We were talking yesterday about reasons for pseudonymity that are fun, that are connected to exploring and re-creating yourself, living like a celebrity and having a fully developed nickname. But, there is another kind. One that is connected to contemporary society and the Internet. One that we don't like that much.
It's about keeping your avatar, your internet presence and your off-line life unconnectable. It doesn't matter if your avatar is different sex than your human, nor about how old are you or if you don't look as a 22-y-o super-sex-bomb. It's about where you go and what you do, what you read, think and speak. It's not what your friends and acquaintances will know about you in the meatspace. It's what is deductible from the trails we leave with every step we make in the cyberspace.
As you know, these bloody computers we are so fond of using, are very capable of storing large amounts of useless data, keeping logs of anything and everything. And we're not the only ones who like to use them. There are people whose fetish is surveillance and others who make huge amounts of money and power out of knowing who is doing what at any time. And they are not RP-ing. They play it for real. And they have just started their game.
There are different ways to get all that data. Your government will use the law to force your ISP to keep logs of all the web pages you visited. Company behind your favourite search engine will give you lots of nifty tools to make you open an account so you identify yourself while you do your search enquiries. They'll say they do that to give you better service. Social networks will give you lots of pointless fun in sharing photographs, public diaries and short reports what are you doing today. It will also be available over the mobile phone, so you can pinpoint yourself on a map. Or you will be asked to submit your "real" identity to prove that you are old enough, living somewhere or whatever, to be able to access your game or some other service. We all volunteer in making our one foot thick dossiers that every secret service would droll over in excitement.
And don't ask why would somebody need any info about you. There are weird minds out there, kinkier than you can think of. From employers that will google you to see your twisted face on last month's party, via marketing strategists that wants you as a perfect mindless consumer to freaks that dream of worldwide controlled beehive.
Bad news is, one have no chance of avoiding it. It's a huge monster chewing all that data. And, let's be fair, most of the time, monster gives us a quite comfortable and interesting lives in exchange. So far.
But that doesn't mean we should give more than needed. Don't connect your RL name with your accounts everywhere. Don't give your address to the sites that will pay you couple of dollars for completing a survey. And for grid's sake, don't give your ID or social security numbers.