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back to article Schmidt: Erase your identity to escape Google shame

Increasingly bonkers Google governor Eric Schmidt has seen the future, and you might have to change your name to be a part of it. According to the man in charge of the company de facto in charge of the web, young people's tendency to post embarrassing personal information and photographs to Googleable social networks means that …

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Bronze badge
Badgers

At least /some/ sense

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,"

This is something I've tried to enlighten my facespace-addicted friends on.

- There is *no* delete.

I don't know how many people have really thought about what that means, when they're uploading "amusing" photos and publishing brain diarrhoea.

I'm not a paranoid conspiract theorist, I just notice how much personal information people are currently happy to give away for a small amount of convenienve, without apparent thought to how it gets used.

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Coat

There is one bright spot...

...at least for those of us with real common names. :)

Having come from a somewhat lengthy online background, I find it amusing that, to date, it's kind of hard to find me in and amongst my similarly-named fellow citizens.

I know, because there have been a few rather frustrated-yet-impotent folks online who have tried (and failed with some rather amusing results) with more than the usual passion.

-the coat? Yeah - mine's the one that looks too much like everyone else's. :)

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Anonymous Coward

There is no delete

I think Schmidt has just demonstrated that there is a delete. Albeit a somewhat extreme one.

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Roll on names reunited

Schmidt seems to be ignoring the fact that facial recognition means that while you may decide to take a new identity it will be short lived unless you couple it with plastic surgery. I use Facebook but never publish anything I'd be unhappy have my mother read (which is just as well because she is also on Facebook).

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Coat

Buy Milk?

Quote:

In the future, you'll be bossed around by your Android mobile phone - it'll apparently tell you to buy milk, for example.

I don't need my HTC Desire to tell me to buy milk, my wife does that already.

(The coat with the tin foil tops in the pocket.)

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Joke

Does she tell you by calling you up on your HTC Desire?

See, she's just a small cog in the machine......

Where's the pitchfork icon?

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Silver badge

All use the same name?

So if/when we all get to change our name, how about we all change it to the SAME name as everyone else. That way we'll all gain anonymity as we'll all be indistinguishable from everyone else.

Until we have to start using our DNA signatures to log in 'cos some numpty suggested everyone adopt the same name.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah

Let's all call ourselves Pete.

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Anonymous Coward

Bring back...

"Hello, I'm Joanna Lumley"

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Coat

titular nonsense

Cn I B clld Pete 2?

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I'm

Spartacus

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was hoping for Bob.

Bob Dobbs, to be precise.

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Welcome

... no, I'm Brian

and besides, we're all individuals. One cross each !

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in Australia, everybody's called Bruce.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that yet.

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Pint

Unless you're a bloody sheila

Point made !

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The life GPS is on the way?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/sep/08/comment.charliebrooker

(Off to wipe the fridge door)

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Boffin

The problem is more like this

People don't understand that showing off stuff on the internet has a slightly larger audience than when you do that just among your friends. With young people it is even worse...

I don't think Google cache is any specific problem, your stupid moves can/will also end up on a number of other places, like failblog,...

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Yes

I recommend Lamebook.

I don't work for them; I just like to spend 10 minutes a day laughing at the stupid.

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Confused by his argument...

"...that users will simply walk away if it does anything "creepy"..."

And it's still doing the creepy thing, though, right? Maybe the creepy thing is a "stalker tool", that allows stalkers to know your whereabouts based on publicly available information. Sounds creepy. And if normal users leave, the stalkers will presumably stay...

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Bronze badge

Names

As a country populated by immigrants--with the names found in the early waves like to carry prestige as compared to those in later--and with for a long time a large frontier, Americans are pretty well used to name changes. I offer for The Register's updating an old frontier song:

http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/folk-song-lyrics/What_Was_Your_Name_in_the_States.htm

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WTF?

So speaks a resident of maddonia

who's primary exports are mixed nuts and batshit.

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WTF?

what the? ... what! ... what?!!! ...

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," he says.

Wow, I don't believe I actually agree with Eric Schmidt ... no wait, I haven't lost my mind, I must be missing something, ah yes, here it is ... "will all be entitled to change their name" ... yeah and like that will do absolutely F'all in this brave new world of "everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time" ... in otherwords traceable back again. No escape from Big Brother I mean Google.

