Google: If You're Worried About Online Privacy, Just Change Your Name

More

I like what Google CEO Eric Schmidt has to say about education, technology, media, advertising and the future of smart rectangular screens with pixels. But I'm not digging his new idea that our youthful hijinks, often frozen in the amber of the interwebs, wouldn't matter so much if we would all just change our names whenever we wanted!

[Schmidt] predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites.

Did the Wall Street Journal misquote him? Please, please tell me the Wall Street Journal misquoted him.

If a friend told me he'd changed his name because of some Facebook picture, I'd either laugh in disbelief, or assume the Facebook picture was him smiling with Osama bin Laden holding a cardboard check for opium money in one hand and a print-out of U.S. troop positions in the other. Surely there are better, less insinuating ways to cover up or apologize for a drunken photo than legally disowning your name. If Schmidt's suggesting we should standardize name changes at 22 to avoid embarrassment, that seems rather like getting a full-on face transplant to treat acne.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In