fuckwads versus political dissidents (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970682)

While I'm perfectly fine with beating the Internet Fuckwad Theory, repressive politics, not just in China, but also their recent rise in the west, requires that anonymity has to be possible.

Yeah, welll ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970684)

Randi Zuckerburg is a dipshit whose business model revolves around selling the private information of other people.

Anonymous free speech is a cornerstone of democracy, and, quite frankly, if I want to go online and do something not under my name, that's my bloody right.

Why am I completely unsurprised that someone with the name 'Zuckerburg' feels that I should have no privacy? Fuck him.

Re:Yeah, welll ... (2)

asto21 (1797450) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970754)

No no. Randi Zuckerberg is a dipshit whose business model revolves around getting hired by family! Regardless of her opinion on the matter or Facebook's vested interests in such a move, that was a stupid thing to say. Not something you would typically expect from a "marketing director".

Anonymity will be the standard (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970720)

Anonymity will be the standard, since the laws of humans are no match for the laws of mathematics.

Lack of anonymity invites intimidation, surveillance, censorship and prejudice. This is what must go.

(captcha: attacks)

P.S. Reputation can be conveyed pseudonymously. If the holder of public key A is known for good behaviour, you may be justified in trusting them, even without any high authority (to whom you'd have doubtless no access anyway) knowing what color of underwear they prefer to buy, and how frequently they do it.

Oh yes, people are much nicer on facebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970730)

We are talking about the same facebook, right? The wonderful one where nobody's an ahole

facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970734)

i don't think this Facebook guy know what he is talking about to be honest.

Don't need to say this anonymously.. (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970736)

Who cares what some manager at the next Geocities has to say about it? Facebook is a fad, it too will pass.

-jcr

Re:Don't need to say this anonymously.. (1)

walternate (2210674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970994)

Who cares what some manager at the next Geocities has to say about it? Facebook is a fad, it too will pass.

-jcr

Do we care what some manager at the next AltaVista has to say about this topic [eff.org] ?

Oh come on (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970740)

Anonymity on Internet used to be a rare exception. It's the spammers/identity thieves/excessively nosy employers who made it this way. Does the author really want to get phone calls based on sites he visits online.

the Internet is only one of many channels (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970742)

It's kind of funny that The People(tm) argue about the Internet as if it is completely unrelated to the real world. no one (I hope..) would say "I think anonymity on the streets has to go away. People behave a lot better when they are tagged with their real names."

I'm cool with using my real name in the web (see my account at /.), but I would never accept regulations that ban pseudonyms.

Anonymity could be life saving, and changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970744)

If anonymity in public fora was an option in 1935 Nazi Germany, maybe more people would have spoken out against the hate for Jews. Perhaps the ZuckerBuRgS should rethink their position.

Re:Anonymity could be life saving, and changing (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971102)

If anonymity in public fora was an option in 1935 Nazi Germany, maybe more people would have spoken out against the hate for Jews. Perhaps the ZuckerBuRgS should rethink their position.

Judging by a lot of online forums I've been on maybe a lot more would have spoken out for it!

Randi Is Wrong (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970746)

"The Internet" is not Facebook, no matter how much it may feel that way for Facebook principals. If Facebook, or Google+, or whatever trendy social network fad of the year wants to require real names, fine. I can think of many cases where such a policy is desirable. The operator of this or that service should be free to adopt the policy that meets their needs, but extended that policy to the Internet as a whole is just absurd.

Yeah, not buying it. (5, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970752)

A friend of mine used to be pretty open about her online identity... until she got a box of sex toys mailed to her with no return address.

The arguments for lack-of-privacy are fundamentally inconsistent. We are told that people "behave better" when there is a risk of consequences, but also that there are no harmful consequences. These cannot both be true. While most people don't need privacy most of the time, you rarely know in advance that you will later turn out to have needed privacy.

