‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Pseudonyms and Real Names
Many people have pseudonyms, most everyone in Hollywood. Some use them for professional reasons and some use them for personal reason. Some use pseudonyms to create value associated with a name different than their legal name. This identity can be whatever it needs to be while the real person can live their life. Some people use pseudonyms to hide from malicious ex-spouses, as part of witness protection programs, to be free from the prying eyes of employers and the list goes on. A lot of the advocates for the use of real names say that the only people who are worried about having their name exposed are people that have something to hide. The other argument is that you don’t have to use the services. Both of these are falsehoods.
You Don’t Have to Use the Service
For those folks who believe this you are truly ignorant. In the most direct statement you are correct in that the individual doesn’t have to use the particular service. They do have the choice to cut themselves off from family and friends who probably already know them by the nick name they are being denied use of. They do have the choice to cut themselves off from services like Spotify that require you to have a Facebook account, which requires you to use your real name and tries to force you into giving them access to your email and your phone numbers and your address. Yes, you have the right to choose not to use the service and deny yourself access to a great many things on the web because more and more services are requiring that you use your real name and that name is displayed for public viewing.
You’ve got Something to Hide
Those folks who say you have a right to choose to use a service are absolutely correct but your ignorance is overwhelming your sensibilities. The comments about not having to worry about using a pseudonym unless you’re trying to hide something is complete ignorance. What happens when your boss doesn’t agree with something on a particular website and [s]he sees your real name on there with all your real information that [s]he can get access to because Facebook makes it so easy for you to sign into so many different sites, or because Google+ integrates across multiple platforms and all your real information is easily there for whoever wants to see it. What happens when you’re support for public breast feeding shows up with your real name attached? What happens when your support of homosexual marriage shows up? What happens when your stance on big business getting all the breaks and you not getting any tax breaks shows up? What happens when any number of things you don’t think you need to hide shows up and the person that controls your financial future disagrees to the point that they no longer want you working for them?
Well what do you do? What do you do when they fire you? Oh yes, you try to sue them because of some sort of discrimination against your freedom of speech or some such, except they fired you because you, oh that’s right, you work in an at will employment state so they don’t have to give you a reason. Boss person doesn’t like you because you freely expressed your speech in a location that utilized your real name because you thought it was ok and you didn’t have anything to hide. Well it seems you did or you’d still have your job.
Screen Name Attached to Real Name
If these services absolutely feel they have to have you real name then the service should make it automatically hidden and you get to use a screen name. The screen name will allow you to choose to use your real name, a nick name all your friends and family already know you by, or a pseudonym that you’ve already created value with.
Personal Information Auto Opted Out
Additionally, all your personal information should be automatically opted out from public view and we should have to opt in to share any personal information with the public.
Easy to Find and Use Security Controls
Any control that manipulates our personal security should be right there in our face and so simple a U.S. 6th grader from the 90s can see and use them. I’m talking so simple our grandparents could teach usability classes on the security controls.
- Protects whatever corporate asses that need protecting.
- Protects our privacy
- Still provides the services with that much cherished personal info they need to target ads and what not
- Gives us control over what the public sees of us
- By being auto opted out of public display of personal info then we are taking full responsibility for our own personal information showing to the public when we decide to opt in to show that info publicly
- Easy to use and obvious security controls puts the power back into the users hands so there’s no accidental auto opt in
- Makes it easier to close down an account and for the user to feel safer about their info still maybe being on that service
These are just some of the benefits. The list is actually rather extensive. What do you think would be some of the benefits of the above identity method? Or do you have a better method?