If you ever have the desire to make a comment on YouTube, Google has now implemented a new popup box that urges you to use your real name instead of whatever name you registered with when you signed up to YouTube. If you refuse to use your real name, you are no longer allowed to comment on YouTube, even on your own uploaded videos.
When you try to comment on a YouTube video, a box will pop up that displays your username as it’s currently seen, along with a side-by-side comparison to what it will look like if you let YouTube pull your name from Google+. You can choose “I don’t want to use my real name,” but that will lead to another dialogue box that basically guilts you into agreeing. If you still insist on remaining anonymous, you have to tell Google why: “My channel is for a show or character” or “My channel name is well-known for other reasons” are two options. “I want to remain anonymous,” is–unsurprisingly–not one.
There are several reasons why a user may want to keep their real name off comments in YouTube while still being allowed to participate in the commenting process.
You can read the rest of my article at The Daily Censored.
Last week, Google was awarded a patent that would allow them to tailor ads to individuals based on varying environmental conditions. The ramifications are far-reaching, invasive, downright creepy.
Theoretically, this advertising would “be served on the basis of a sensor that detects temperature, humidity, sound, light, or air composition near a device,” says Loek Essers at PC World. That technology could be applied to laptops, digital billboards, kiosks, vending machines, and even smartphones. For example, if it’s 80 degrees and sunny out, a billboard might automatically flash an ad for an icy-cold beverage. Or if you’re placing a call during a concert, Google could automatically feed the background noise into an algorithm, spurring your phone to deliver an offer for album downloads or concert tickets based on your music tastes.
Whether or not Google ever uses the patent is still up for debate, but it is worrisome given Google’s history of targeted advertising in searches, search results based on location, and obtaining wifi data while gathering data for Google maps.
While Google says that if they ever use the patent they will allow users to opt out, how much information will be gathered by that point? Also, even if a user opts out, Google will, most likely, require that a user be logged in to an account owned by Google in order to do so. Thus, even though the individual has opted out, other tracking methods utilized by Google will still ensnare them.
No one can predict what Google will or will not do with this new patent. Understanding Google as a marketing company, however, should lead everyone to worry about the potential privacy implications in the use of such technology.