People tend to make arguments like "well, don't do anything you'd be ashamed of", but this only works if you have a guarantee that the rest of the people in the world are all basically sane. They're not. Furthermore, lots of people don't get a choice; you don't get to say "hmm, lots of people object to transgendered people, guess I won't be one."

Re:Yeah, not buying it. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970836)

And it only took a box of sex toys? Amazing. Usually it takes the average person 2 or 3 stalkers.

Re:Yeah, not buying it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970922)

Some people just can't take a gift.

Re:Yeah, not buying it. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970980)

hmmm this suggests to me a great idea for a privacy campaign. Encourage all privacy advocates who find the originator of any material online be found, that advocate is encouraged to mail that poster one or more sex toys with a note "saw youre posts online and wanted to say thanks"

Re:Yeah, not buying it. (3, Insightful)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971090)

The arguments for lack-of-privacy are fundamentally inconsistent. We are told that people "behave better" when there is a risk of consequences, but also that there are no harmful consequences. These cannot both be true. While most people don't need privacy most of the time, you rarely know in advance that you will later turn out to have needed privacy.

It's extremely important to distinguish between privacy and anonymity—they're related, but they're not the same. I'm for the former in all circumstances and against the latter in most circumstances.

Merger with G+ (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970764)

Are they trying to get google to buy them and merge with G+ kinda like the whole google-video vs youtube thing?

Of course ... two competitors come up with the same philosophy; have to consider, maybe because its correct?

All the car companies seem to have standardized on "righty tighty lefty loosey" WRT to screw threads with only the strangest most required engineering exceptions, not because they're all in a plot against us, but because it just makes sense to manufacture screws that way (assuming the eternal legacy of manual metal lathes being built for right handed machinists)

Listen up Facebook (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970766)

People like being able to say what they want, without fear of landing in jail; and so if you insist on policing what essentially amounts to nothing more than conversation in a bar -- then guess what, people can and will go else where.
I don't have people standing in a bar monitoring the rubbish spilling from my mouth, even if it might offend some or be deemed anti-gov or w/e by others, so why is it acceptable to do it online? Wake the fuck up Facebook, no one is endorsing your oppressive 1984-style bullshit. Why would people WANT to use a service that could cause them a lot of problems.............???????

Facebook fail (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970768)

"This position appears to apply to the entire Internet, not just Facebook (which already requires that its users post real names instead of pseudonyms)"

Yes, and it's long proven how well it works on Facebook too. Just the other day I was searching for Anders Breivik's profile on there to have a nosey and had the pleasure of stumbling across around 50 groups praising the guy as a Saint, and a whole bunch more trolling Norwegians over it. So yes, obviously people behave so much better with their true identities that Facebook "enforce".

No seriously, dickheads act like dickheads when you can't punch them in the face, anonymous or not.

Privacy and Anonymity Must Stay (2)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970788)

It does not surprise me that Facebook would take such a stance, as they are a glorified data mining company.

I just hope the internet does not completely lose its wild west feeling. It is hard to not be concerned, though, as between walled gardens, paywalls, ever-more-draconian anti-piracy measures, bandwidth data caps, bandwidth throttling, multi-tiered internet, and cross-site tracking it is clear that corporations and government wants to change the web and internet as we know it. Then you have Google coming out and saying that they are banning accounts that do not use real names.

When IPv6 finally becomes mainstream and goes in to widespread use it will only get worse, in my opinion. With IPv6 every man, woman, child, dog, and toaster can have its own IP address. Not only would it be trivial to track most people by their IPv6 addresses, but as TV sets and other devices get connected it will be trivial to track and monitor the activity on these devices and tie that activity to their owners. The more tech savvy will be able to sidestep some of it if my prediction comes to pass, but the general public won't know enough or care enough to do it.

Re:Privacy and Anonymity Must Stay (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970948)

I have the opposite fear; every 2 days my cablemodem DHCP will give me a new /48 and I'll have to scramble to update the toaster's firewall, the microwave's DNS AAAA record, my desk clock's NTP server addrs. Don't say ULA will help, all it'll do is confuse the unholy heck out of people with different OS prioritizing different addrs all the time and Really messing up the AAAA records inside and outside..

sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970790)

somebody get me his home address and phone number please, i might want a word with him about his anonymity at 5am.

