I talked to the person with this complaint, then looked into it myself. The account was suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service. After digging into the situation, my personal opinion is that Google took appropriate action. I'm sorry that I can't go into more detail.
Since Cutts isn't at liberty to say I think I'll take this one for him. This guy did really dumb stuff with Adwords or Adsense and got caught. Everyone wants a piece of the Google pie and Google wants no one to have it too easily, or their integrity goes to the shitter.
Think about what you could do with a tiny bit of programming knowledge and keyword knowledge to make money using these service. Then try it and get banned. Cutts works all day to ban guys like this. He's less webspam hall monitor than he is the "Ad Sheriff". The internet, and Google, is the Wild Wild West. The only thing stopping people from scraping cash from Google and other ad networks are people like him. And their algos of course.
Sorry your account got banned bro. You just got tased by the cops. Next time don't ask questions about Skull and Bones and deliver good content instead, as Cutts always says.
Even assuming the OP pulled some stunt with AdWords (and this is just an assumption that you're putting forth, without any evidence whatsoever), does it justify wiping out that guy's entire online existence? His photos? His emails? His documents?
This is like sentencing someone to death for shoplifting. GMail, Picasa, etc. are not about AdWords; they're a means for people to connect with each other. Unless, of course, Google is agreeing that you are indeed a product and not a user.
Wow. A bunch of Google fanboys voting me down for stating something rational, but that just happens to be anti-Google.
I just started using G+ (mainly because I'd like there to be a strong competitor to FB), but Google's antics give me cause for concern. I'd hate to get "hacked" some day and have Google completely wipe out every bit I have with them.
When you sign-up for a Google account, there's a little something called a Terms of Service you agree to. You violate them? You sacrifice all rights to any data you may or may not have on their services. That's something every Google user agrees to from day one. If you don't like that punishment, you shouldn't have signed up.
...Gmail will only let you down a few hundred emails at a time. You can repeat the command (let getmail finish each time before you run it again) until all of your email is downloaded.
You honestly expect users to fetch of their mail a few hundred messages at a time ?
You also leave out the fact that if you re-run that script a number of times in a row, Google's server's will block you until you fill out a captcha and wait 24 hours.
GMail is a free service, so having limited features and options is expected. But it's troublesome that Google doesn't feel it has an obligation to respect its user's data. An admin you're not allowed to contact thinks you violated the terms and all of your mail is deleted. Business contracts, random chats with cute girls/boys from school, messages from family and friends who might not be here anymore, ... all of it is gone.
As we can discuss now, it wasn't regarding AdWords or anything like that, it was about potential child pornography: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/bvqdos The person whose account was suspended said "I too found the image bordering on the limits of what is legally permissible and hoped to highlight the fact that it is allowed to exist within a grey area of legality."
When someone violates adwords and adsense TOS they don't get everything banned, just access to those services. In fact I think that is the case with many Google services. I once had an unused youtube account banned for an unknown reason but everything else worked. It is curious that they would shut down all of his accounts.
> This guy did really dumb stuff with Adwords or Adsense and got caught.
If that were the case then why can't Google disclose this to him when they close his account? (And perhaps, though this is a separate issue, then even give him a chance to defend his position -- you know, like they do in The Real World?)
hey pal, i'm not going to go around righting every one of you people who thinks they know what they are talking about. but since i'm here anyway, even though i already said this, i don't know a goddam thing about google adsense or adwords. period. i wouldn't know how to make money from scamming google even i wanted to.
Deleting the whole account is really unjustifiable! If OP was abusing some service of Google, then ban him from this specific service, but why take his whole data?
If there is something to learn, it's to keep a local copy of anything you have, and never be 100% depending on an online service. But then this obliterates the benefits of investing entirely in so called cloud services with any company, including Google. Ownership of your data, doesn't seem to be one of those benefits.
The backup methods are very different for each Google service. If you want daily backups of all your Google services, you need to pay for multiple external backup services and/or spend a lot of time doing it manually.
And how do you download all your Google Analytics data? This page on the Data Liberation page suggests that you export to XML, Excel or TSV. http://www.dataliberation.org/google/analytics
But to do daily backups of all the dimensions, metrics, advanced segments etc. would be very time consuming.
