Killed by Google
Hvor afhængig er du af Googles tjenester? Ja, vi kan vel alle holde op med at bruge dem, hvis vi vil, men det er ikke helt det, jeg mener.
Hvor mange af dine personlige data ligger på Googles servere? Hvis man bruger mange af deres tjenester, kan det løbe op: Picasa, fotos. Gmail, emails. Google Documents, alle ens eksamensbeviser, CV'er, jobansøgninger og hvad man nu ellers har. YouTube: Bunkevis af videoer, både offentlige og private. Hvad ville der ske, hvis adgangen til alle disse data pludselig var helt og aldeles væk, fordi din Google-konto var spærret?
I forlængelse heraf: Vidste du, at Google har som en del af deres forretningsbetingelser, at de kan lukke din konto når som helst og af en hvilken som helst grund?
Den præcise ordlyd er:
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.Italieneren Domenico Quaranta fandt ud af disse forretningsbetingelser - på den hårde måde. I en email fortæller han, hvordan han en dag vågnede op til det faktum, at han og hans personlige data uden videre var blevet dræbt - af Google:
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.
This night I've been killed by Google. When I woke up, I tried to enter my Google Account as usual, but what I got was only a short message:Måske stof til eftertanke til dem, der tror, at deres emails og andre personlige dokumenter ligger trygt og godt hos Google.
"Sorry, your account has been disabled."
"This fucking password!", I thought, and I retyped it. Same message. At the end of it there was a question mark with a link. I clicked on it, and this is what I read:
• If you've been redirected to this page from the sign in page, it means that access to your Google Account has been disabled. (...)
Google reserves the right to:
• Suspend a Google Account from using a particular product or the entire Google Accounts system if the Terms of Service or product- specific policies are violated.
• Terminate your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice.
"Terminate your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice?" Wow! If God exists, probably he is more democratic than Google. But, well, of course it's a mistake. So, let's fill the form.
I did it, and this is what I got:
"Thanks for contacting our Google Accounts team. Please note that we'll only reply if we have additional information to share about your disabled account."
I take a cigarette. "Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper", I think. Tons of emails, two blogs, about one hundred images, videos, documents, web pages, presentations, two years of work lost for... what? Because I believed in a fallible God.
I don't believe in God, actually. That's why I always have to understand what happens to my life. So, I start making some research. Google invites you to put your whole hard disk online. If you have a Google account, you can check your email, but you can also run one or more blogs. Picasa lets you share your pictures, and since Google bought Youtube, you can create and access a Youtube channel with the same username and password. Google Documents is a kind of Microsoft Office. You can create and share word documents, spreadsheets, Power Point presentations, databases. It's far but easy to fascinate me, but if I find something useful, I use it. So, I run two blogs, I have a Picasa account, a Youtube channel, and several documents online - most of them being material I use for teaching, and that I share with my students. All under the same Google Account.
So, let's check if everything is working. My email doesn't work anymore. R.I.P. My blogs are still online, but I don't have the right to edit, delete or update them anymore. Actually, I'm not the owner of these sites anymore. They are still there, but they aren't mine - they belong to Google. I realize right now that they always did. As for my Youtube videos and my documents, the same as above: only Google can decide if my students can go on studying what I teach. Finally, I look for my Picasa channel: it's gone.
"You asshole!", you may say. "You are boring us with your fucking story, and it ends up that you uploaded some sex images or copyrighted material." I didn't. What I put on my Picasa account are just my photos: some holiday pictures (as private albums, accessible only to me - and Google of course) and some pics related to the exhibitions I organized up to now (as public albums). I go through the terms of agreement about one hundred times, and what I understand is that I didn't violate any rule.
Det gør de efter al sandsynlighed, men tjenesten er gratis, og Google giver ingen som helst garanti for, at dine data ikke bare forsvinder, og det tætteste du kommer et egentligt "garantibevis" er erklæringen om, at de forbeholder sig ret til at lukke din konto "at any time, for any reason, with or without notice". Din eneste garanti er, at hvis du havde noget på din Google-konto, som du satte pris på - ja, så har du et problem.
Spørg bare Domenico Quaranta. Som efter al sandsynlighed ender med at få sine data tilbage før eller siden, men alligevel.
Link: Killed by Google
Foto: Stefan Kulk.