Collecting Data on Users Suspended or Banned/Terminated by Twitter

Have you ever had your Twitter account suspended or banned/terminated, either temporarily or permanently? If so I’d appreciate hearing from you, to better understand how equitably Twitter enforces its own Terms of Service.

Please submit your relevant Twitter experiences via the form at:

Information submitted there will only be made public for related reports in aggregate form with other submissions and/or anonymously, unless you indicate that you are willing to be identified publicly.

Thanks very much for your assistance with this effort!


Privacy Pinheads: The Staggering Stupidity of Trump’s Voter Commission

UPDATE (1 July 2017): Trump Voting Commission vice chairman Kobach — who himself was fined $1000 by a judge about a week ago for misleading a court on a voting-related matter — is now reportedly claiming that data sent to the commission (the email address option provided for that purpose apparently doesn’t even currently use basic STARTTLS email encryption!), will be stored on a “secure” server and won’t be made public. This assertion directly contradicts the letter sent to states, which specifically says that the data will be made public! As for a “secure” federal server … give me a break! That data will be in the hands of Russia and China, and up for sale on the Darknet for identity fraud, faster than you can say “Trump University.”

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Across the political spectrum, states are refusing to cooperate with the voter information request from Trump’s White House Voter Commission. As of yesterday, at least 25 states — including one that’s the home state of a commission member — are refusing the request in whole or part. 

Trump is upset. “What are they trying to hide?” he’s ranting. And for once in his damned life he’s right — but not for the reasons his micro-brain postulates. It’s actually not at all about Trump’s voter fraud fantasies, it’s all about basic privacy.

These states are indeed trying hide something — they’re trying to hide the private information of their citizens from the massive privacy abuses that would occur if that data were turned over to the commission!

I’ve been running my PRIVACY Forum mailing list — — here on the Internet continuously for a quarter century. In that time, I’ve seen a wide range of privacy issues and problems — from the relatively trivial to the mind-blowingly disastrous. 

But (to paraphrase the great composer and playwright Meredith Willson), I’ve never seen anything in terms of sheer bang beat, bell ringing, big haul, great go, neck or nothin’, rip roarin’ stupidity in the privacy realm that rises to the level of the Trump commission data request. 

Let’s see what they asked for from all 50 states (and to be delivered within 16 days, by the way):

  • Full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials
  • Addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Political party
  • Last four digits of social security number
  • Voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward
  • Active/inactive status or cancelled status
  • Information regarding any felony convictions
  • Information regarding voter registration in another state
  • Information regarding military status
  • Overseas citizen information.

And they note:

Please be aware that any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.

Bozo’s nose is flashing red! The privacy abuse meter just pinned over against the right-hand peg in the danger zone! The self-destruct announcement lady has started her countdown!

The commission’s request is insanity. And their offhand mentioning that the data will be made public (perhaps to encourage “vigilante” actions using that data?) takes that insanity and accelerates it to warp speed.

It’s truly mind-boggling. Much of that data is exactly the sorts of information that are primary fodder for privacy abuses. How often are you asked for your date of birth or last four digits of your SSN to identify yourself? Yeah, one hell of a lot!

And contrary to what the supporters of this outrageous data request are now asserting, much of that data is not public in the first place, and has specific usage and distribution restrictions placed on it by state laws when it is made available. Making that data openly available in the manner that the commission describes would in many cases be a direct violation of law. Lock them up!

For example, here in California, Title 2, Division 7, Article 1 section 19005 of the California Administrative Code specifies that:

No person who obtains registration information from a source agency shall make any such information available under any terms, in any format, or for any purpose, to any person without receiving prior written authorization from the source agency. The source agency shall issue such authorization only after the person to receive such information has executed the written agreement set forth in Section 19008.

And the code further specifies the specific ways that data obtained under this section can and cannot be used, which obviously could not be enforced under the commission’s public data dump paradigm.

The manners in which this kind of data could be abused — both by the federal government and by anyone else who gained unrestricted access to this trove after the commission made it public — would be immense. Not only are the individual information elements subject to abuse, but the ways in which this data could be combined with other personal data from other sources creates a privacy nightmare deluxe. 

If a private firm proposed to handle personal data this way, they’d be crucified.

There are of course many reasons to suspect — and various states have been saying this in no uncertain terms — that the real purpose of Trump’s commission is to devise new mechanisms for the GOP to deploy for voter suppression. I agree with this analysis.