You could do it easier with the API, but that requires programming knowledge.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the termination of this individuals account, he still brings to light some very valid concerns.
I'll quote terryb088 from reddit in saying, 'The whole "cloud computing" model that companies like Google are pushing requires that we place good faith in the companies that provide these services. In my opinion good faith runs both ways, and any suspension of services needs to have a channel for dispute and resolution.'
The bottom line is, with so much of our personal information and other material invested in Google and its services, the opportunity to appeal (much less be given a reason for) account termination should always be available. It speaks volumes of Google's attitude towards its users that there is not such an avenue already provided.
Was his entire account really wiped? That is pretty horrifying. Can you give us a hint as to what sort of offence would justify destroying an online identity? I use my google identity for almost everything I do. If the crime this guy committed was really so great, why isn't he in jail right now?
Whether or not there has been a TOS violation, basically locking away the guy's past emails and any other documents he may have saved previously using Google services seems like the dick move of the century.
It certainly makes me question the wisdom of keeping my email in Gmail and my photos in Picasa. And anything else in other parts of my google account.
Cutts, Google still doesn't understand the problem here.
Let's say I decide I have to break up with my live-in girlfriend, for good and sufficient reason. Perhaps she banged my three best friends, perhaps she literally killed my dog with an axe. Doesn't matter - I have my reasons. I break up with her. I still have to give her back her stuff from my apartment. If I don't do so, I'm committing a separate offense of my own. I lose the moral high ground.
Maybe something has to be worked out - maybe a friend of hers has to come over and get it, maybe I put her shit in boxes out on the porch. Whatever. I still have to give her back her stuff. The courts agree, public opinion agrees, the police agree. Whatever she did, no matter how egregious the violation, my swiping her stuff is FUCKING FROWNED UPON and is not justified by whatever harm she did to me.
Google demonstrates no knowledge of this legal and social norm. That's what is pissing people off. Implement a system to let people download their data from closed accounts and you can delete accounts with no explanation all day long.
Stealing people's data - regardless of what they did to you - is something that most people consider to be evil. Nobody cares about whether the guy did anything wrong or not. He's seizing the moral high ground from you because you, also, have committed a wrong.
Physical objects can only be in one place at a time. Data on the other hand can be backed up while it is still being used by the service. And Google collects information about how to do this for their services in one place: the Data Liberation Front http://www.dataliberation.org/
Yes it is realistic to expect all users to continually make backups of their Google services. Maybe google just hasnt made it easy enough yet... but that is what the goal should be.
Allowed access to banned accounts in "Read-only" mode is ripe for abuse by spammers and phishers who could benefit from still being able to access information in the violating accounts. Its the wrong kind of solution to a problem that really comes down to personal responsibility.
I think most people know deep down the responsible thing to do is have backups of all their important data... the cloud is just making people lazy. And providing a "read-only" access to a banned account will only make people lazier and more apathetic about it. "oh.. no worries.. Googles got my back" But what happens when Google is hacked, or suffers a natural disaster, or other catastrophic failure? It only serves to make the problem worse. Losing your data, to even a wrongfully banned account, is nobody's fault but your own.
There so many more reasons to backup your data before something bad happens, not after.... thats what we should be promoting
Any improvements in exporting data from a Google Account that will make a daily backup actually doable are welcome. But Google should not place all responsibility in the hands of the users, since this inevitable will result in bad user experiences and therefore bad publicity.
Regarding spammers and phishers, these are users violating the law and they of course have no legitimate claims to their account data.
"Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to make it easier to move data in and out."
This philosophy, or at least the "out" part, should apply doubly after someone's account is terminated in this manner. Google has determined that sinning against one service warrants terminating access to other services. That may be justifiable. But sinning against one service should not warrant loss of one's data in other services.
4.3 As part of this continuing innovation, you acknowledge and agree that Google may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services (or any features within the Services) to you or to users generally at Google’s sole discretion, without prior notice to you. You may stop using the Services at any time. You do not need to specifically inform Google when you stop using the Services.
4.4 You acknowledge and agree that if Google disables access to your account, you may be prevented from accessing the Services, your account details or any files or other content which is contained in your account.
