Vint Cerf, “father of the internet” and Google’s chief internet evangelist, is speaking out about Google’s decision to push users toward using their real names across services. In a recent interview with Reuters, the Google executive said the initiative to get users using their real names across profiles on various services such as Google+ and YouTube has “sparked intense debate” at the company:

Over the past year, the company has strongly encouraged users to merge their accounts on YouTube, Gmail and other Google properties into a single Google+ identity, the company’s social network offering that asks users to use the “common name” they are known by in the real world.

“Using real names is useful,” Cerf said. “But I don’t think it should be forced on people, and I don’t think we do.”

Vint said not using real names is “perfectly reasonable” in certain situations, especially in countries with governments seeking to ban anonymity: expand full story