Google’s naming controversy

Reading another article about Google’s naming policy for its Google+ web portal, I came to a new realization about the whole thing.

I no longer think it is the corner cases that most people argue that are at stake here. It is not abused women, or people with only one name, or people without official documents, or even people with unusual (real) names. It is ordinary people, who wish to share their opinions without reprisal.

We have had a spate of incidents where people have been denied jobs or public office, or being fired based on being identified on some web archive doing or saying something embarrasing (in the context of the occupation or post). This could be as simple as a Lawyer by day revealing some unusual hobby, or a politician with some drunken revel from College days. Either way, we used to judge people by their present performance (because we did not have access to their entire past). Now it is quite likely that pretty much everything anyone ever does may be recorded and archived somewhere.

If your main internet identity is identifiable as you, then you had better act in a way that won’t bring some kind of issue down on you in 10, 20, 30 40 or 50 years time, in whatever occupation you may be doing next year, or in 5 years, or forever. Hmmm. Pretty hard to anticipate. I wonder what will be considered inappropriate 50 years from now?

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