ITEM: I have another blog where I have been posting links to other folk's ocean shoreline photography at flickr.com. It's perfectly legal, as per the rules of flickr and blogger. But some kid at blogger came up with an algorithm to catch "spam-bloggers," i.e., folks who were filling up the blogspace with unedifying advertisements in the form of blogs. My blog got caught up in the dragnet. I was posting lots of really neat pictures of shorelines, with simple if not vapid comments about each one. Check out the site yourself if you want. Apparently, I was doing something similar to what spam-bloggers do. Off went my head. It took over a week and two emails to get it resolved.
I wasn't too bothered until I saw blogger's blog getting a little too triumphant over their action. They mention how they are taking actions to prevent further false positives.
It gives me some pause to think about how the Big Two internet companies are so willing to implement a "shoot first, answer emails a week later" policy to catch bad guys. As we commit more and more of our daily life to the internet, is this becoming increasingly dangerous? Our medical plan is sending us email acknowledgements of prescriptions filled by mail order. What if the request were to be made by email, and we lost our account because we were caught up in the dragnet of some kid's presumptuous data mining at gmail or Yahoo! mail??
This whole experience gives me renewed appreciation for the victims of racial profiling. (Not that as a white male, I haven't experienced mutiple cases of being judged on the basis of my physical appearance, at least twice with threats of physical violence on account of the judging.) Your car gets stopped, your email account gets deleted, your hospital gets shut down, your city gets bombed, your father ends up in Abu Ghraib, all because someone did some bad guy did or looked or was standing somewhere similar to what you were doing.
He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."