[knowledgelab] They just keep coming...

salsaman at xs4all.nl salsaman at xs4all.nl
Fri Jul 29 21:08:09 UTC 2011


There is a bit of a follow-up to this here:

http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/google_and_privacy_open_letter_sergey_brin_larry_page_matt_cutts_vic_gundotra#





On Sat, July 23, 2011 15:38, mp wrote:
>
> Do no evil......
>
> -------- Original Message --------
>
>
> I have no idea of the truth or falsity of what is described in the below
> blogpost but whether or not it is real or a very very contemporary science
> fiction dystopia doesn't really matter because if it isn't real now for
> somebody somewhere it will be very soon.
>
> http://www.twitlonger.com/show/brph8m
>
>  On Wednesday 20th July 2011, @thomasmonopoly said:
>
> Dear Google
>
> I would like to bring to your attention a few things before I disconnect
> permanently from all of your services.
>
> On July 15 2011 you turned off my entire Google account. You had
> absolutely
> no reason to do this despite your automated message telling me your system
> "perceived a violation." I did not violate any Terms of Service, either
> Google's or account specific ToS, and your refusal to provide me with any
> proof otherwise makes me absolutely certain of this. And I would like to
> bring to your attention how much damage your carelessness has done.
>
> My Google account was tied to nearly every product Google has developed,
> meaning that I lost everything in those accounts as well. I was also in
> the
> process of consolidating everything into my one Google account. I had
> actually thought through this a few months ago and determined Google to be
> a
> trustworthy, dependable company. So I had imported all of my other email
> accounts, hotmail, yahoo, etc, into that one gmail account. I had spent
> maybe four months slowly consolidating my entire online presence, email
> accounts, banking info, student records, etc, into that one Google
> account,
> having determined it to be reliable. That means in terms of information,
> approximately 7 years of correspondence, over 4,800 photographs and
> videos,
> my Google Voice messages, over 500 articles saved to my Google Reader
> account for scholarship purposes (a side-note: when I closed my original
> Reader account to consolidate everything in my one reliable account
> bearing
> my name I re-saved several hundred of the articles myself, by hand, one by
> one to this new account. The one you have closed and with which I have now
> lost all of the articles.) I have lost all of my bookmarks, having used
> Google bookmarks. I had migrated my bookmarks from computer to computer, a
> couple hundred of them, for maybe six years and I finally uploaded them
> all
> to Google bookmarks, happy to have found a solution to migrating them and
> happy to be safeguarded from their loss. I have also lost over 200
> contacts.
> Many of which I do not have backups of. I have also lost access to my Docs
> account with shared documents and backups of inventory files. I have also
> lost my Calendar access. With this I have lost not only my own personal
> calendar of doctors appointments, meetings, and various other dates, but I
> have also lost collaborative calendars, of which I was the creator and of
> which several man hours were put into creating, community calendars that
> are
> now lost. None of the calendars were backed up either. I have also lost my
> saved maps and travel history. I have also lost in my correspondence
> medical
> records and a variety of very important notes that were attached to my
> account. My website, a blogger account for which I purchased the domain
> through Google and designed myself, has also been disabled and lost. Do
> you
> really think I would knowingly do anything to jeopardize that much of my
> personal and professional information? And I am sure as the days continue
> I
> will realize other things that Google has destroyed in their unwarranted
> disabling of my account. I am only too angry right now to think straight
> and
> realize them all. Why anyone would entrust anything to "The Cloud" after
> what I have gone through is completely beyond my ability to comprehend.
>
> I should also mention that I am in fact a paying customer in so much as I
> purchased my domain through Google and I have purchased additional storage
> from Google.
>
> A few other things I would like you to consider: I am currently in the
> process of applying to Graduate school. I was occasionally receiving
> emails
> from professors and other people who I am not expecting and whose contact
> info I do not have. Meaning that in addition to my friends and family
> abroad
> or people who otherwise may not be able to reach me, these people too will
> now receive a message from Google that my email address does not exist.
> And
> I would imagine some of them will not have the time to find other ways of
> contacting an applicant whom they were doing a favor to begin with.
>
> A few other things I would like you to consider: I have been what you
> could
> call an enthusiastic supporter of Google as a company. As an
> early-adopter,
> you could nearly go so far as to say I have been an apostle of Google's
> work. I had convinced the company I worked for to get on Google Business
> Apps and to use Google Apps for nearly everything possible and to purchase
> storage with Picasa to build our image database. I have also convinced
> nearly all of my friends and family to open either a Google or a Gmail
> account in the past two years and have shown people how to use them and
> explained the benefits of Chrome over all other browsers. I even own
> Google
> stock.