I have no knowledge of what services he can or can't access, just that it is within Google's purview to remove access to all Google's services.
P.S. This is not Twitter and we don't use hashtags in our posts. Please act as though you have a semblance of decorum.
Furthermore, I'm trying to understand why everyone is saying that he should have backed up all of his data. They must be gigantic Google fanboys.
If Google is going to act like they can hold all of your data easily and effectively, why would a normal user back up their data? Would a normal user even know how? I doubt any of my friends would know where to start, or why they even should. After all, Google operates under the pretense of being a reliable service.
And let's get one thing clear: they ARE a reliable service. Up until they deactivate your account.
"A defendant has the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Therefore, an indictment must allege all the ingredients of the crime to such a degree of precision that it would allow the accused to assert double jeopardy if the same charges are brought up in subsequent prosecution. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Carll, 105 U.S. 611 (1881) that “in an indictment ... it is not sufficient to set forth the offense in the words of the statute, unless those words of themselves fully, directly, and expressly, without any uncertainty or ambiguity, set forth all the elements necessary to constitute the offense intended to be punished.” Vague wording, even if taken directly from a statute, does not suffice."
So the charges have to be specific enough. In this case, they are super general.
Pretty much all the other parts of justice are denied by google too (except the right to a speedy trial). These include the right to a public trial, an impartial jury, legal representation, the right to call witnesses in one's own favor, and the right to confront one's accusers.
Obviously Google is not required to give anyone these rights. But not even giving a semblance of them puts google on the evil side.
These rights aren't just made up for no reason - in the past people realized that just trusting leaders to do the right thing doesn't work, and gets corrupted. To stop this corruption they came up with ideas for how to make things more fair, and built systems around this. In some cases they even died to get these rights. Just trusting google to do the right thing is a scary, primitive way to deal with their power - and google seems to be wilfully ignoring that progress.
While I am sure that there are people that try to game the system- there should at least be a warning or some way for appeal. I am extremely upset that Google took MY domain schema.org without even any attribution at all to my project OpenDomain. I have been too afraid to say anything because I also might get 'removed'. PLEASE show me that Gooogle still supports open source and at least acknowledge my contribution
This is the first time in my life I have been disappointed by Google. If you are about to disable anyone's account, you need to give atleast a few days notice with an option for downloading all the emails, pictures, calendars, docs, etc.
This is essentially the response I got from Valve about 4 years ago when I was banned. I spent about a month struggling to get in contact with them just to ask 'why' and 'are you sure.' It wasn't until I began leaving daily voicemail messages at their offices asking for help that they finally talked to me at all. The only thing they told me in that conversation was that the ban offence was at my home IP, so I knew my account wasn't compromised. They even ignored a BBB complaint I filed.
They insisted that their automated ban system could not make a mistake. While I realize that most people banned from any online service probably deserve it, you can tell the quality of a company by the way they handle the mistakes. And there are always mistakes.
I wish I knew what terms I have supposedly violated. Google are being really mysterious, very Kafkaesque, because they refuse to tell me what I have violated and they refuse to allow me the option of appeal. I am guessing I was suspended because I posted a Google-critical thread regarding the user-names issue but the ToS don't mention anything about not being able to criticize Google. Free speech is theoretically permissible.
The most detail I can get from Google is that my suspension is due to "text and images" which alleged violates community standards. No precise details whatsoever and no option for appeal.
For the people who land on this thread, here's how the issue was resolved: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/bvqdos The person whose account was suspended remarked about the image in question: "I too found the image bordering on the limits of what is legally permissible and hoped to highlight the fact that it is allowed to exist within a grey area of legality."
I am sorry to hear that. I am just wondering why this is on HackerNews. But so be it. Did something happen to @thomasmonopoly account that he is not aware of?
I got banned from Adsense just over a Year ago and I thought about making Noise. BUT I wanted to work WITH Adsense and Google. Why Burn Bridges? So I tried to use the proper channels. But very disappointing that I was Ignored the whole time.
All I do/did was make Family Friendly YouTube Videos and occasionally post on my website. MY writings, My Original Videos. No Gaming the system no extra promotion, just let the views and the subscribers build naturally. I STILL have NO idea why Adsense Disabled me.
