Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Tyranny, If You Ask Me!

Darth Vader Lightsaber

Wednesday or Thursday of last week, I noticed that the comments I was posting on other peoples' blogs were disappearing almost as soon as they posted. I'd heard other people murmuring about various Blogger problems, including the inability to comment, so I figured I'd been hit by the same thing.

Friday night, I was again attempting to comment and the same thing happened. Then, I attempted to go to my own blog when I received a message on my screen saying the following:

Help home
Help home Unusual activity detected on your account
Because we detected unusual activity on your account, we've disabled it for the time being. In most cases, accounts are disabled because of a perceived violation of either the Google Terms of Service or product-specific Terms of Service.

To immediately regain access, follow these steps:
Sign in to your account at
Enter your phone number and choose how you want to receive a verification code (SMS or voice call)
Click Send verification code to my phone
You may need to wait up to 10 minutes to receive our SMS or voice call. Please do not request another code if the first one has not arrived. Only the most recent code requested will be accepted.
If the above process does not work, you can contact support for further assistance. Note that we will only follow up if we have more information to provide.

Read this article for more information on keeping your account secure.
Didn't receive verification email
Getting Started › Verifying Your Google Account
Creating an account
Getting started › Creating a Google Account
How a conflicting account is created
Conflicting accounts › Basics
Someone changed your password
Privacy and Security › Suspicious activity
Options for renaming your conflicting account
Conflicting accounts › Primary email address changes

Google can send you a text message if you ever forget your password. Learn more

I was completely blocked from accessing my Blogger and g-mail accounts. Now, Google had stopped me at the portal before, attempting to get my phone number before allowing me to proceed, but there was always a "decline" option. This time, clearly, they had me by the short hairs and I had no choice but to divulge my phone number if I ever wanted to access my blog -- or comment on yours -- again. To say I was pissed off would be putting it mildly. I had to give them my number and wait for them to text me with a "verification number." As soon as they had that number and sent me their little code number, why, they were as happy as pigs in slop and immediately verified that I was a human and not in violation of TOS. WHY does Google need/want/demand phone numbers? Are they planning to take over the freakin' world or something?

I went in search of some kind of "help" -- someone, somewhere who could answer my questions about what this alleged "unusual activity" was and how my (unlisted) cell phone number immediately reassured them that I was "me." The only help I could find available was a Google forum, which I had to join.

I posted this question:

I noticed yesterday that comments I made on blogs other than my own were disappearing. Tonight, I was suddenly unable to access my own blog or g-mail. Instead, when I tried to log in, I received a notification that due to "unusual activity on my account," it would be necessary for me to provide my phone number in order to receive a text message to verify my account. I did NOT want to divulge my phone number but was forced to do so in order to regain access to my blog. I had to pay for the text message, too. Once they got my phone number and sent me a text message, I was instantly "verified" and given access to my account.

What I'd like to know, but can't seem to find anywhere to ask but here, is what kind of "unusual activity" are we talking about? If I was hacked and my user name has been used to send spam or something, I believe I have a right to know about it. And how does Google know the phone number I provided for "verification purposes" wasn't the hacker's instead of my own?

Moreover, when I was able to access my blog, I found that my profile picture and a number of other images are missing, replaced with a large black box with a symbol in it. I would certainly appreciate being advised of what is going on.

As of Sunday night, I've still received no response. They did, however, display my real freakin' name on my post instead of the user name I had to sign up with. I've unsubbed from the stupid forum. The question I'm pondering now is whether to unsub from Blogger and move myself over to Word Press. If I ever Google my phone number and/or name and find that Google's handing out my name and phone number, some major poo is going to hit a big-ass fan.


Anonymous said...

it is data mining

and it most likely relates to
google's new non-privacy arrangement

but i've seen people leaving wordpress, too -- no better there

i can tell you about other things that have changed (i.e., been taken away, reduced, removed...) at google -- usefulness of these blogs is dwindling rapidly

it's the way of the world, eh?


× × ×


PS -- you should expect my call soon about this weekend ;)

Serena said...

Oh, I've noticed the things that have dwindled and/or disappeared from Google owned sites, /t. And I'm sure you're right that other sites may not be much better. Maybe we'll all get tired of blogging and go do something else.:)

P.S. -- Dang, is Darth Google handing out my number already?;)

puerileuwaite said...

Now that I have your cell number, I'll have them ease the requirement. Until next time (when you will be required to provide your ATM PIN and an ACCURATE list of turn-ons).

Serena said...

Well, I'm going to have to think about that, my little puppy. I mean, you can have the PIN; there's not enough in there to quibble over. I'm not sure you can handle my LIST, though; it's a pretty long list.;)

G-Man said...

You have a REAL name other than Sherry Magilacutty?

Serena said...

I actually do, Mr. Gee, and I'd kind of prefer it not be written on Google's bathroom wall.:)