>
> A few other things I would like you to consider: I'm not upset that Google
> would put my account on hold if they think it was compromised, but I am
> absolutely furious that they would disable my account without notice,
> without giving me a reason, and without giving me any way to re-enable it,
> and then ignore all of my attempts to speak with someone. No other online
> service provider behaves this way. I understand that Google can't offer
> support for every little thing, but when a company like Google has
> monopolized sectors of the internet they need to show some responsibility
> to
> some of their customers when things like this happen. I have exhausted the
> help forums. And that has only made me much angrier. I will not bother to
> quote the nonsensical exchanges I have had, there are too many and they
> will
> only aggravate me further. The breaking point came when a "Top
> Contributor"
> moved my thread from the original help forum in which I posted it, into
> another forum without my permission. Then a few days later, and 34
> responses
> later, another "Top Contributor" posted that my thread was in the wrong
> forum and closed the conversation, thus preventing me or anyone else from
> posting to it or making any more progress. The user forums are not the
> informative places that Google may think they are. And the only time a
> Google employee posted in my thread was to say that my question was in the
> wrong forum, and to tell me that I should have posted in the forum that it
> was originally posted in. This came after being asked over, and over, and
> over again the same questions. Here's an example:
>
> ME: Please help me my account has been disabled and I don't know why.
> USER1: Just log into your dashboard and do [something.]
> ME: I can't, my account has been disabled.
> USER2: Hi I just saw your post. Can you log into your account and tell me
> what [something] says?
> ME: NO, I CAN'T LOG INTO MY ACCOUNT.
> USER1: OK calm down, can you do [something which required me to log in]?
> ME: NO! I CANNOT LOG INTO MY ACCOUNT!!!!
>
> After four days of this I nearly gave up, until another "Top Contributor"
> stopped by to mention that my thread was in the wrong forum and I should
> have posted it in another forum, the original forum that I had posted it
> in.
> Then the conversation was closed by someone and I gave up, after five
> days.
> I understand the philosophy behind user moderated forums. But in many
> cases
> problems are out of the reach of other users. I am not asking how to
> enable
> emoticons in a gmail signature or how to change my profile picture. This
> is
> a serious issue for which a serious avenue of appeal should be available.
> I
> do not care that a Google service is free. That is Google embracing a "you
> don't like it? too bad, it's free anyway" approach. Free or not, all users
> are in the Google orbit and it is through advertising to us, their base,
> that Google has made the billions of dollars they have. There is no other
> corporation trading stock at the level of Google that does not offer
> customer support, plain and simple.
>
> In addition to the forums I also filed every form and request I could find
> and attempted to contact every office and even went in person to both
> Manhattan offices, but not a single person has been able to offer any
> assistance, which I find shocking and infuriating in a Kafkaesque
> nightmarish way.
>
> After exploring every possible channel for help I was finally contacted
> out
> of the blue by an employee of Google who had coincidentally seen my
> ranting
> on Twitter, a service which I employed due to Google's own complete lack
> of
> customer support. He said he would try to contact people in Google and
> help
> get my account restored. After emailing back and forth with him he
> reported
> that he spoke with someone at Google who told him my account had been
> disabled and they didn't tell him why. He tried to explain to them that it
> must have been a mistake but they would not explain themselves. So Google,
> here is something else I want you to consider. One of your own employees
> went to you on my behalf and notified you that you had disabled my account
> by mistake, and your response was "No, we're pretty sure about it." Your
> own
> employee said "Listen, I have been communicating with this person and I
> think there has been a mistake made, can you double check or talk to him
> about it." And again your response was "No, we're pretty sure." So ask
> yourselves, would someone such as myself who has had their account
> disabled
> go on such a vociferous and widespread campaign to speak with someone at
> Google and explain to them that there has been a mistake and that you have
> destroyed years of important personal data, would someone such as myself
> do
> that while knowingly conducting illegal activity with my account? You only
> need common sense to answer that.
>
> A few other things: I have had hotmail, yahoo, aol, and compuserve
> accounts
> and I have never had an account disabled. When one of those companies
> believed that my account was compromised they have notified me and I have
> changed my password. Why Google didn't notify me at the alternate email
> address I provided at sign up before they took it upon themselves to
> disable
> my account completely baffles m. If you say I have violated some Terms of
> Service that is your right to say and in such a case it is within your
> right
> to terminate my service. But I am asking now for even a modicum of proof
> of
> that violation.
