July 28, 2011, 12:15 PM — It seems like lots of people have been tossed out of Googleville on their keisters lately. Many found themselves the victim of Google+’s silly name policies, which frown on pseudonyms or nicknames. Some got bounced for other reasons.
But no expulsion from Google was quite so dramatic or potentially disastrous as the one experienced by NYC artist Dylan Marcheschi, whose plight – which he publicized under the Twitter pseudonym “@ThomasMonopoly” – went viral last week.
Marcheschi had the last seven years of his digital life stored on various Google services, and he lost access to all of it two weeks ago when Google mysteriously killed his account and refused to tell him why.
Two days ago, as public pressure on Google to explain itself mounted, Marcheschi found out why. A Google bot that automatically scans Picasa for illegal images flagged something Marcheschi had posted as child pornography. And that was all she wrote – goodbye Gmail, Blogger, Calendar, Docs, photos, and all the rest.
In other words, don't store any data on Google's services (or anybody else's). I've got an Android phone but I'm not using gmail, gdocs, gcalendar, picasa, etc. Only the search enginge and gmaps. I feel safer storing my data on my hardware and backing it up daily (ok, I've got some videos on youtube but who cares if I lose them).
It turns out that the image he posted, though admittedly disturbing, was not technically porn. In fact, he says his reason for posting the image – to a collection he curated called “The Evolution of Sex” -- was to make a point about how you can post images of minors being sexualized without breaking any laws. (Marcheschi says Google deleted the image, he has no other copy, and doesn’t remember where he found it on the InterWebs, so there’s no way to judge for yourself.)
Luckily for Marcheschi, a Google human stepped in, determined that Dylan was not a kiddie porn merchant, and turned his account back on.