It doesn't work on Facebook (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970792)

Yeah, because people behave *so* nicely on Facebook (cf. the various groups such as "let's kill %s" or "happy birthday Mussolini").
And a lot of people are using fake names there, so it doesn't even count as evidence.

Facebook's "policy" (3, Insightful)

LMacG (118321) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970804)

It's cute that she thinks everybody on FB uses a real name. I'll be sure to pass that along to my friend Charlie Unknown*, and many others.

*Not the actual pseudonym, I wouldn't want somebody to get reported to the bureaucrats....

Put a webcam in Zuckerburgs house then. (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970816)

So, people tend to say whatever they want behind "closed doors", and you have a problem with that, Randi Zuckerburg?

Fine, then you won't mind if I put a webcam in every room in your house, right? I mean after all, people tend to say AND do whatever they want behind "closed doors", and we can't possibly have any of that without the rest of the world being well aware of exactly who is doing what behind "closed doors", right?

Keep it up, Farcebook. You won't be relevant enough for people to even give a shit if you keep pulling moves like this. There's a damn good reason anonymity existed well before privacy lawsuits, Farcebook or even the internet, and it's the same reason it will continue to exist well after you're gone.

Facebook is uber alles ZIEG HEIL HILTER Funky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970826)

What can go wrong with facebook knowing everything, now? I am a trusting sort. No reason to not be. Monkey

In real life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970860)

... I don't tell my name to everyone I see. If someone asks, then I will decide if I bother telling them my name. I sure don't give out my id card or cellphone number to the first person that asks. Social networks are doing exactly that.

The wild west (1)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970862)

The Internet is currently a little bit like the American Wild West.

Its filled with various folk, some lawful, some lawless, and many hiding in obscurity and anonymity either for self protection, a general sense of freedom, or to escape prosecution or persecution.

It will get regulated. In the same way that the Wild West become controlled. It is just a matter of time.

Arguing about the rightness or wrongness of the loss of anonymity is roughly equivalent to complaining that our sun will eventually expand to a red giant and consume the earth.

For those of you who wish to delay it, good luck to you. Personally, I welcome our new digital overlords.

Re:The wild west (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970954)

way to sell out, asshole.

This should be filed under... (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970872)

..."It's Not Going To Happen".

Even if governments managed to legislate this, what are they going to do about the thousands of open proxies around the world, which are there courtesy of clueless small to medium business who don't know the first thing about IT security?

I just noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970882)

There is this incredible problem that I just noticed. It turns out that anybody can write anything that they want on a piece of paper anonymously and for less than a dollar THE GOVERNMENT WILL DELIVER IT FOR THEM TO ANYBODY. Think of what terrorists could be using this sort of thing for. We need to do something about this right away. How could this have gone unnoticed for so long?

Just wow.

I guess when my 10 year old granddaughter goes online this asshat thinks she should be required to use her real name and address and maybe a picture also?

The government should be allowed to conduct secret trade negotiations, but when anybody criticizes that they should have to use their real name?

When I send the police a photo of a drug deal going down I should probably copy the dealer and let him know who I am so that I don't misbehave.

So many legitimate uses for anonymity. But we should give that up because someone might do online bullying or say something nasty.

Posted anonymously because its my right.

Anonymous facebook (3, Interesting)

binkzz (779594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970904)

This from the company who's officials are regularly quotes under demand of anonymity? Let the facebook staff be first who give up all their details online.

Internet Anonymity is Teaching Us about Society (1)

BrendaEM (871664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970908)

Internet anonymity is teaching us things about people. In the case of facebook representative, you have a person saying the things that he needs for his company to be profitable. I suggest that we do not let facebook's profits interfere with the human race growing up as a whole.