>
> Regarding any perceived violation, let me be completely clear about
> something: I did not violate any terms of service. If Google thinks there
> was something done on my part I challenge them to tell me what it is. I
> have
> in no way violated any Terms of Service and that is a matter of fact. I
> mention now that a few days before my account was disabled I was getting
> error messages when trying to access Google.com via Chrome. I am also not
> the only person I know that this was happening to. My other friends and
> family on Chrome were getting error messages when trying to access
> Google.com. I believe they were redirect notices or site certificate
> notices. My Google Plus account was acting strange prior to my account
> being
> disabled as well. But I run regular virus checks and have never had a
> computer virus. Any "perceived violation" is a misunderstanding on
> Google's
> part, and that too is a fact.
>
> You have cut off my communication, disrupted my personal and professional
> life, effectively stolen vast amounts of my personal and professional
> data,
> accused me of something without telling me that I am accused, accused me
> of
> something without telling me what it is that you have accused me of,
> blocked
> any direct communication with my accuser, and given me no ability to
> appeal
> this decision or to speak with someone on the facts of the case. This
> company is headed down a very, very menacing path if it continues in this
> way.
>
> Several calls have been made in the U.N. for Internet access and basic
> communication and information services to be made a human right. In
> Greece,
> Spain, France, and parts of Scandinavia this has already been granted. It
> won't be long until there are laws in place regarding the personal
> accounts
> used to access those communication and information services and laws
> safeguarding the personal information in those accounts, such as
> correspondence. It is unforgivable that a company such as Google, which
> claims so much of the communication and information thruways, would not
> take
> the lead on this issue and instead drag their feet until they are forced
> by
> individual governments. Companies like Google are taking advantage of the
> current laws and writing into their Terms of Service clauses such as:
>
> ".you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and
> non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish,
> publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you
> submit, post or display on or through, the Services."
> These are not sustainable terms and I have no doubt they will be altered
> at
> some point in the future. Most major news organizations have already begun
> to examine Google and other companies who choose to force these terms upon
> their customers and the ramifications they hold for artists, and to see
> Google embrace them along with every other company like a pig in shit is
> vile and inexcusable.
>
> One day the Internet will most likely be as fiercely regulated as the
> phone
> lines it began on. And when that day comes it will come as a force of
> government, and it will mark another failure for the Free Market to
> proactively defend the liberty of its citizen customers. And I truly fear
> for the future of social and political dissidence which will struggle to
> exist in the lull between open networks and the current policy climate in
> which Google's Director of Privacy Alma Whitten has publicly championed
> YouTube as a way for political activists to post content anonymously only
> months before a complete reversal of policy quietly eliminating anonymous
> reporting completely.
>
> I would also like to mention that I will absolutely not be opening another
> Google account. As I mentioned before I have been nothing short of an
> apostle on behalf of Google but that is over. I will be terminating Google
> Apps within the company I work for, and shutting down any other Google
> products I use, even things such as Google News which I had previously
> accessed several times a day. I was even about to switch from my iPhone to
> an Android device. But I will instead be putting just as much effort as I
> showed praising Google into denouncing what I now consider to be a
> horrible
> company, with shameful practices. I will be contacting my congressman, I
> will be selling my stock and I will also be contacting my bank regarding
> the
> money paid for the domain and storage which are now inaccessible and I
> will
> force Google by any means possible to explain to me what it is that they
> perceived as a violation. The terms that are now offered for account sign
> up: "Google reserves the right to: Terminate your account at any time, for
> any reason, with or without notice" are not sustainable terms and at some
> point a court will decide that those are unacceptable terms and that for a
> company that people entrust with so much of their personal information,
> and
> that is relied on so heavily, Google needs to provide proof of what it is
> that causes an account to be disabled. Again, you cannot take peoples
> money
> and you cannot monopolize entire sectors of the internet without showing
> some degree of responsibility to your customers. I should expect that
> Google
> will be forced to provide a means of taking away personal info, such as
> correspondence and contacts, when an account is closed. The fact that
> Google
> does not currently offer this option when they baselessly disable a user's
> account only adds insult to injury.
>
> When I think of all the business I have brought Google, all the people I
> have brought over from yahoo and hotmail, all the praise I have showered
> on
> Android, and all the work I put into my company's enrollment in Google
> Apps,
> I am enraged and truly regret my actions. And I will be doing everything
> possible to reverse those decisions and everything possible to force
> Google
> to be a more responsible company.
>
> Shame on you and on your associates and on your employees who tolerate
> such
> deplorable, dishonorable, and reprehensible business practices.
>
>
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