But leaving that aside — purely from a privacy abuse standpoint the commission’s data request is beyond stupid, beyond inane, beyond dangerous — but indeed what we might have expected from a commission working for this particular Commander-in-Chump.

The states are right to push back hard against the commission’s utterly intolerable data request. And the mere fact that such an inept, idiotic, and privacy busting request was made in the first place is yet another proof that Trump’s Voter Commission is just another inept Donald Trump fraud.


How Governments Are Screwing Us by Censoring Google

Today the Canadian Supreme Court ordered Google to remove search results that the Court doesn’t feel should be present. The court demands that Google remove those results not just for Canadian users, but for the entire planet. That’s right, Canada has declared itself a global Google censor.

I’ve been predicting for many years this move toward global censorship imposed by domestic governments. I suspected all along that attempts by Google to mollify government censorship demands through the use of geoblocking would never satisfy countries that have the sweet taste of censorship already in their authoritarian mouths — no matter if they’re ostensibly democracies or not. Censorship is like an addictive drug to governments — once they get the nose of the censorship camel under the tent, the whole camel will almost always follow in short order.

The EU has been pushing in the global censorship direction for ages with their awful “Right To Be Forgotten.” Countries like France, China, and Russia have been even more explicit regarding their desires for worldwide censorship powers. And frankly, it’s likely that nearly every nation will begin making the same sorts of demands once the snowball is really rolling — even here in the USA if politicians and courts can devise practical end runs around the First Amendment.

The ramifications are utterly clear. It’s a horrific race to the lowest common denominator bottom of censorship, with ever escalating demands for global removal of materials that any given government finds objectionable or simply inconvenient to the current president, or prime minister, or king, or whomever.

Ultimately, the end result is likely to be vast numbers of Google Searches that return nothing but blank white pages no matter where in the world that you reside.

My dream solution to such global censorship demands would be cutting off those countries from associated Google services. With enough righteous indignation, perhaps we could get Facebook, Twitter, and other major platforms to join the club.

I tend to doubt that these firms would have too much to worry about from a financial standpoint in this regard. The perhaps billions of users suddenly cut off from Google Search and their daily fixes of social media are unlikely to tolerate the situation for very long.

Short of this approach, there are other possible ways to fight back against global censorship. Feel free to ask me about them.

I’ve actually gone into much more detail about all of this in those many past posts that I alluded to above, and I’m not going to try dig out the numerous links for them here. Stuff my name into the Google Search bar along with terms like “censorship” or “right to be forgotten” and you’ll get a plethora of relevant results.

That is, until some government orders those search results to be removed globally from Google.

Be seeing you. I hope.


Massive Fine Against Google: The EU’s Hypocrisies Exposed

The best phrase that immediately comes to mind regarding the European Union’s newly announced $2.7 billion fine against Google is “A giant load of bull.” Google is far from perfect, but the EU has a long history of specious claims against Google, and this is yet another glaring example.

EU politicians and bureaucrats — among the most protectionist and hypocritical on the planet — see Google as a giant piggy bank, an unlimited ATM machine. The EU wants the easy money, rather than admitting that so many of their own business models are stuck in the 20th (or in some cases the 19th!) century.

The EU is demanding “search equality” — but there’s nothing wrong with Google’s search result rankings, which exist to best serve Google users, not the EU government’s self-serving agenda.

And that’s the key: Where are all the ordinary Google users complaining about Google’s shopping search results rankings? You can’t find those users, because anyone who prefers using non-Google sites is absolutely able to do so at any time. Google services rank so highly in search because users prefer them. Yep, free choice!

The European Union in its typical way is treating the citizens of its member countries like children, who it feels are so ignorant that Big Mommy EU has to dictate how they use the Internet. Disgusting.

I find myself increasingly thinking that we may have more to fear from EU control of the Net than we would from even Russia or China. At least the leaders of those latter two countries are pretty upfront about their attitudes toward the Internet, however totalitarian they might be.

But the EU has its own authoritarian, “information control” mindset as well, in their case painted over with a thin and rotting veneer of faked liberalism.

When actions are taken against Google like what has happened today, the EU’s mask of respectability slips off and shatters onto the ground into a million shiny shards, revealing the EU’s true face — leering with envy and avarice for the entire world to see.