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[liberationtech] Independent UK Critic of NBC has Twitter account suspended after network complains

Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org
Wed Aug 1 00:45:38 PDT 2012


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Jillian,

Maybe I was hasty in my commentary, but I have spent time reading so many "we're sorry" statements by companies that I've become slightly jaded. Blame South Park :) I also find it very difficult that NBC "didn't initially understand the repercussions of our complaint, but now that we do, we have rescinded it."  [1]

Surely arguing against unfair Ts & Cs is something the Internet community should be doing? Particularly when it seems the whole US population watching the Olympics seemed to be complaining also. [2] [3] [4] Curiously I had a link to a Reuters article yesterday about how US TV watchers were using VPN services (TunnelBear for example) to watch BBC coverage of the games as they were being provided with terrible coverage via NBC. The link now seems to be a 404. [5]

The fact that NBC were delaying the video feeds and requiring people to purchase online subscriptions to watch live video is perfectly acceptable. It's their business decision. I think it's pretty lame, but they're a for-profit business and can do what they like (within reason). Again people should complain and argue against it.

As Simon Phipps mentioned (as is reported) Twitter alerted NBC to the message by Adams and showed them how to complain, without contacting the originator of the offending message. Surely that's against their Ts & Cs? The user messes up (or not in this case) and is punished. The service provider messes up, and nothing happens? [6]

Lina: A US based lawyer commented to me yesterday that NBC and Comcast are subject federal oversight (I don't know the legal definition of "oversight") in the USA. Which would presumably means that the "government" can assert some control/influence on them, and that the public would be entitled to contact the corporations employees. I think I will leave the legal interpretation to the lawyers. It would be interesting to hear what the legal status of this is.


Bernard

[1]: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/net-us-twitter-nbc-journalist-idINBRE86U1EZ20120731
[2]: http://storify.com/btballenger/nbcfail-x-ways-nbc-blew-olympics-coverage
[3]: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/nbcfail-backlash-as-twitter-locks-out-reporter-guy-adams-7987906.html
[4]: http://lifehacker.com/5930437/how-an-american-can-stream-the-bbcs-official-olympics-coverage-and-overcome-nbcfail
[5]: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/net-us-olympics-tech-workaround-idUSBRE86U02R20120731
[6]: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/9440137/London-Olympics-2012-Twitter-alerted-NBC-to-British-journalists-critical-tweets.html


On 31 Jul 2012, at 22:22, Lina Srivastava wrote:

> Not in defense of Twitter's underlying decision, but in the case of the apology, I wouldn't say this is usual BS language. This is   Twitter's GC, not the PR department, stating their policy and an explanation in response to this particular situation. They handled at least the apology and explanation correctly.  And as Jillian said, as a private corporation, they are well within their legal rights to suspend any user they want, or draft any kind of usage policy they want, as long as that policy isn't itself illegal (eg. discriminatory, etc.)  That they screwed up in terms of the user relationships, and in the larger sense of how you craft these policies today, is fairly obvious-- and hopefully they'll listen to Jillian re: appeals processes.
> 
> About the question of whether an email address per se is confidential, it all depends. Email addresses may constitute personally identifiable information, but I don't know if that applies to corporate email addresses, because I guess you could make a case that's part of the public record and/or it's routine business information-- and there are different standards about personally identifiable information depending on the state, agency, or jurisdiction. So I don't know the answer to that without researching the case law. Anyone else? 
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 4:46 PM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com> wrote:
> Bernard,
> 
> 1. Not reading a post and then pontificating on assumptions is pretty lame.
> 
> 2. EFF Legal is not on this, because Twitter is well within their legal rights to suspend a user for any reason.  While I think that sucks, it is, in fact, the truth.
> 
> 3. I very much hope that Twitter either rephrases their rules or starts investigating claims such as this in the future.  I also firmly believe that they need an appeals/escalation process for situations like this.
> 
> Best,
> Jillian
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 1:24 PM, Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb <ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org> wrote:
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> Hi Jillian,
> 
> Thanks for explaining the details. Pardon my language but...FFS. This is disgraceful.
> 
> Adams used publicly available information like this: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gary-zenkel/3/569/126 and Twitter closed his account?
> 
> In which case, if I were Adams, I would release my legal attack hounds, and sue Twitter under what ever legislation they could.  Anyone from the EFF Legal want to comment?
> 
> That is disgraceful. Another example of why I believe Twitters self-censorship "internal struggle" earlier this year was an easy out for them.
> 
> I hope Adams doesn't take the usual "we're sorry" excuse thats trotted out.
> 
> Bernard
> 
> On 31 Jul 2012, at 16:13, Jillian C. York wrote:
> 
> > Bernard,
> >
> > Twitter's explanation was not that the statement was defamatory, but that Adams had posted private information.  The email address he posted, however, is not private: it is available on NBC.com.  That's the entire case.
> >
> > -Jillian
> >
> > On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 1:39 AM, Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb <ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org> wrote:
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> >
> >
> > (Slightly devil's advocate/contrarian POV)
> >
> > Interesting story, and Adams probably has a case but it never ceases to amaze me when people disconnect their "real world" brains from their "Internet" brains.
> >
> > I would be the first person to complain if someone's free-speech was taken away, however, if Adams has said anything defamatory in his Twitter stream, then he is still bound by "real world" laws.
> >
> > Just because I say something defamatory or libellous about person X on the Internet, doesn't mean that *IF* it's found that a "real-world" legal process cannot be executed.
> >
> > Most people using the Internet may not understand that, but I would have expected journalists to understand it.
> >
> > Is it illegal to suspend someones services for naming an executive of a media company for doing XYZ in the USA? I have no idea.
> >
> > If it is illegal, then people need to speak out against a ridiculously brain-dead law.
> >
> > If it is not illegal, people need to complain to Twitter for freedom of speech. Twitter need to rewind their equally brain-dead actions and apologise to the guy.
> >
> > Now, if he has said nothing "illegal" on Twitter, then IMHO, fire up the legal drones Guy. This I unfortunately have direct experience of. At this point it becomes (certainly in parts of Europe) a case of "who's got the bigger legal team".
> >
> > (My reasoning comes from Bruce Schneier's argument on laws specific to "cybercrimes". To paraphrase "Prosecution can be difficult in cyberspace. On one hand the crimes are the same.....The laws against certain practices, complete with criminal justice infrastructure to enforce them, are already in place....Fraud is fraud, whether it takes place over the US mail or the Internet.")
> >
> >
> > On 31 Jul 2012, at 00:17, David Johnson wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics--critic-of-nbc-has-twitter-account-suspended-after-network-complains.html
> > >
> > > --
> > > David V. Johnson
> > > Web Editor
> > > Boston Review
> > > Website: http://www.bostonreview.net
> > >
> > > Twitter:
> > > http://twitter.com/BostonReview
> > > Tumblr: http://bostonreview.tumblr.com
> > >
> > > Cell: (917)903-3706
> > >
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> > - --------------------------------------
> > Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb
> >
> > IO91XM / www.ei8fdb.org
> >
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> > --
> > +1-857-891-4244 | jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork
> >
> > "We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the seemingly impossible to become a reality" - Vaclav Havel
> >
> >
> >
> 
> - --------------------------------------
> Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb
> 
> IO91XM / www.ei8fdb.org
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> 
> 
> -- 
> +1-857-891-4244 | jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork 
> 
> "We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the seemingly impossible to become a reality" - Vaclav Havel
> 
> 
> 
> 
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> 
> 
> -- 
> Lina Srivastava
> --
> linasrivastava.com  |  twitter  |  linkedin 
> 
> 

- --------------------------------------
Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb

IO91XM / www.ei8fdb.org

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