The farce that is the Google “government name only” policy continues.
On the one hand, Google continues to maintain its sad devotion to this unenforceable policy, which will serve only to doom Google+ as yet another of their failed experiments in social media (if it hasn’t done so already).
Thursday night, Google’s Saurabh Sharma announced the first significant change in the enforcement policy: a four-day grace period between notice of a violation and suspension, during which users can change their profiles to align them with the policy.
Could this possible be the beginning of a realization that the “government names only” policy is, aside from any social or privacy concerns, absurdly impractical (which has been my primary objection to this foolish policy all along)?
The biggest problem with Google’s identity policy has always been that’s it’s essentially unenforceable. You can’t police millions of users with algorithms looking for nonstandard characters in names or reviewing user-flagged profiles with enough sensitivity to handle edge cases without devoting an absurd number of employee hours to review every violation.
This farce has to end eventually.
We can but hope.
Meanwhile, in South Korea, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security is set to report to ruling party lawmakers about comprehensive measures to protect personal information online, including abolishing the “real-name” registration system they implemented in 2007. That would be the same system that Google refused to implement in 2009, citing it (quite correctly) as an affront to freedom of expression.
Google yesterday decided it would suspend the ability for its Korean users to upload any videos, or post any kind of commentary whatsoever alongside videos. The changes were announced last Thursday on the YouTube Korea blog.
Also that day, the company’s VP for global communications, Rachel Whetstone, posted a lengthy explanation
“We have a bias in favor of people’s right to free expression in everything we do. We are driven by a belief that more information generally means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual. We believe that it is important for free expression that people have the right to remain anonymous if they choose.”
“We concluded in the end that it is impossible to provide benefits to internet users while observing this country’s law because the law does not fall in line with Google’s principles.”
Meanwhile, I will continue to add links to my original blog post on this topic, Google strikes out again on social networking.