Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Buzz privacy solution

If you look at my Buzz profile, you will find that there isn't much personal information in there. And I didn't have the problems some other Buzz users had that Buzz automatically linked frequent e-mail contacts as "followers", and thus made those visible to other people. Not only did I manage to turn display of followers off, there also weren't any people on the list which weren't supposed to see each other. Because long before Buzz I decided that I needed TWO GMail accounts: One for the people who know me by my real name, and one for the people who know me as Tobold.

And now that Buzz has arrived, I can only recommend that setup to everybody. If you haven't done so yet, think of a name under which you want to be known in the MMO community, and then create a GMail account specifically for that name. Then use that account to join Buzz, which is taking of rather quickly. There is a nice MMO community Buzz developing, with somewhat longer comments and more brains than Twitter. As an added bonus you can use that Google account to comment on blogs that require identification, like mine.

I am well aware that it is far from impossible to find out my real name by various ways. Nevertheless having a separate "internet personality" works out great for me. I don't want the people who are looking for my patents or scientific publications to find my game writing, nor the other way around. Anyone looking for a job probably doesn't want his future employer to know how much time he spends on video games, unless that employer is a game company. And you might want to keep your family and your game friends on separate social nets. A "" account does all that. If you already have a "" account, you can even invite yourself to GMail, and then link the two accounts together, so you receive all mails in one inbox, and can choose the sender name when sending mails out (with the default for replies obviously being the address the incoming mail was sent to).
Be very careful with that last part. If you email from gmail web interface from your "gaming" account as though it is coming from your "real" address, the recipient will see your address in the following form:

"; on behalf of; Your real name []"

Thus blowing your secret identity.

I had this problem some time ago when attempting to apply for jobs, as my personal email name doesn't make me sound like a great candidate! I also tested it just a moment ago.

I would say that by all means have the mail forwarded to your own account, just keep a mail program setup with both accounts perhaps, just for the purpose of sending responses.
buzz blows.

I don't see any advantages of it besides letting google become larger than the devil ;)

on a serious not, I find twitter much better than buzz.
@ozzit . Google added a nice feature where you can get the "on behalf" removed if you use the applicable SMTP server + settings (you can now set this up under the "send as" config).

So if you own a domain like with email+SMTP you can set gmail up to send via that SMTP server and in the process hiding all traces of it ever being sent via gmail [to the recipient]
I have actually been trying to merge all my identies as much as possible in the recent years.

The more you try to hide the more vulnerable are you.

There are limits, unfortunately.
I did this for my WoW Account login, created a completely random email. Not used for anything but WoW application.

Buzz is all wrong, everything about it. Reading between the lines it has potential to cause soo much harm. I'm sure Chinese and Iranian authorities have been all over the Buzz watchlists of people it follows... how many cheating wives/husbands have been caught out... how many careful parents have had their kids accounts opened to the outside world?

I signed up for an email account not a social networking tool.

Having followed this very closely and being rather upset by the intrusive nature of this application I have set my default search engine to Bing. Over the next few days I will be backing up my emails and contacts and closing my Gmail account in full.

Then as an act of boycott installing a simple addon that blocks all attempts to data-mine my internet usage via google-analytics.

Google have now shown they cannot be trusted with the future of Cloud computing and storing personal data.

I could understand if they, belatedly, realised this was a mistake. They do not see forcing Buzz on all users as a mistake but a right they have. All done without advising users of ToS changes and other issues regarding the small print.

This is Google being greedy and trying to create a successful social networking tool by having a de-facto large Gmail user base to start the application off with.

I researched how to turn Buzz off and did this... yet I am still listed as an option to be followed by friends.

This is wrong, very wrong. Who I email is my business and I don't that list of people being made available to others by default.

I have big issues with google, and this farce was the straw that broke the camels back.

Bing really isn't that bad to be honest, thank you google for forcing me to give it a proper go.

T are there any other alternatives for posting here... other than google accounts or OpenID?
Just visited your profile too T. That map, although zoomed out... is it actually showing where you live?

Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to associate cities, with names with other minor bits of data to start to recover a lot more information about you or some other unwitting user.

Also having turned my Buzz off in full, why is it giving me an option to follow you? I clicked it to suck it and see... I expected a response 'you need to turn Buzz on'... nope I'm now following you and am curious to know if you can see me following you...

If you can... would you please let me know if you can return the favour and attempt to follow me despite having turned the application off.
This is a test to see how the multiple account thing works and what name it shows when commenting using my new Google account.
You may not be looking for a debate on this particular post, but I have to get this off my chest.

I hate the idea that we should have dual identities. Though, I may be hypocritical.

While I don't actively seek ways to hide my real name, I do take advantage of those options when they are obvious. I love screen names on forums.

However, the thought that a security search that brings up my around-the-clock Facebook activities might be enough to keep me from employment is just anal.

My real name will turn up on hobby forums, Facebook, and some online article sites. If anyone does not like an article that I've written, or thinks I'm a loser because of my hobby or Facebook "gaming" binges and they want to shut the door on me then I'm probably better off not working with them.

No amount of money is worth such duplicity. Be yourself as much as you can.

But like I said, I may be a bit of hypocrite on this.
Just visited your profile too T. That map, although zoomed out... is it actually showing where you live?

No, it doesn't. It only shows the *countries* where I lived, but the flags are apparently stuck somewhere in the middle of the map of those countries.
Also having turned my Buzz off in full, why is it giving me an option to follow you? I clicked it to suck it and see... I expected a response 'you need to turn Buzz on'... nope I'm now following you and am curious to know if you can see me following you...

If you can... would you please let me know if you can return the favour and attempt to follow me despite having turned the application off.

Assuming that it is you whose first name and family name starts with a G, yes, I am now following you. Of course, since you turned Buzz off, your "feed" will never have any actual content to follow. But should you reconsider that, I'd already be following you.
The first comment about using the "reply as" feature in Gmail is very correct. Even if the "on behalf of" doesn't obviously appear on someone's email client, you can always inspect the full email header to find the originator's true email. Using a completely separate SMTP might avoid this, but it's not something most people set up their alternate emails to do.
I remember the good old days when the Internet was akin to the Wild West. You go to the internet, and you were safe from the scrutiny of 99% of the population (excepting of course those in police and other departments who could track your actions with court orders and hackers who knew what they were doing).

Now everything is social networking this and Facebook that where your personal information is visible to the entire world unless you choose to not participate.

I've been trying my best to separate out the "real life" me and the "internet" me for quite some time, and it's becoming increasingly difficult with so many websites offering (and many times forcing) integration where all of your identities are merged into one and everyone can see everything you are up to.

There have always been people who say "What's the problem if you have nothing to hide?" Everyone has something to hide for one reason or another. Sure, there are illegal activities which is a valid reason for the deprivatization, but there are also embarrassing things such as deviant tastes in pornography, potentially reputation damaging things such as party activities, and career damaging things such as those you would see most congressmen engaging in in airport bathrooms.

Privacy is becoming an obsolete concept, and I don't like it one bit.
A few years back I bought a private email service so that I could create and manage multiple email accounts at will. For a while I was very diligent creating separate email addresses or aliases for every new group I joined. This was done both for privacy and anti-spam reasons. Pretty soon that got tedious and confusing though so I have narrowed it down considerably since. I still have about 20 email addresses but I really only use three of them actively: One for my work, one for my "normal" private life and one for my gaming / blogging life. Its not really about privacy any-more its just that I like the separation.
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