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IRSSI sends user's real name to all joined servers by default (originally: real_name defaults to actual name on OSX) #785

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softwareengineerprogrammer opened this Issue Oct 31, 2017 · 3 comments

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softwareengineerprogrammer commented Oct 31, 2017

This is a heinously bad default. It's equivalent to your web browser sending a header with your actual name to every site you visit, but worse. I visited a server/channel where I would have strongly preferred nobody know my real name (as I would for practically any IRC channel/server, but especially this one), yet discovered to my extreme dismay that /whowas revealed it! How on earth is this the default??!

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dwfreed commented Oct 31, 2017

Irssi simply uses the gecos field for the current user as the default. (The IRC realname field is also variously referred to as the gecos field.) This is completely independent of the OS used to run irssi, and so you'd see the same behavior on Linux if your real name is set as the gecos for your user. This behavior is as intended, and I find it highly unlikely to change.

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softwareengineerprogrammer commented Oct 31, 2017

gecos field independence from OS makes this even worse since this means the issue affects even more people. Using it means there's a high likelihood that the user's real name will be knowable by everyone on every server they connect to. This is an atrocious default for anyone who is remotely concerned about privacy. What other program has this behavior, besides maybe email, if using certain native clients (and even then, name is initially only known to specific contacts the user chooses to send to, and also often has to be manually explicitly entered in the email client)? Why would this not change?

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softwareengineerprogrammer commented Oct 31, 2017

Here's a suggestion/thought experiment: when starting irssi for the first time, include a prompt that says:

By default irssi will send your real name, or whatever name is present in /etc/passwd, to every IRC server you connect to. This information will be viewable to every other user on the server. Press 1 to change this behavior.

What percentage of users do you think would press 1?

@softwareengineerprogrammer softwareengineerprogrammer changed the title from real_name defaults to actual name on OSX to IRSSI sends user's actual name to all joined servers by default (originally: real_name defaults to actual name on OSX) Oct 31, 2017

@softwareengineerprogrammer softwareengineerprogrammer changed the title from IRSSI sends user's actual name to all joined servers by default (originally: real_name defaults to actual name on OSX) to IRSSI sends user's real name to all joined servers by default (originally: real_name defaults to actual name on OSX) Oct 31, 2017

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