Patterico Criticizes Google; Gets Locked Out of Gmail; UPDATE: At Least 8 Nitecruzr Critics Were Locked Out of Gmail; UPDATE: Make that 9!
I collected several examples of people getting locked out of their Google accounts in the last 24 hours after criticizing nitecruzr on the Althouse support thread. The people include Althouse commenters EnigmatiCore and Dead Dog Bounce, as well as Hoystory — and Aaron.
All of whom, as it happens, left criticism on the Google support page for Althouse’s blog.
The cretin who insulted her and then deleted his taunts from the support thread, nitecruzr, is still acting on Google’s behalf even today. Commenter Dustin left a link to a thread where nitecruzr was acting as a Google support person. I went and left a comment there, noting that he was still there even after yesterday’s debacle — and essentially challenging him to disable my account too:
The comment has since been removed:
But I had now marked myself as another person who criticized nitecruzr on a Google forum page. And guess what? The very next time I tried to access my Gmail, I got this message:
That’s just what happened to the four other people who criticized Google or nitecruzr.
They want me to provide a cell phone number. That’s what Aaron, and Hoystory, and Dead Dog Bounce, and EnigmatiCore all did. Me, I went and left a support ticket with a different e-mail address, because I wasn’t thrilled about giving them a cell phone number. I have not heard back yet.
I rely on Gmail, so I’ll probably hand over the cell phone number if necessary. But I don’t like it. And I would strongly advise people who don’t already rely on Gmail to explore different options.
Since I am locked out of my Google account, I also cannot access Google Reader:
How’s that Google Chromebook sounding? The new device where you rely on Google to store all your data?
Now, since bringing this up on a related thread, I had one commenter (Beldar) suggest that this is happening because of Google’s recent Blogger outage, or some related reason. I asked for examples of people who, within the last 24 hours, were asked for their phone number. I am especially interested in anyone who was asked in the last 24 hours.
One commenter, Dana, said she was asked for her cell phone number, but she was able to hit a link called “save and continue” and bypass the question. A couple of other commenters reported being asked for a cell phone number, but have not yet answered my question as to whether they were REQUIRED to provide a cell phone number to restore their Google account. Dana, who didn’t criticize Google, was not required to hand over the cell phone number. I was.
I am convinced that Google has given this fellow nitecruzr the authority to flag accounts and require them to hand over cell phone numbers. (And if, instead, they are just asking for cell phone numbers wholesale, that’s a concern as well.)
Google, do something about this clown. GIve me back my Gmail without making me give you more personal information of mine.
In short: don’t be evil, Google.
UPDATE: A sixth person, B.E., has written to say that he too was locked out of his account. It is important to understand that the six of us — Aaron Worthing, Dead Dog Bounce, Hoystory, B.E., EnigmatiCore, and me — were all told that unusual activity had been detected on our accounts. We were required to give up our cell phone numbers to regain access. There was no “save and continue” option or other way to bypass the requirement. I even rebooted my computer and cleared my cache, and was unable to get into Gmail.
Other people have said Google asked for their cell phone numbers recently. But the six of us are different. We were required to give up a cell number.
And each one of us had criticized nitecruzr.
That’s strong circumstantial evidence that he flagged our accounts. We were disabled from accessing our e-mail because we criticized this guy’s rudeness and dishonesty.
That’s a real problem, Google. The word is spreading.
What are you going to do about it?
UPDATE x2: Two more: jpr9954 and AngelaTC. We’re 8 for 8 so far.
UPDATE x3: Make that 9. LilacSunday was locked out too.
UPDATE x4: Upon further discussion with LilacSunday, she wasn’t actually “locked out” because she had already given her recovery information some weeks or months earlier. After criticizing nitecruzr, she was asked to confirm those recovery options, and did.