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  • Thus an average man—one with 120 friends—generally responds to the postings of only seven of those friends by leaving comments on the posting individual’s photos, status messages or “wall”. An average woman is slightly more sociable, responding to ten. When it comes to two-way communication such as e-mails or chats, the average man interacts with only four people and the average woman with six. Among those Facebook users with 500 friends, these numbers are somewhat higher, but not hugely so. Men leave comments for 17 friends, women for 26. Men communicate with ten, women with 16.\n
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Slides for talk Slides for talk Presentation Transcript

  • Why Names Matter:How Online Identity is Defining the Future of the Internet aestetix, SXSW
  • Do you... Google?
  • “Thankyouthankyouthankyou...”Actual discussions on privacy issuesThey listen to feedback! (gender privacy controls)Better interface and usability than FacebookIt’s so pretty!
  • ... wait, wtf?
  • What *is* identity?
  • Does anyone know?
  • Defining “identity”Identity is not the same thing as a nameName: a label that is used to identify a person,thing, or concept within a given context
  • Defining “identity”Examples of context: Within a set group (con-goers, coworkers, staff) A particular location (Long Beach, Oakland, Berlin) A specific time (“morning”, 9PM, “last week”) An interest (“Joe likes baseball”)
  • Defining “identity”Is identity internal or external? Self image (“id, ego and superego”) Reputation and the Citizen Kane style construct “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” --Oscar Wilde
  • Defining “identity”Conclusions about identity? The meaning of “identity” is so complex that neither Shakespeare nor Gandhi can define it. Identity, by its very nature, is multifaceted. Since identity is context dependent, no person has one single identity.
  • Different types of namesBirth (certificate) name or given nameLegal name or “wallet” name (thanks, Skud)Government issued ID (DL, Passport, SSN)Student ID, Employee ID, Credit cardAccount information (medical records, variousbills, etc)
  • Different types of namesPseudonym (Nom de Plume) - a name that is notfound on any previously mentioned documents May not be linkable to a documentPolynym - a name consisting of multiple wordsMononym - a name consisting of one wordAnonym - a name representing anonymity
  • Historical Nom de PlumesPubliusEmperor Norton INicholas BourbakiRichard Bachman,Voltaire, Bronte Sisters, etc
  • Why do names matter?Penn Jillette’s MLK twitter mishap
  • Why do names matter?Penn Jillette’s MLK twitter mishap
  • Why do names matter?WikiLeaks Content versus sourcePorn WikiLeaksAOL and Netflix databasesWikipedia “Essjay” controversy
  • What are social networks?Examples of social networks: book groups corporations knitting circles events unions courtrooms a hobby or preference a cause a village or town a family
  • What are social networks?A “social network” is a force that brings people ortheir personas together on a regular basis.A “friend” is a person that you would choose to bein contact with.Social networks help solve namespace collisions
  • What are social networks?Intrapersonal versus interpersonal communication(Dr. Robin) Dunbar’s Number (1992)Dr. Cameron Marlow’s Facebook study (2009) HTTP://RICHARD-WILSON.BLOGSPOT.COM/2012/02/HEDGE-FUND-SOCIAL-NETWORKS.HTML
  • What are social networks?Why do hacker handlesmatter?Joseph Campbell - righthand and left hand path
  • Bringing Identity OnlineNissan.comWhitehouse.comCybersquatting
  • Establishing Identity OnlineHTTP Headers: referer, access times, URLaccessed, request sequence, frequency of access,response headersUsing HTTP versus HTTPSAre IP addresses enough? EFF says no.How can a website confirm that you are you?