The meaning of identity will change (2)

Craefter (71540) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970912)

If commercial and governmental entities keep pushing us in a direction where are forced to use our real life identity then I believe the meaning of identity will change.

Just because I happen to live in a country, have a bank account there and have a VISA card means I have a valid identity? I can even have officially my name changed. Is that the true meaning of identity?

I think it won't be long before the Coconut Islands will begin to offer identities for $50,- per month. You can get to choose your name, get a passport and a bank account. Installation fee: $75,- and renaming cost you only $25,- plus shipping charges for your new passport.

Who said you can't have multiple identities? In the internet we already had them for a long time in less official form of nicknames. Even artists have a artist identity to protect their private lives for the public. Also forbidden in the future?

If you squeeze tight enough people will run through your fingers.

Let me translate (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#36970924)

'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. I have no way of knowing if my user, Clem Kadiddlehopper is the same person as Willy Lump Lump and Bolivar Shagnasty on other sites That costs me money, money I deserve. If I can correlate the information about users across sites I can build up an even more valuable trove of information to sell. It's time for this quaint notion of privacy and an individual's right to it to go away; after all it is pre-internet thinking and we're in a new economy. It's money we're talking about, real money.'

As deep throat said, "Follow the money."

Re:Let me translate (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971148)

Exactly my thoughts. When people do not behave online, than this is due to bad education. Their parents and others who educate them have failed to make clear that it is not ok to call someone bad names. This is not an acceptable behavior in private contexts and it is not ok in public contexts.

As the Internet comprises public, commercial, leisure and private contexts, the common increase in egotistic, selfish and rude commentary can also be found on the net. So when "Sugarmountain" wants more polite people, he should start to promote social behavior and more cooperation for example real social networking.

Facebook Must Go Away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970932)

My data is my property. And Facebook and others must respect my property, and not sell it to the highest bidder.

I respect other people's property, too. E.g. I don't copy movies and music files. So I expect that Big Business to respect my property, as well. If they don't do that, they should go away. I will protect my property with a gun if I have to.

Randi is a numbnut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970942)

Randi Zuckerberg is a f***ing toon. Putting everything on the internet makes you the most prone dumba** for identity theft. Post your birthdate (usually a security question), post your hometown (also a security question), oh and link your family while you're at it (ALSO a security question). Why not just say who your favorite superhero is... oh did I mention... that's a security question too. Why not post your phone number and everything else...

He's a f***ing numbnut who got lucky. That's it. Other than that he's got no common sense or intuition.

Protect freedom and privacy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970956)

they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors

Being those called, respectively: freedom (vs hypocrisy) and private life (vs living naked middle of a public square). Wouldn't those be nice, if they still existed?

Most people stating dangerous concepts like those are profitators trying to turn humanity into an artificially well-behaved set of drones so to control them fully and monetize them better. Disgusting to the verge of rage. Boycott Facebook and all the people against freedom and privacy.

He's missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36970976)

"'I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.'"

Sure. And sometimes those anonymous people have something useful and important to say publicly, but they'll stay quiet if they have to reveal their identity in order to do so. That doesn't mean it's a good thing for them to remain silent. These can be whistle-blowers and people with inside knowledge that reveal information in the public interest. Every anonymous person isn't a troll out to cause trouble. That's what he's neglecting.

Which is more important? "Better behavior" from some irresponsible people, or that everyone has a voice even if they feel their identity isn't important for people to know? When you stand on speakers corner nobody knows your name either unless you tell them. Important things may still be said, and people may still listen regardless. It should be the audience's decision whether to ignore speakers if they don't announce their identity first. It's sensible to label or rate comments differently if they don't have identification (like slashdot does with AC), but to shut them out completely is unnecessary rather than giving an audience the easy ability to filter out anonymous comments if they want to.

Need a Google+/Facebook for Pseudonyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971030)

As much as this crap looks good on paper, it's still crap.

