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(Slate)   Can you live without Google? What if they suspended your account without explanation?   (slate.com) divider line 123
    More: Scary, Google, recorded message, Googleplex, ether, Google Reader, Google Voice, explanations  
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7398 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Apr 2013 at 2:10 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-25 12:28:29 PM  

SleepingEye: If APL shuts down your account, you lose access to EVERYTHING.  Media, apps, access to your device (especially on factory reset, where you *NEED* an account to even start using the phone for it's phone purposes).

If Google shuts down your account, your Android phone will happily continue to work (even after factory reset -- you don't need to log into an account until you try to use Google services), and all built in services can be easily and seamlessly replaced with alternatives (Amazon Store, Garmin GPS software, etc.)

This is why I'm a fan of Google; I see their user-facing persona and I like it (Dashboard tells you what they have on you, and it's easy to switch in and out of their services if I ever deem them "evil", etc)


I agree. I have a HTC One X android phone and it works perfectly well without any Google ID or login. Same with my Windows 8 where I don't even need a MS ID to download and use apps.
 
2013-04-25 12:29:09 PM  
fusillade762: The Stealth Hippopotamus: I_Am_Weasel: If they suspended my gmail account, it would likely be months before I noticed.
This.
Pretty much. My Gmail account is the one I use for signing petitions and such. Basically it's my spam dumping ground.


This, also use it for Facebook and Twitter, at least my main accounts.  Granted I sometimes don't check it for months.
 
2013-04-25 12:32:34 PM  

Lumbar Puncture: FTA "but it also reserves the right to discontinue services, the means to access it, whenever it wants"

Is this person new to the internet or something?  Because you can be banned from using just about any website or internet service under the same terms.

I'd be more interested in exactly how he had that Google Doc with his clients passwords and information secured on Google Docs.  Because if he chose to publish it to either his friends or publicly, then that's a clear violation of the terms of use of Google Documents, and certainly a liability issue.

BumpInTheNight: Why is google reading your spreadsheet for passwords and then only giving you access after one of their staff reads that file.

Depends on how it was published, again if this guy was stupid enough to publish it publicly on Google Docs, than anyone can read or search for it.  I assume that they routinely scan that information with an automated program to make sure there isn't adult content, illegal activities, or confidential information that may be a liability to their service.  Google will unlikely comment on it and I don't think this guy would admit to storing that information publicly (if in fact he did) and without that information it would be impossible to make an assumption one way or another.


If only there was an option to keep files and documents private...

/for someone who is not new to the internet, you seem to be confused about the difference between "cloud storage" and "Facebook wall"
//if he does decide to make these sensitive files public, then that is between him and his clients
 
2013-04-25 12:32:58 PM  
I have free 25GB in Box and free 25GB Skydrive. it's only  1GB used between both and that's because my phone uploads pictures to Skydrive
 
2013-04-25 12:35:15 PM  
SleepingEye:
If APL shuts down your account, you lose access to EVERYTHING.  Media, apps, access to your device (especially on factory reset, where you *NEED* an account to even start using the phone for it's phone purposes).

If Google shuts down your account, your Android phone will happily continue to work (even after factory reset -- you d ...


And if AT&T shuts down your account you can't make phone calls.  OMG.
 
2013-04-25 12:41:57 PM  

Electrify: If only there was an option to keep files and documents private...

/for someone who is not new to the internet, you seem to be confused about the difference between "cloud storage" and "Facebook wall"
//if he does decide to make these sensitive files public, then that is between him and his clients


Huh?  I'm completely aware that there is a way to make the files private, which if you read what I wrote I specifically made the distinction between publishing the files publicly and privately.  Google Docs let's you do both.  While it isn't the same as putting it up on your facebook wall, it's certainly not secure.

As for making those files public being between him and his clients, sure it is.  But he's using Google Docs which specifically forbades publishing sensitive material.  So he can make it public all he wants, but not while using Google Docs.  Is that hard to understand?

The guy wrote a follow up post on his blog where he wrote this:
It was a spreadsheet that I created at the request of my client to track business-related information, including account info and passwords for things like their Twitter and POS system. In other words, the spreadsheet contained the same sort of information that many, many businesses and individuals store in their Drives. I gave the document a name that included the phrase "password directory" and also created an accompanying form, which included a field named "password," to allow my client to continue updating the spreadsheet.