  • Social Effects on PrivacyWhat does transparency mean?Is there such a thing as full transparency?Who decides how transparent we get to be?Active versus Passive communication of personalinformation
  • Privacy-Promoting TechUsing TorSelective loggingPrivacy and sharing settings on websitesRemailers (Hail Eris)
  • Problems with IdentitySockpuppets“Anonymous Coward”Cyber-stalkingDDoS attacks (Anonymous, etc)
  • Does Identity Matter?Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google: “The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it.” (Techonomy, August 2010) “If you have something that you dont want anyone to know, maybe you shouldnt be doing it in the first place."(CNBC Interview, December 2009)
  • Does Identity Matter?Mark Zuckerberg, CEO at Facebook: “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly. Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” (Interview, October 2011)
  • Does Identity Matter?Chris “moot” Poole, Founder of 4chan “The portrait of identity online is often painted in black and white. Who you are online is who you are offline. “Human identity doesnt work like that online or offline. Its not who you share with, its who you share as.’ Identity is prismatic.” (Web 2.0)
  • Online Social NetworksFacebook - synchronous friend requestsTwitter - asynchronous following (unless protected)Blog platforms - asynchronous (RSS feeds)Google Plus - asynchronous circlesDiaspora - asynchronous, decentralized
  • “Who Has Your Back” (EFF) https://whohasyourback.eff.org
  • Facebook PoliciesFrom Facebook’s “terms of service” “real names” is not defined, seems case by case
  • Google Original “Real Names”The original policy from Community Standards: “13. Display Name: To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of those would be acceptable.
  • Law and Order“[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision; nowlet him enforce it!” --President Andrew Jackson Both Facebook and Google Plus have a real names policy Let’s see how Google enforces theirs!
  • Appeal ProcessJuly 23, 2011 - Filled out the appeal formJuly 25, 2011 - “Neil” from the Google plussupport team contacts me to initiate process, IreplyJuly 26, 2011 - “Neil” first tells me “Aestetix” is nota “common name”, asks me to confirm it is mycommon name, I reply confirming it is
  • Appeal ProcessJuly 27, 2011 - I get an email saying they “need agovernment issued ID to confirm my name is‘Aesteix’.”I reply to this to confirm they define a “commonname” exclusively as the name on a governmentissued ID. I also ask what their policy for handlinggovernment IDs is.
  • Appeal ProcessJuly 28, 2011 - “Your common name does nothave to be the name on your ID. ... I need to getthe name off your ID to confirm that your name isaestetix.”My reply: “So if the name is the only thing youneed, can you use the information I provided in myappeal to make the same judgement? Imconfused as to why it must be a "governmentissued ID.”
  • Appeal Process“Thank you for contacting us with regard to the nameyou want to use with your Google Profile. After furtherreview, we have determined that your name is within ourCommunity Standards policy. Thank you for your patiencewhile we reviewed your profile name. I will trust it is yourreal name. Most users just try to explain that it is thepseudonym that they have always used.”
  • Appeal Process“Thank you for contacting us with regard to the name youwant to use with your Google Profile. After further review,we have determined that your name is within ourCommunity Standards policy. Thank you for yourpatience while we reviewed your profile name. I will trust itis your real name. Most users just try to explain that it isthe pseudonym that they have always used.”
  • Appeal Process“Thank you for contacting us with regard to the name youwant to use with your Google Profile. After further review,we have determined that your name is within ourCommunity Standards policy. Thank you for yourpatience while we reviewed your profile name. I willtrust it is your real name. Most users just try to explainthat it is the pseudonym that they have always used.”
  • This shit again?
  • I’m Not Alone!
  • I’m Not Alone!
  • Lessons learnedGoogle doesn’t know what a “common name” isGoogle is demanding sensitive information withoutany security procedures or policies in placeIf you know someone at Google, you’ll be fineGoogle doesn’t have a clue what “identity” means.
  • Closing RemarksSteps in the right direction: Wikitrust.net Hypothes.is Diaspora (RIP IlyaZ)
  • Closing RemarksExplore decentralized systemsAll current solutions fail in some wayThere is no such thing as a “real name”Join or support efforts like Diaspora, Hypothesis,Wikitrust, etc
  • Questions?@aestetix