Google "deletes" artist's blog, erasing 12 years of work

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As an IT person I’m feeling the cringe and beating down that “I told ya!” attitude.

I really feel bad for this person.

If we all yell about this loud enough he might get his data back.


And this is why I trust ‘the cloud’ about as far as I can throw it. Also why the heck didn’t this guy have local copies of everything?


So the big question I have… was he paying for the hosting?

If you’re paying for your hosting, whoever is hosting that data has a responsibility to you.

If you’re using a free service, then you’re the product, not the customer, and if they choose to discontinue this product, you have little to no recourse.

I’m guessing he wasn’t paying for the hosting.


As cliché still not overused enough, this should be deeply ingrained in anyone using web services - especially those without direct monetary costs.


He probably can recover most of it from the Wayback Machine:


I’m guessing he didn’t bother to read the Terms and Conditions. (Not that I ever do.)


Pretty much the only thing you can give to someone and entrust them to keep, with 100% expectations that you will get it back later, is the bank. And even then there are limitations.

I am curious why Google nuked it? I could only get a few of the pages to load on the wayback machine. But, the first one was about Israeli Nazi erotica. So if he is posting about fringe stuff like that, it is bound to eventually trip a TOS. Something like that I would host on a private server that no one can cut you like that.

That said, I hope eventually Google gets around to reviewing and re-instating the blog, possibly with the offending post removed if it truly did violate TOS.


This makes me think about Facebook as much as Google. Facebook wants to be our communication hub for everything, but FB bans people at the drop of a hat, completely locking them out of all of their account, cutting off all of their communications. These companies want the public to rely on them utterly - to be public utilities - but also want to have none of responsibility or accountability that needs to correspond with such a position.


As somebody pointed out in yesterday’s Slashdot comments thread about this, he can find some of it here:

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Paid hosts have TOS that say the same thing Google’s TOS says, which is that they may terminate your account at any time. That’s even true of the cloud back up service advertised here on Boing Boing - a service that wants you to depend on them literally as your back up.


This is wrong and not how contracts work. No money has to change hands, just something of value. The responsibilities enumerated in the contract and provided for by law and public policy are what matter. You can pay money and still get the same treatment and end up with no recourse because of the contract terms. Just because you paid money it doesnt mean you can’t still get screwed. Next time you pay for hosting, read the contract. They’re essentially never responsible for data loss in the terms of the contract. How much money was involved isnt the issue.

“You get what you pay for” is fine and dandy as a old saw, but it’s worthless as a guideline to creating or maintaining a stable Internet ecosystem. Hell, some things we’ve come to rely on are things that you would never pay for because you basically can’t. Social networks are a function of where your friends and family are, for instance. You can’t get any advantage in paying for a different social network.


It can be even worse with paid hosts because the contracts often say they can terminate account at their sole discretion and keep your money - basically a contract that is a license to steal your money. At least with a free host you don’t loose cash.


I blame this guy exactly as much as I blame myself for the irreplaceable stuff I’ve lost over the years, which is not all. But if I’d backed it up, I’d have it. The problem , of course is, is that so little of my terabytes is really irreplaceable. Sorting takes time and effort.


I’d add that Google doesn’t want us backed up anywhere except Google. Google Photos on my Android cell phone is constantly asking me if I want to free up space on my phone by deleting the original photos from my phone, leaving me with only the re-compressed backups on Google.

So, the extent that the artist relied solely on Google to safely maintain his content is in large part because that is exactly what Google wants us to do. (cf. Chromebooks)



Contrast this to:

In the future you will own nothing and have access to everything

Sometimes I think BB is totally schizophrenic. You really can’t have it both ways…


Did you know Boing Boing is more than one person?


Why is the stack of paper growing?


If you really wanted to be pedantic, you could have pointed out that BB, being a website, is not subject to metal aberrations like schizophrenia.


On the other hand, one could point out that BB is a brand, and that consistency is generally considered one of the keys to good branding.