Remember that if you ran afoul of Google’s incomprehensibly capricious policy application for Google Profiles – the same policies that appear to be punishing more people using their real names than people using pseudonyms – you had an opportunity to appeal? Well, say good-bye to that option, because the administrative sanction chute has now been greased.

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Google-Plus-LogoAnd also to change its mind at any time.

Whatever the reason Google gives for its policies regarding names on its profiles, new social network services (and whatever other services it chooses to bring under that banner over time), whether it is making people feel ‘safer’, eliminating spammers and scammers, or for mining marketing data; the practical result of all of how it works out is that Google wants to pick which name you get to publically use when you use those services, and to renege on that decision and force you to select another, should it change its mind.

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Mister Bradley Horowitz,

At one time or another, I’ve been involved in computer and Internet security. I’ve investigated breaches, secured systems, cleaned off rootkits. I’ve worked with the Federal police to locate and identify malefactors and bring them to justice – something that often comes with a price.

For some years, you’ve provided me with services that handle my email, and private conversations, and allow me to pursue activities online while feeling safe from the risks that I personally am keenly aware of. You’ve taken care of that data, and I’ve trusted you with it. I always felt safe doing so. Safe from discrimination, harassment, threats and intimidation – within acceptable limits. Safe from having my privacy breached or my identity misused.

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Okay, so here’s the short version: You use your real name for your profile name – that is the one you can prove, or you can take a hike.

Yes, Google’s happy for you to use a pseudonym, nickname, maiden name, or inoffensive anatomical quirk as an “other name” (in the field provided) so long as you’re not using it as your profile name.

The implication is that that means “real names” only – or, more to the point, a continuation of the policy currently in place: A mix of requiring proof for some while making exceptions for some others, with those using their wallet-names apparently getting most of the collateral damage from the process.

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