BUT there is an Issue that Many Partners have become Victims of. Clickbombing. There is no way to View or Track where impressions or clicks are coming from on YouTube. AND even if you report the activity, you still get banned. I was having slow steady Success. Was the Invalid Activity hidden in the Success data? I have no idea.
Looks like it is time to start a revolution. This might make National News.
I just got permanently banned from Adwords a month ago too.
It took me 5 years to finally reach the minimum payout, and they banned my account right before the 2nd payout. I did not do any click fraud.
The only other explanation I can think of is "click bombing" but I did not have logs longer than a week and did not see anything unusual.
It is infuriating that not only did they steal $100 from me (it was stolen from me because I could've used the other advertisers I am using now during those months), but that I am banned without an explanation. And they have the gall to ask me to try out Adwords with a $100 coupon.
I've been victim of sane. Although, I hadn't earned much, but the fact that Google banned me without my mistake, still bother me. I was just getting few clicks a day and some retard user used some script which made automated clicks on my ads 10,000 times. I noticed this and immediately reported the activity to Adsense, and what do I know... they ban me.. for being freaking honest. And just like this guy, none of my screamings and rantings were heard.
I think it is bad for public image, whatever it is.
We don't need details, but we need to hear at least whether this violation happened over a month or longer or just in a recent day(s), and thus could have been due to compromised account.
As an example - I heard from many Blizzard fans that their WoW password got compromised and first thing offenders do are acts that violate ToS and get real account owner banned for life. Very painful, and unfair. Just sayin...
You are destroying your brand. I know literally dozens of people that have enthusiastically come over from FB who are deeply freaked out about what you are doing here.
Yes, you can remove someone from your service if you like. But you must let them retrieve their materials. Otherwise, please trust us: We will go somewhere else. Behavior like this from FB is why we came here in the first place.
also let me be clear that i don't think this is going viral because i wrote a poetic letter that tugged at the heartstrings of twitter. if you think that my story is going viral for any other reason besides google's completely crap user support you need to re-examine your approach to dealing with people.
and if you need anymore proof of that please be aware that i signed up for twitter on wens night. and i do not know a single person, not one single person either physically or virtually, that has republished my letter. this should speak volumes as to how frustrated people are with google and any company that has policies like this. go to twitter, search for @thomasmonopoly and change "top tweets" to "all" tweets and see how your users are responding. because this has absolutely nothing to do with me.
It went viral because all you do is talk and talk and talk and talk, and people love hearing about other people with problems. A "look at that poor sap, I'm better than him," kind of thing.
But anyway, we would appreciate it if you didn't start spamming HN with this story. We know the details. We know you're upset. We don't really care.
If you must comment, one comment per threading level, please. Don't reply to the same comment more than once. And, keep it short. There must be something better to do with your life than tell everyone that Google disabled your account due to ToS violations.
Speak for yourself. I fully appreciate this guy being the one carrying the torch for all of us, who have or will be in the future, wronged by Google or any other big corporation where we have no recourse. Hopefully something positive will come of this.
No, the point is that its irrelevant that he violated ToS. Google should not unilaterally wipe a user's data without providing a chance to retrieve it. I'm sure the ToS lets Google delete an account for no reason whatsoever. That doesn't mean it isn't evil to delete a user's data.
and based on what other people have said about you i do belive you are an honest person. and if i really have violated the terms of service in some way, what in gods name could i have done that was so small for me to have not noticed it yet so large as to warrant shutting down my entire account and blacklisting me???
hi. someone on twitter sent me a link to this. is this about my situation? because if it is let me say to "boneslf" if he is the correct person, i don't know a goddam thing about computers let alone the "tiny bit of programming knowledge and keyword knowledge to make money" scamming google products. let me be clear about that.
and also "jellicle" makes my point exactly and so do a few others on here.
also, i've sent an update to the few contacts i have made at google, but they haven't responded. i found out two days ago that this week the fbi raided an apt in my building connected with anonymous and hauled away computers. like i said, and like i told google yesterday, i don't know enough about computers to know whether or not it's plausible that this could have something to do with my issue, or if they would hack into my google account for some reason, but i do know that my router had "dns poisoning" last week and that's when the internet started acting up. it might be crazy for me to suspect that the fbi case has anything to do with this, but i would know if google would talk to me.
also, in my opinion, nothing would warrant what they have done. unless i was knowingly violating some term of service. which i don't think anyone at this point could possibly think that i was. i never even sent out group email or had any of my picasa folders public.
