The Price of Fame

A little while ago, one of my Facebook friends mentioned that his Google+ account had been suspended because his name breached community standards. Probably, I suggested, because his name was the same as a character in a Star Trek movie, and it was flagged as pseudonymous. 

Looks as if I was probably correct. Or someone over at Google doesn't want anything to do with Star Trek. At any rate, it seems that one William Shatner, at one time rather well known as James Tiberius Kirk, was temporarily suspended from Google+: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/18/illogical-william-shatner-gets-booted-from-google/. Welcome back, Jim. Er, Bill… 

There's a serious point here, of course. Apparently, there are (over) 2,095,006,005 Internet users nowadays (due credit to www.internetworldstats.com). Inevitably, some of them are going to have the same name as real celebrities and fictional characters, as my good friend Harry Potter remarked in the pub the other night. In fact, the Internet has brought many of us much more than fifteen minutes of longevity, if not out-and-out fame, as well as the likelihood of being confused with someone else because of automated searches and classifications. A few years ago, when there were only(!) 3-400 million Internet users, I wasted quite a few author-hours trying to stop book sites crediting one C. David Harley with one of my books (along with Rob Slade and Urs Gattiker, who really were co-authors). When I started seeing sites crediting all four of us as co-authors, I gave up trying, despite the nightmares about identity theft.

If it matters to anyone, the David Harley article that recently turned up on Wikipedia does seem to be me, though no doubt it'll be "corrected" to C. David Harley sooner or later, if it isn't hacked by some group or other. On the Internet, no-one knows that you're a dog, still less which dog, 'cause most of us are called Rover, Snitter, or White Fang. It's a dog's life.

Well, it's life, Jim, but not as we know it. ;-) 

David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
ESET Senior Research Fellow

Author David Harley, ESET

  • Luis M

    While this post is based in a supposition, you are right this could happend and is unfair because is your name!

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