Facebook, yes, real names look good and I support that position, please make sure to delete all fake profiles and tell me when you're requiring 3 pieces of photo ID. Really, costs too much? You don't say! And this is why they'll be playing whack-a-mole. eBay and PayPal have financial links that they can use to verify ID, plus they demand you fax in your DL/Passport and a bill at your address with your name to verify when you fuck up. I don't think Google+ is going to do this, as they aren't the market leader, and doing this up front is just going to impose ill will.

What they need to do is put two flags beside each name, the first flag is "Verified to be real in the last 90 days" where this flag is removed every time they login from a computer or mobile device that they haven't used previously. To get the flag back, they have to use their credit/debit card from the new device. If the name on the credit card doesn't match the name on the account, then it never puts the flag back. (Note this is an alphabetic match so X YYZZ matches XZZTT YYZZ.) The second flag is "Verified Pseudnym" which like the real name, looks for the same financial data being reused, and the flag disappears when the machine changes.

Other things can be used as well, like verification by post-paid phone SMS, postal verification from a non-PO box, but these are time consuming.

As long as people know that a Pseudonym is a Pseudonym, there is no issue. People will still play nice if there is a chance they will be blocked but want to keep that pseudonym. Throw-away pseudonym's (see Something Awful) are invitations to for bad behavior (trolling and spamming,) so the way to cull this activity while keeping anonymity is to simply blacklist account creation from IP's that are known open proxies, Tor exit nodes, etc. They can still post from these IP's just not create.

Not just online (1)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971054)

Grocery stores, malls, libraries, public parks - I see rude people everywhere. We all need our name and government ID number tattooed to the forehead, both arms, and back of the neck. Then we'll all behave better everywhere.

As a side benefit we'll be able to get targeted advertisements/marketing directed our way no matter where we are (I guess we'll need an RFID implant in addition to the tattoos)

Rebuttal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971066)

I, Anonymous Coward, think that Facebook should go away.

BTW I don't use Facebook, and whatever I do online is no business of anybody named Zfuckerberg

Real reason (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36971080)

The real reason for this of-course has nothing to do with people being pricks on the web. The real reason for this is the bottom line of FB, which would improve greatly if they could have everybody on file, with their real names, addresses, S/Ns, birth dates, certificates (long form, right?), etc.

They want you to be a better product for their customers - advertisers. What better way of doing this if not by making sure everybody is known exactly for who they are, where they live, where they work, what they do, where they shop, how much they make, what their family situation is, medical data, what their future plans are, etc.etc.etc.

Of-course if you provide FB with this sort of information, FB gains enormous power over your lives, they become more powerful than you could ever imagine, product #241125

hail Zuckerburg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971094)

What next the people of some races must have a flair on there page and what after that you must if you are gay or not?

This is starting to happen a little. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971108)

I've noticed recently that quite a few major blogging platforms have done away with their own login system and have opted for Facebook Connect logins only. They say that now that visitor's real identities are associated with their comments, that there's a lot less trolling. Of course, they've lost some numbers...but it seems to be an issue of quality over quantity in these cases.

I've certainly used anonymity to say (type) some nastiness that I wouldn't have otherwise had the balls to say in person. It's not so much the case anymore now that I'm older...but when I was in my late teens, it was a different story.

I hope this doesn't become a trend though. I really don't everything I do online to be associated with my FB account...not for anonymity purposes, but mainly because I don't really think that FB is long for this world. The cyclical nature of social networks...blah blah, the next big...yadda yadda.

**** you Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971120)

And this is why I frequent chan boards instead of facebook or other social networking sites.

Reveal my identity to facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36971128)

Yeah, sure I wouldn't mind revealing my identity to facebook --- if I could depend on them to keep it concealed! Every time they add some feature I have to/ had to go in and ratchet down my privacy settings again. I finally got tired of the "arms race" and deleted my FB account. Just not worth it. Too great a risk that they would reveal my address or photos that show me with nice stuff that some crook might see.

But yes, people do behave better when their names are attached to what they are saying.

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