SXSW debate: Social networks must require real names

From CNET:

AUSTIN, Texas–Social-networking sites need to curb users’ anonymity in favor of requiring real names and logging Internet addresses, an attorney said at a debate at the South by Southwest Interactive conference here moderated by CNET correspondent Declan McCullagh.

Collette Vogele, a Microsoft senior copyright counsel who said she was not speaking on behalf of her employer, suggested that anti-anonymity, anti-pseudonymity policies were a better business practice that would attract more users and reduce the number of cases of online harassment, especially of women. Google+ initially disallowed pseudonyms but earlier this year adopted a more liberal policy; Facebook is more restrictive.

“Anonymity has a place in society,” but you shouldn’t allow it on your social site, said Vogele, who in addition to her day job is president and co-founder of a nonprofit group called Without My Consent.

In response to a question from McCullagh, Vogele said she would not go as far as suggesting that Congress enact new laws requiring social-networking Web sites or Internet providers to keep track of their users’ Internet addresses–an approach adopted by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), whose bill was approved by a House of Representatives committee last year. Rather, she said, data retention should be a voluntary best practice.

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