The Volkspad… Ouch!

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


Now We Know Why The City Never Sleeps


Now we know why The Citi Never Sleeps: they are busy censoring their customers. If you are a Citibank customer and they dislike your blog, you may just get in trouble.  (Disclosure: I do have a Citi account… so am taking a risk by writing this post.)

That’s just what happened to fabulis, a social network for gay men. Someone at Citi read their blog, decided that “content was not in compliance with Citibank’s standard policies” and froze their business account without advance warning.   Fabulis Founder Jason Goldberg says:

for the life of us we can’t find anything “objectionable” on our blog besides some good humor, some business insights, and some touching coming out stories from some great and fabulis gay people.

fabulis-underwear Some speculate it’s images like that of this underwear with fabulis printed on it.  If you ask me, these are not the most fabulis [sic] briefs, but who cares?

In fact it really doesn’t matter whether the fabulis blog has any “objectionable” material or not.  Since when is it the business of a bank to read and censor their Client’s writing?

I’m pinching myself, thinking it’s a bad dream.  But it’s not.  This happened in the United Sates in 2010.

Something tells me within hours as management wakes up, Citi will be bending over backwards to dig themselves out of this huge PR nighmare – the damage is done, repairs will be costly.

In the meantime, enjoy Fabulis (almost) by Amanda Lear.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


Your Honor, You’re Clueless. (Judge Orders Google to Shut Down Email Account)

Rocky Mountain Bank might as well be called Royal Sc***up Bank.  An employee emailed loan documentation to the wrong email address.  Bad, but not unseen mistake. However, he also mistakenly attached documents that should not have been sent to anyone in the first place:

The attachment contained confidential information on 1,325 individual and business customers that included their names, addresses, tax identification or Social Security numbers and loan information.

After unsuccessful attempts at contacting the recipient, the Bank asked Google to reveal the account holder’s identity, only to learn Google will not do so without a court order (as per Privacy rules).

On Wednesday U.S. District Court Judge James Ware in California issued an order that requires Google to reveal the user’s identity.  But he did not stop there: he also ordered Google to inactivate the Gmail account in question.  Let’s just say at this point nobody knows if the account is even active (the owner did not respond to bank emails).  It could be dormant, a black hole where all the mistakenly sent bank documents disappeared.

Or it could be a real live email account, one that the owner’s every day life, business depends on.  Losing one’s email account is a serious disruption.

“It’s outrageous that the bank asked for this, and it’s outrageous that the court granted it,” says John Morris, general counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “What right does the bank have and go suspend the email account of a completely innocent person?”

I wonder if the judge realized what he just did.  You see, I meet people day by day in good old-fashioned professions whose life does not depend on email access.  To them email is still a once-a-week affair to communicate with remote friends and relatives. Sadly, most physicians fall in this category.  Oh, and I knew a high-tech VP who had his email printed by his assistant…   Perhaps His Honor belongs in this group, too, and really had no clue about the harsh consequences of shutting down one’s email unknown?

By the way, what exactly is being protected by killing that email account?  If the account owner intended to use the information in any way, it could have been downloaded by now.

But most likely, it’s just an innocent and busy person with heavy email traffic (like yours truly), who sometimes does not get to open unsolicited email from unknown persons for days or weeks.

20th century justice in action – again.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


Happy New Year

The Land of Oz is already in 2008. Too bad they ring in the new year with a controversy over government censorship. Good intentions aside, letting Big Brother grow on people is never a good idea. Governments can not, and should not take over the family’s responsibility. It’s a slippery road… governments by their very nature tend to expand: porn filtering today, political views tomorrow – we know where it leads.

If you are a parent, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, YOU (and not the government) have the joy and responsibility of bringing the children to a safe and better world. That’s my parting thought for 2007, and I wish you a prosperous, peaceful, Happy New Year with a shot of the NYE fireworks from the beautiful city of Sydney:

(photo credit: Christopher Chan)

Update: enjoy this video of the Sydney NYE 2007/08 Fireworks (it’s a two-part clip, please wait a few seconds at the end of the first):