So why is he saying this? ... could it be just another two faced attempt to distract flack from the idea Google are keeping too much information and so says, don't worry, people can change their names.

F'off Eric Schmidt, I mean Fred Smith, CEO of Google, (formerly known as Eric E. Schmidt, born in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Yorktown High School (Virginia),[8] Schmidt attended Princeton University where he earned a BSEE in 1976 etc...).

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Flame

I might be shooting myself in the foot

But i plan to Educate my children to be responsible on the internet as they should be resposible in real life.

And dammit im Proud of my Family Name and i expect my children will be as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Shurely shome mishtake...

Mr Baden, you sound like a Grown Up - what on earth are you doing joining in this debate, it's not for sensible people...

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Thumb Up

You are a rare breed

Wait; you plan to educate your children? What's more to be responsible?

I have the same aspirations, but I feer that by the time I have some, they may be the only ones that are responsible and have respect for anything...

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Rob
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Thumb Up

I'm with you Lionel...

... respect and responsibility is going to be the staple diet for my son. If he's prepared to say or do it then he has to learn to stand-by his actions rather than 'fire and forget'.

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Sir

I did this back in 2000, partly to annoy my old man, but a useful byproduct was to distance myself from the only google-able fact on my old name which was a bit of a usenet posting that incited a riot at RIPE :)

My new name has *zero* hits that can be identified as being me. Woot.

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Big Brother

Hi I am Andy S.

.... and this message will haunt me till the end of time.

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Silver badge

More likely

It will become strange if your naked pics are NOT available on the internets - people will think you are, maybe, a bit weird or some kind of upper-class snob, you know...

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Black Helicopters

Yes, probably

It will be like the guys in France who were arrested for suspicious activity including "not having a mobile telephone" and "leaving his mobile telephone behind when he went to a meeting".

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Er, Nope

"It will be like the guys in France who were arrested". That was in the UK, the police used it in a terrorist trial.

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Well...

<Quote>"It will be like the guys in France who were arrested". That was in the UK, the police used it in a terrorist trial.</Quote>

Now its starting to sound like a FOAF tale. You know, Friend Of A Friend - urban myth. In other words, it never really happened.

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Anonymous Coward

I think...

...Ben Elton wrote a book about this...

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Welcome

What if no one no longer embarrassed?

Will the future generations even care about possible embarrassment of that kind? It's no longer embarrassing once everyone does it, once it becomes the norm.

I don't do Facebook myself, I don't see the point, but I already start to feel left out. Pretty much everyone seems to do it. I think I am regarded as old-fashioned to worry about these things.

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Happy

To borrow the quote

I don't believe Eric Schmidt understands society.

What's to say that what is embarrassing today won't be de rigueur tomorrow? He needs to get out and watch more Futurama.

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Anonymous Coward

So how long before

Google offer a dedicated "previous name\alias" search?

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Headmaster

Not "recorded by everyone"

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time."

Not recorded by everyone all the time, just search engines which have their privacy policies driven by their directors who are seemingly unaware that SQL has a DELETE command.

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Big Brother

Right.

Sycophancy is an unrecognized prion disease in the Hive Mind. Even the suggestion that such a thing would exist , will earn you the coveted "miscreant" label from one end of your ever-so flat earth to the other.

Eric Schmidt saying you have no Personal Privacy is like Enzo Ferrari saying there is no speed limit outside your kid's kindergarten. Saying so does not make it so; acres of Astroturf recommendations notwithstanding.

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Grenade

The answer is

To have your computer post masses of harmless pointless idiotic crap, designed to create huge numbers of cross-references against your id.

With everyone doing it the old cross-reference table is going to get very big. Slow searches and drivvel search hits will be the result.

More disk space anyone ?

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crazy

My google search results are all telling me that Schmidt will leave me his fortune, when I one day bump into him at a Utah gas station

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Max Headroom was right

Blank is beautiful.

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FAIL

Surely it's better

To use the pseudonym for the on-line crap that you publish and then use your real name when you actually grow up and realise what a total twat you've been spewing your life for all to see. Or is that too simple?

