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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pseudo-name aftermath

Well Google+ is going after all the profiles with a pseudo name or nick name at least they say so. My own Google+ profile was suspended for some time due to this. I did change the name as I do like Google+, but still think it is a shortsighted policy and does not really mean anything in the grand schemes of things. It is too damn easy to create a fake email id and sign up with a nick or Pseudo name. Both side for and against the Real vs fake name have valid arguments and are partially correct.

Too many people have signed up with nick names or pseudo name to begin with. Google will never be able to remove all the profiles with pseudo name or nick name. It is a lost cause and people will find ways and means to bypass this. In the days that followed Google has made several changes to the policies. It is a good thing they do listen to feedback. After I had mailed them that link to previous blog entry. We have seen few changes on Google+.

  • Google+ changed the way the profile block notice is served. Now if you profile is suspended as soon as you login you get the prompt. No more mysterious errors to post and wondering what the foo is happening ...  

You can still press the 'Esc' key and ignore the message. You will still be able to check you updated in your Streams. but you will not be able to post anything or +1 any post/thread. Picasa and Buzz will be disabled as long the Google+ profile is suspended.

  • Google is now clearly saying it my way or the highway. The notice gives you links to take/remove all you data and delete the Google+ profile. YES that is right they are saying make the changes to comply to the name policy or buzz off. 
  • It is a good thing in the event you decide that enough is enough. In the event you are unable to comply with the  names policy, you can still take all your content with you, even after your profile is suspended. 
  • Now Google+ has a 4 day grace policy. As per the announcement by Saurabh Sharma, a product manager on the Google+ team. "Starting today, if we find that your profile name does not adhere to our policy, we’ll give you a 4 day grace period to fix your profile name before we take further action. During this period, you can continue to use Google+ as usual. We're hoping that most affected users will be able to quickly fix their profile name while continuing to enjoy all that Google+ has to offer." 
  • Google+ has also issues a video to highlight these points. 

There is a lot of hot discussion going on this topic. If you are on Goggle+ do check them and voice your opinion.


If you're an EU Google Account holder, you can write a complaint to your local Google offices, then if they fail to reply and take corrective action, take them to your EU nation's information commission. You can find their offices here - http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/corporate/company/address.html so start the letter writing.

Just checking over this, but it does look like "Google Profiles" breaches european privacy law, specifically "The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003"'s section 18 on directories of subscribers. Basically, anyone running a communications service in the EU who publishes a public directory, has to allow subscribers an opt-out from this directory or allow them to be entirely selective as to what if any information is published about them.

Update: As Google operate Gmail and Gtalk services to EU subscribers, they are covered by this legislation. It does look airtight, Google are required by EU law to allow the subscribe full control over what is and is not made public on their profile. And they may even require google to make their profile entirely private.

After cross checking users have found out after contacting the Data Commissioner's office, and have been instructed they  do appear to have a legitimate grounds for complaint against Google, as does any other EU account holder, and they should write a written complaint to their offices at.

Data Protection Officer
Google London
Google UK Ltd
Belgrave House
76 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 9TQ
United Kingdom

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