Nymwars: I Told You So.

Remember back in October when Google glad-handed the world with a press release about pseudonyms that the credulous lapped up and called a "victory"? And I predicted:

I'll bet they still require you to register with your "real" name, but then they'll graciously allow you to have a linked nickname or two, meaning they're still fully prepared to roll over on you to authoritarian governments or advertisers at the drop of a hat.

Yup, that's exactly what they did. EFF's post more-or-less translates Google's latest press release into English and softly and timidly explains that this doesn't really mean anything.

(I understand that EFF feels the need to continue to fellate Google on this issue so that Google will return their phone calls, but calling this bullshit anything other than "bullshit" is bullshit.)

Google emphasizes how few people are affected by this policy by pointing out that only 0.1% of users have submitted name appeals, and of that 0.1%, only 20% were seeking to use a pseudonym, but even though their numbers are small, these are often the people who need social networks the most. These are the revolutionaries, the bloggers in authoritarian regimes, the isolated minorities reaching out to the rest of the world for understanding and support. If Google+ hopes to be a global company on the side of those seek to use technologies to build a free society, it needs to make room for the people working (often under adverse conditions) to create that world, instead of dismissing them as edge cases.

I have heard a vicious, unsubstantiated rumor that that last sentence -- before EFF's Google-apologists watered it down by projecting unbelievably high-minded aspirations onto Google -- originally read:

If Google+ hopes to be anything other than a room full of white middle-class Western men talking to one another, it needs to make room for these people instead of dismissing them as edge cases.

Oh, also, Google announces privacy changes across products; users can't opt out.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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