Posts Tagged ‘Anonymity’

Most web sites use pseudonyms for identifying the user. This makes sense in many cases where it is more important to allow freedom of speech and anonymity instead of exposing who the person really is.

On the other hand, in many services it makes more sense to use the real name of the user. For example, in Facebook you use your real name. It makes sense, how would you otherwise recognize who your friends are? Of course it is really easy to fake a name in Facebook, but that’s another story.

There are many other services which currently use pseudonyms even though I think they actually should use real user names, or True Identity as I call it. For example any site where you are supposed to hire somebody to do a task for you, for example to clean your house. Do you really trust a person behind the pseudonym if you have no way to make sure who he or she is until you meet the person? These services typically say this is the way to offer privacy for the user. In a way that’s true, but maybe the whole concept should still be other way around?

Using the real name of the person does not mean it has to visible for whole world. It could be visible only for the registered users, others would only see for example the first name. Using real names creates more trust between the users and minimizes risk for misuse or for example inappropriate feedback. Giving unjustified feedback, for example, behind a pseudonym is quite easy and calls for resolution processes to be used by the service provider. Using your real name, on the other hand, means that you would not do anything that you would not do in the real world.

How do you prove then that the name given is the real name of the person? Luckily there are number of emerging new services which help you to certify person’s real name. For example NorthID from Finland and myid.is from France offer or are planning to offer such services. A web site using real names of the users can tell all the other users that the real identity of a person is known, even in cases where it is not automatically shown for the others. This kind of electronic certificate can be shown for example only when the a transaction is to be completed and it’s time to check the ID’s.

I see many other uses for services using True Identity, certified by a trustful third party and integrated to a service that all the users feel confident and safe.

Do you agree?


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