I suggested to my client that we store the document offline, thinking at worst a hacker could get a hold of it, but my client assured me they weren't concerned about the risk, having created similar documents in the past with no problems.


Which makes me wonder who his client is because I don't want to do business with someone who keeps spreadsheets like that public because they're not concerned about the risk.
 
2013-04-25 12:46:10 PM  

ZeroCorpse: GWSuperfan: "My data was intact save for the last thing I'd worked on-a spreadsheet containing a client's account numbers and passwords. It seems that Google's engineers determined this single document violated policy and locked down my entire account. "

I'll tell you this much- if I was a client of this asshole, and found out that he had my account # and password in a spreadsheet that he was storing on a cloud service, I'd cease to be a client right quick.

I'd say Google did this guy's clients a favor.

What has me a bit confused is how they found this info. Did they look at the contents of the spreadsheet and then freeze the account? Was there something in the file name that alerted them? Do they make a habit of reading the actual contents of work stored in Google Docs? Isn't there some sort of privacy issue to be concerned about here?!?!


First layer is software that looks for a myriad of things. When certain criteria is met, then the file is flagged and eventually read by human eyes. Then you get add suspended for doing what this idiot did -storing client personal information in an unencrypted file.
Local backups for the win. Cloud storage For convenience
 
2013-04-25 01:02:19 PM  
What account
 
2013-04-25 01:25:21 PM  

Lumbar Puncture: Electrify: If only there was an option to keep files and documents private...

/for someone who is not new to the internet, you seem to be confused about the difference between "cloud storage" and "Facebook wall"
//if he does decide to make these sensitive files public, then that is between him and his clients

Huh?  I'm completely aware that there is a way to make the files private, which if you read what I wrote I specifically made the distinction between publishing the files publicly and privately.  Google Docs let's you do both.  While it isn't the same as putting it up on your facebook wall, it's certainly not secure.

As for making those files public being between him and his clients, sure it is.  But he's using Google Docs which specifically forbades publishing sensitive material.  So he can make it public all he wants, but not while using Google Docs.  Is that hard to understand?

The guy wrote a follow up post on his blog where he wrote this:
It was a spreadsheet that I created at the request of my client to track business-related information, including account info and passwords for things like their Twitter and POS system. In other words, the spreadsheet contained the same sort of information that many, many businesses and individuals store in their Drives. I gave the document a name that included the phrase "password directory" and also created an accompanying form, which included a field named "password," to allow my client to continue updating the spreadsheet.

I suggested to my client that we store the document offline, thinking at worst a hacker could get a hold of it, but my client assured me they weren't concerned about the risk, having created similar documents in the past with no problems.

Which makes me wonder who his client is because I don't want to do business with someone who keeps spreadsheets like that public because they're not concerned about the risk.


Okay, I'll admit I may have misread your post.

That said, did he set it to public, or private but shared? If it was the latter, then Google was probably out of line. If it was the former, then perhaps a warning email asking for an explanation/asking to remove the offending file off of Drive would have been sufficient.
 
2013-04-25 01:32:54 PM  

Electrify: That said, did he set it to public, or private but shared? If it was the latter, then Google was probably out of line. If it was the former, then perhaps a warning email asking for an explanation/asking to remove the offending file off of Drive would have been sufficient


Maybe I worded it oddly, but that's pretty much what I meant as well and agree.  His later blog post didn't make that clear either, but if it was public, then I can see why they'd take action.  If it was private/shared then Google was out of line.
 
2013-04-25 02:10:24 PM  

I_Am_Weasel: If they suspended my gmail account, it would likely be months before I noticed.


And I'm done. I'd miss only my YouTube playlists, and not very much at that. Everything else is a wasteland of apathy.
 
2013-04-25 02:14:21 PM  
Google not only reserves the right to take away or vaporize our data for any reason, but it also reserves the right to discontinue services, the means to access it, whenever it wants.

Just a reminder, folks, for those of you eager to have access to such services as either a money-saver or time-saver. If you don't have physical control of it, you don't really own it. I've harped on this point with regards to e-books, but it really applies to anything.
 
2013-04-25 02:32:15 PM  

FormlessOne: Google not only reserves the right to take away or vaporize our data for any reason, but it also reserves the right to discontinue services, the means to access it, whenever it wants.