It definitely seems from the way that google is handling this (playing everything close to the vest, not letting you know anything) that it DOES have something to do with the FBI raid. In the US, this kind of cockiness and disregard for standard procedures of law and decency is often paired with Homeland Security shit. It doesn't seem very far fetched to say that google might have been told by the gov't that you are without a doubt some sort of terrorist or pro-wikileaks hacker so that the gov't can look at your information (without any kind of warrant, of course).
first of all i am absolutely pro-wikileaks. that shouldn't even be a statement i have to make. that's like saying "why yes, i am pro-truth." those people are the definition of patriots and they're not even from my country.
secondly, i can't imagine google would be dumb enough to actually think that even if someone did use my account for something like that. i would hope that the most powerful corporation would notice the change in behavior if someone was one day uploading pictures of hiking to my picasa account and emailing my sister and the next day hacking into the cia. i should hope that they would suspect they weren't the same person.
also, why is the text on this website so small? rhetorical question.
I have a small amount of experience with this kind of stuff (gov't assualts on Internet activists through property seizure, collusion with the private sector, etc) from reading Glenn Greenwald and some others and here's my take: the gov't has been cracking down on people suspected of DDoSing the credit card companies a few months back in the name of anonymous and wikileaks; I read a thread somewhere about the FBI raiding a house with guns drawn to go after the OP's 13 year-old son, who the mother said was absolutely innocent of using LOIC to do this at all.
I think you, and possibly your neighbor, might have become victims of this kind of shoddy, falsified intelligence work. Back when the "war on terror" was really hotted up after 9/11, there were tons of stories of Muslims being erroneously charged with terrorism, like the time with the "Detroit Sleeper Cell" that turned out to be just some impoverished Detroit Muslims; the FBI took wild liberties interpreting a disturbed man's doodles to be some sort of terrorist plot. Well, now the intel agencies are a little more restricted in their ability to harass and intimidate innocent Muslims (well, as long as they're within our borders). But as we've seen with the story about the 13 year-old, these agencies are still quite willing to harass and intimidate online activists, accusing them of being "hacktivists" and seizing their property. And we've also seen that companies such as google are quite "in bed" with the gov't whenever they ask them for the data in the name of "the war on terror."
TL;DR I suspect that google disabled your account at the behest of the gov't who are in turn serving credit card companies mad about being DDoSed by Anon who was mad at them for stealing money from wikileaks, who the credit card companies say violated THEIR terms of service.
The question remains, despite the link to Betsy Perry's G+ post which has been repeatedly posted in this thread in order to discredit you, is which term of service you violated in the use of your gmail account? Google refuses to answer this, which is what makes me most confident that some homeland security BS is involved here.
It's interesting that I am being accused of "samefagging" just because I seem to be on another person's side and am making somewhat wild assertions about what might have happened. I'm not an HN user typically because I'm ignorant of most of the stuff you guys find interesting, I found this thread linked from reddit and when I saw that ThomasAlexander's building had allegedly been raided by the FBI going after Anon, I knew I had to comment. I assure you, the last thing I want is for his story about the FBI raid to be untrue, it would mean the hour or so I've spent thinking and commenting on it was totally wasted.
ahahaha. ok. yeah. there are tons of us all pretending that we don't have the same profile. even saying that is confusing.
and the thing about anonymous in my building is very true, look it up. bushwick bk. ny post. i don't know the specifics. but i did have breakfast two days ago with someone who knew the tenants and let's just say i don't want to know and he didn't want to tell me what was going on.
i just noticed matt's comments at the top. and i'm going to respond without getting angry and without using profanity. but matt, if you know what it is that google thinks i did, and after all of this, you are still not telling me, i am dumbfounded. if that is true then you really need to consider your terms of service and your public relations department. i'm getting about 5 messages a minute about this on twitter.