Oh, hang on, Google wants the REAL information for marketing..silly me.

Rule 1. NEVER use your real identity for when registering for these sites.

Anon - obviously ;-)

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Perhaps...

Perhaps, once so many people have so much stuff onlone, like those amusing-yet-embarassing drunken party pics, the rants about that shop down the road, the cringeworthy declarations of undying love to a suitor long-since forgotten...

Perthaps once that sort of stuff is on the 'net for pretty much everyone, then we will all collectively realise that pretty much everyone does stupid things at some point in their lives, and it will cease to be an important consideration, and we can all move on with life.

Perhaops uptight employers will stop gasping in horror when they discover a prospective employee got drunk at uni, and instead will realise that hey, that kid did pretty much the same as they woudl have done or did, and that was in the past.

A decade ago I was on usenet a lot, got involved in the opbligatory flame wars from time to time. It's all there, recorded forever.

I used to cringe when I came across them years later, hoping that people wouldn't see them.

Now I realise that the person who posted them, me a decade ago, isn't the same person as I am now; like everyone, I've changed as I got older; those posts were me then, this is me now, and if you are too dumb to appreciate the difference, then that's your problem and not mine.

The sooner we all realise that, the sooner we can all get on with ENJOYING LIFE!

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Grenade

So you're the bastard!

You ruined my life - I'm coming to get you!

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Unhappy

I wish I had such tough skin

I would be embarrassed if somebody dug up all the silly or regrettable things I have done or said in my past, presented it to the world and then said it was me now.

Of course it is not me now, I was young and silly then; I am not that person now.

I would still be embarrassed at the idea of having to tell the world plus dog that, after the proverbial mud has already been slung.

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Happy

@ Keith 21

Perfect post! And yes, speaking as somebody who got involved in a lengthy flamewar or two on Fidonet, which ought to give you an idea of how long ago that was. I was contacted not so long ago by somebody who discovered this and wanted my opinions on the other person involved. WTF? That was so long ago I can barely remember his name, never heard of him since those days and - for me - there's no animosity. It was then. I've moved on, I'm sure he has too. But the thing is, when the words are right in front of you, it is so easy to overlook the datestamp and engage a little bit of mental activity to understand that a teenage dickwad is not the same as a wiser (uhhh, I hope?!) thirty-something. And I'm not talking about him, I'm talking about both of us. In loooong hindsight, it was stupid. And pointless. Like 99% of stuff that's being archived forever. I'm a little embarrassed, sure, but it's part of my history, I'm not going to hide it. I just hope the next person that digs it up takes the time to realise it wasn't written yesterday. Maybe Google should paste in a CSS effect so anything over five years old is displayed in increasingly darker shades of "parchment"?

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Gold badge

Don't see how this would help

Inevitably, someone changing their name would not want to lose all their old friends. (After all, I don't expect this is supposed to be as extreme as witness protection.) The "new name" account and "old name" account will end up having a lot of the same friends; also, the activity will drop precipitously on the old account at just the same time the activity picks up on the new one. Very few people would bother to dig around this much to find someone's old name... BUT.. inevitably, someone would decide that's a GREAT idea for a new web site, and the site would do the digging automatically. Result? Changing names doesn't help much.

To me, the solution is simple. 1) Don't put up photos and posts so embarassing you'd want to change your name. 2) If you insist, send them directly to those you think would be amused, or put them on some web space that does not have your name plastered all over it (i.e. almost any free web space), if the photos are funny enough they might still spread around the internet, but at least they won't have your name associated with them then.

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Megaphone

"it'll apparently tell you to buy milk, for example."

Haven't scientists been saying that about computers for the last 20 years?

Every year we're promised a golden age of computers telling humans to buy milk and it never happens. Why? Because people couldn't give a fuck about milk.

Where are the computers that tell you the things you really want to know? Like the best career move or guaranteed strategies for seducing that girl you always liked?

Maybe if computer scientists spent a little less time worrying about the milk and a little more time worrying about the poonani, people wouldn't hate them so much.

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Boffin

There are some problems with your post. The title is required,

The big breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence is ten years away. Always has been, always will be.

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