Just a reminder, folks, for those of you eager to have access to such services as either a money-saver or time-saver. If you don't have physical control of it, you don't really own it. I've harped on this point with regards to e-books, but it really applies to anything.


One that one note:  Use Calibre and de-DRM everything you buy and store locally.
 
2013-04-25 03:04:21 PM  
Are you paying for it? No? Well then you don't own it, period.
 
2013-04-25 06:48:53 PM  
Welcome to Google, where you get what you pay for.
 
2013-04-25 10:11:17 PM  
 
2013-04-25 11:11:44 PM  
"I couldn't finish my work or my taxes, because my notes and expenses were stored in Google Drive..."

Somehow, I can't feel sorry for someone who keeps all of his important data on somebody else's computer.
 
2013-04-25 11:16:53 PM  

ZeroCorpse: What has me a bit confused is how they found this info. Did they look at the contents of the spreadsheet and then freeze the account? Was there something in the file name that alerted them? Do they make a habit of reading the actual contents of work stored in Google Docs? Isn't there some sort of privacy issue to be concerned about here?!?!


Google scans and analyzes all data going thru their system. Send a few dozen emails containing the word "doorknob" and then watch the ads on the web pages you visit all turn into ads trying to sell you doorknobs. Remember, when it comes to any free internet service, you are the product, not the customer.
 
2013-04-25 11:18:28 PM  

LazarusLong42: If the service is free, you are not the customer. You are the product.


/shakes tiny fist.
 
2013-04-25 11:40:57 PM  

DrPainMD: ZeroCorpse: What has me a bit confused is how they found this info. Did they look at the contents of the spreadsheet and then freeze the account? Was there something in the file name that alerted them? Do they make a habit of reading the actual contents of work stored in Google Docs? Isn't there some sort of privacy issue to be concerned about here?!?!

Google scans and analyzes all data going thru their system. Send a few dozen emails containing the word "doorknob" and then watch the ads on the web pages you visit all turn into ads trying to sell you doorknobs. Remember, when it comes to any free internet service, you are the product, not the customer.


Hmm... That explains all the ads for Mr. Skin's web site...

/not really. I have no idea what ads I get. Adblock FTW.
//Except on Fark, of course. I wouldn't deprive Drew of his moneys.
 
2013-04-25 11:48:44 PM  

SleepingEye: If APL shuts down your account, you lose access to EVERYTHING.  Media, apps, access to your device (especially on factory reset, where you *NEED* an account to even start using the phone for it's phone purposes).


You don't need an Apple account for anything except the app store (which is also true on Android). Try the "Skip This Step" button in the setup screen next time (again, just like Android). You can log in to other services to get things like over-the-air syncing and whatnot (again, just like Android) but it's not required for general use, and all of the cabled sync features work fine without it.

/ Is an Android user
// You don't need to lie about the iPhone to find bad things to say
 
2013-04-25 11:59:50 PM  

heavymetal: Heck if Apple decides you did something wrong they can disable your iTunes account and you lose the rights to all the music you got through iTunes.


That's not true. Apple hasn't encrypted audio files for years now. Even when they did what you're suggesting wouldn't happen, because they never required play-time authorization. You signed in and got a local copy of the key, which was valid indefinitely until you signed out. There was never a provision to remotely de-authorize systems, or to force re-verification. If your account was deleted AND you lost your local key you'd be screwed, but Apple simply going away or disabling your account would not have any impact on your ability to play music.

Video is still encrypted. Though like the old audio encryption it is a one-time authorization that's valid indefinitely.

/ Not sure why people can't find real reasons to complain about Apple
// Non-socketed RAM? No removable local storage even on high-end mobile devices? Storing Siri queries for long periods? Anyone?
 
2013-04-26 10:45:20 AM  

GWSuperfan: "My data was intact save for the last thing I'd worked on-a spreadsheet containing a client's account numbers and passwords. It seems that Google's engineers determined this single document violated policy and locked down my entire account. "

I'll tell you this much- if I was a client of this asshole, and found out that he had my account # and password in a spreadsheet that he was storing on a cloud service, I'd cease to be a client right quick.

I'd say Google did this guy's clients a favor.


But it's okay, because now he's storing his clients' sensitive information in unencrypted spreadsheets on *multiple* cloud services.  Ugh.
 
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