Full Title or Meme
A Pseudonym is a name used in place of a real name, but that is expected to have a continuing association with a real entity for an extended period of time.
- Many web sites require users to have a persistent user name which is unique on their site to identify the user.
- As a general rule Web Sites, and as a practical rule Identifier or Attribute Providers require that the pseudonym be unique within their domain; thus the email@example.com will be a valid URI.
- Some providers will reuse pseudonyms once a connection to a real user has been broken for some specified period of time. Email addresses, in particular, typically have this characteristic.
- Users may wish to have some name that is not associated with their real name when the web site requires a persistent user name or they may wish to have separate Personas associated (e.g.) with their social self and their work self.
- In contexts where names are not validated (of low Assurance) the problem arises that trolls many adopt the name of some well-known person to be able to make statements that falsely appear to be from the real person.
- While some users may think that separate Personas cannot be correlated, research has shown that this goal will not be possible That reality does not prevent users from trying to use Pseudonyms to remain Anonymous, but it will never work against a determined adversary.
- Users are often asked to use their email address as a local user name since the email address is known to be a URI and hence unique in the internet, at least for a period of time.
- When the user has an option, they often pick some sort of description name, such as a gamertag in a role playing game, which is tested for uniqueness within the relevant name domain.
- When a user needs to provide some sort of validated attribute for the duration of a session at a web site, a session ID might provide sufficient security to bind the verified attribute for the session duration.
- Jack Nicas, Oprah, Is That You? Most Likely, It's Not. 2018-07-08 New York Times page BU1
- Gina Kolata, Can Data be Fully Anonymous? New Algorithms can still identify you New York Times (2019-07-24) p A8.
- Luc Rocher, Julien M. Hendrickx, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Estimating the success of re-identifications in incomplete datasets using generative model (2019-07-23) Nature Communications https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10933-3
- Synonyms for a Pseudonym include User Name, display name, gamertag, nom de guerre, Subject ID (sub) or (on Facebook) Fake Name subject to arbitrary termination.
- Anonym is not used in the context of identity as it does not provide one. It may be used as the condition (Anonymous) of a user prior to accepting (1) a cookie, (2) a fixed IP address, (3) an HTTPS connection or (4) a request for an Identifier.