A Plea for Help From Someone Being Casually Crushed Under Google's Heel

I also agree about talking to your congresscritter/senator, especially to get help from the FTC. They actually live for this kind of stuff - helping their constituent deal with government bureaucracy - because it makes them look good. They really won’t care if you actively voted/support them, they still will be glad to help you out. You pay for their salary and they work for you. Despite their national BS, they all know this and will work for you on stuff like this.

The only other thing I can say is find a lawyer, if the EFF won’t/can’t help.

This is all crap, BTW and I hope you can get this worked out. Good luck and keep us posted. Sorry I can’t be of more help!


It’s at least worth minimizing it. Even a monthly back-up to a nice big flash or external HD means you only ever lose the latest month of your life when a cloud services corporation decides to shaft you.

But that doesn’t help you in your present predicament. I agree you’ll probably have to involve a lawyer to get Google to do anything, unless your story goes viral and you can generate enough bad PR for them to make a move.

ETA: Also, can’t hurt to reach out to the EFF. I make a very modest but regular annual donation to them and, as far as I’m concerned, yours is the type of front-line case they should be tackling.


If the google drive desktop app doesn’t work for you, you could try odrive


An update: I have recovered her email, if temporarily. I downloaded all of her photographs using takeout, then chose to convert the photographs in her account to “High Quality” (e.g. low quality), which Google doesn’t charge storage for. That dropped her overall storage total low enough to send and receive email.

It doesn’t resolve our problem with Wallet, or the fact that she can’t really use Google Photos anymore, but at least we’re getting things like, oh, emails about our deposit from our previous landlord.


The only time I ever triumphed in an argument with Google was when I threatened to turn them in for pedo-crime. Up until that point they simply ignored me. So I don’t know what you do if the Google peeper-car hasn’t trespassed on your property and taken pictures of your children’s bedrooms through your windows… posting on bb, facebook and G+ is almost certainly a good opening move , though.


Got a callback from one Senator’s office although largely just to punt to the FCC and the AG’s office. They offered to forward the issue to the FTC, though, which I expect will carry more weight than my online form submission.


You’d be surprise about that punt. I forgot to mention the time I went to get a replacement SS card because it got stolen about a year before on campus and I needed proof of it for my state diability (broken leg).

I went to the SS office and the f—ing bureaucrat lectured me about losing it. I pointed out that my SS# was everywhere: jobs, utilities, etc. (also stolen was my student I.D., which was my social security number, this was 1994). Anyway, I called my representative and complained about her attitude.

Didn’t think anything more until 12 months later, when I had to go with a Polish immigrant couple to that same office to apply for their green card. Same woman, oh shit. Never did I think she’d remember one person in a thousand plus prople, but she looked right at me and said, “Oh, I remember you.” Suddenly, that couple got much more help than they had been getting from her. :relieved:


That’s good news! I don’t think that’s punting. It’s probably normal, and you’re right that the referral is a good way to open the case with the FTC. Consider logging who you talk to each time, an extension number or email, the date and a complete sentence or two about the content of the call (e.g. what specific relief you requested, what you were instructed to do, etc.). It can save time later.


Update: AG replied to my letter saying that they have contacted “the company or individual in question” to request a response. A form letter, but in theory I should be getting a copy of any response, so that should be interesting.


Does it reference a case number or some other unique identifier in the subject line or elsewhere? Other than the date and your name, I mean.



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So in a week to ten days, you can call the office and ask for the name of the staff member assigned to constituent matter number X or whatever they gave you. Then you’ll have a name, and you can take 90 seconds to introduce yourself and say thank you and receive a super quick status report — maybe get an extension or an email for when you contact them again.


I can’t make any assurances about the feasibility of this, but investigate the possibility of making a small-claims filing for maximum damages in their jurisdiction (which may include your own) against/including a mid-to-high level Google executive personally. If the filing is successful, that individual can be compelled to attend, or risk a default judgement. You could receive several thousand dollars (which you could possibly ask the judge to apply to your “debt”), or more likely, force some higher-level attention be given to your issue. It could magically go away. If the claim is accepted and there is a default judgement, there could be press interest as well “See how one couple took on Google and won!” clickbait articles. You don’t need to hire a lawyer for small claims court, and judges and their staff overseeing the cases are often sympathetic to small claimants and can help with the process.

Edit: IANAL, but I’m related to several, and I read loweringthebar.com regularly :). Obviously, some research is required (I tried duckduckgo - Google searches were unhelpful), but I have a vague recollection of some precedents being established in the US about the right to have your data deleted, or allowing bulk downloads. I know there are laws in the EU that give you more rights. I wish I could be more helpful, but if you could get even a weak claim accepted, anything related to this, down to some weird local statute about being rude on the phone, you could get the attention you need to solve the actual problem.


Also, obviously, being featured on BoingBoing’s front page would help, too. Do the editors regularly read these? Can somebody with some influence point them to this post and get one of them in touch with the posters? I’d be totally screwed if the same thing happened to me, so I think this is of general interest and fits the site’s theme. I think, properly verified, this would make for a good article.


Maybe @doctorow will ask am EFF investigator or intake worker to staff it over there and consider what if snything they’re funded to do. Or a referral?


That’d be grand! But I don’t want to force the issue…really the blog is supposed to be about wonderful things, not my whining. And I’m sure my problems are pretty minor even in the scope of this community.

But here are some flowers!

And a proud lizard.


You know it’s likely happening as a matter of policy because Google. That means it’s probably impacting others so you’re helping just by voicing the concern publicly.

Whether @doctorow or EFF have the bandwidth and resources to prioritize this particular issue of the many that need attention is probably the question.


Damn. I knew Google Wallet was something to stay far away from. I wonder when they’re just going to turn off Books. Probably just after they spin it off. So it’ll either be piracy or Amazon. Barf.


This was the cream of the Burning Man crop, he said.

“This is a high percentage of San Francisco entrepreneurs, and they tend to be winners. It’s a curated, self-selected group of adults who have jobs,” Schmidt said. “You can tell by the percentage of trailers.”

Okay, wow.


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