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

Jillian C. York jilliancyork at gmail.com
Wed Aug 1 13:26:49 PDT 2012


Hey y'all,

*Simon* - I'm totally with you that Twitter's been leaps and bounds ahead
of other companies in this space in terms of policy and transparency (and said
as much to the NYT<http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/twitter-gets-a-backlash-of-its-own-over-adams-suspension/>yesterday).
 And I know I'm arguing in black and white - ultimately,
though, Twitter either needs to remove that sentence in their Rules or do
better due diligence on reports like these.  And I still think an appeals
system is needed - not everyone is as high profile as Guy Adams...for
example, the "curation rotation" account for Singapore went down for *more
than a week* recently because of an erroneous or malicious spam report.

*Bernard* - I get where you're coming from, I just do truly believe (and
perhaps because I know and trust a lot of their staff) that Twitter is
"different."  Their track record has been pretty great too - standing up
for users in court, etc. (see: https://www.eff.org/pages/who-has-your-back/)

*Surely arguing against unfair Ts & Cs is something the Internet community
should be doing?*

Absolutely, but I don't think that's a legal question.  Have you read
Rebecca MacKinnon's excellent work on this question?  If not, I think you'd
find it interesting.  I tend to agree with her POV on this.


Best,
Jillian

On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:45 AM, Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb
<ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org>wrote:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> 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 do, we have rescinded it."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:
> > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> > Hash: SHA1
> >
> > 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:
> > > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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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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> > liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
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> >
> >
> > --
> > Lina Srivastava
> > --
> > linasrivastava.com  |  twitter  |  linkedin
> >
> >
>
> - --------------------------------------
> 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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