In the face of increasing government-led crackdowns on social media, Google should not force Internet users to reveal their real names for some services, including its Google+ social network, said Vint Cerf, a senior Google executive known as a “father of the Internet.”
In an interview with Reuters, Cerf acknowledged that the search giant’s sweeping push in the past 18 months to institute real-name authentication for Google+ and other services has sparked intense debate within its Mountain View headquarters. But he argued that current name policy, which allows for some users to display pseudonyms, offers adequate “choice” in how users choose to represent themselves.
Just recently, a case of use of a pseudonym to protect herself from individuals who had allegedly blocked her from participating in an African mailing list due to her support of the .africa project was highlighted. “The open display of hatred, aggression and personal anonymity [sic] towards my person and DCA is compelling me to post under Lerato Ma,” said Bekele in an email. “There is nothing to hide, it is just to protect myself from all that aggression,” she added. “It is not an important issues for us.” Read more