Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Stateside with Rosalea Barker: Hacked off

Hacked off

by Rosalea Barker
July 15, 2012

If you wonder why I haven’t been writing much lately, it’s because I can’t decide between a surfeit of things to write about, not because of a lack of them. Even trying to list some of the topics makes my brain weary, so I won’t. Instead I’ll opt for today’s bizarre interaction with a techie at the cellphone company that controls my access to Gmail pushed to my Blackberry phone.

At 8:17am last Thursday, I got a Blackberry email saying that I had to re-validate the password for my Gmail account. That’s because Gmail had invalidated it because they’d seen suspicious activity. That’s because, once upon a time, so long ago that I can’t even remember doing it, I signed up as a contributor to Associated Content. In 2010, that company was bought out by Yahoo! and the unencrypted file containing contributors’ details was posted on the Internet last week. You might have read about it.

The incensed story linked to above was published on Friday, July 13 at 5:54pm. Coincidence or not, Yahoo! finally sent me an email at 6:59pm that evening saying “This message is being sent to an email address in this compromised file.” Furthermore, “As a non-Yahoo! account holder, we apologize that we cannot provide you a direct means to secure your account.” I know this because I looked at my email on a computer, not being able to access it on my smartphone. Note that it took two days for Yahoo! to contact me.

In order to restore the email push to Blackberry, I had to go into the settings on my phone and enter my user name and password. Turns out, I have not got a clue what my user name is. And you can’t reset that information except on your phone, so the Internet help page sent me to a 1-800 number, and that led me to the conversation with the tech at the cellphone company.

I asked for my user name. He wouldn’t give it to me, and instead asked for my email password. Are you kidding me?! I’m having to go through all this because my password was compromised by hackers, and now you’re asking me to give it out over the phone? Well, I didn’t say that. Dumb and stupid as it may seem, I simply gave him the password, he reset it, and now I’m back to where things were before. That is, I will have to reset my password on Gmail and then call the tech line again and ask for my user name.

I seem to recall the user name was set up by a salesperson with whom I’d had a less than friendly encounter, so perhaps I should just try “DementedOldBat”.

::Google gives me my due::

Earlier in the week, I received a check from Google via Gilardi & Co. LLC. It is my share of a 2009 settlement that Google agreed to when some people who complained that AdWords was ripping them off took out a class action lawsuit against the company on behalf of all AdWords account holders. You can go to the website adwordscustomersettlement.com to read about the $20 million settlement.

Truth be told, I was completely unaware of the lawsuit or the settlement—or, if I was aware, had completely forgotten about it. Not surprising, since it took three years to reach a payout. And it is in the case documents that you find the reason for the delay. Back in 2009, one person—and one person alone—objected to the settlement. Matthew Weiss is, in the words of those then trying to have the court throw out his objection, “an attorney and seasoned objector to class action settlements” who stood to receive “25% of any legal fee that is given as a result of our objection and any enhancements.” (“Our”, in this context is Weiss and the other two lawyers his law company retained.) Furthermore, the objectors to Weiss’s objection claimed that Weiss wasn’t even an AdWords user.

It seems the case was dragged out because of a “scrivener’s error”. One of my favorite literary characters is Bartleby the Scrivener, whose job it was to copy out by hand legal documents. These days, of course, lawyers are their own scriveners, and it was Weiss’s own mistake that he named himself instead of his law company as the aggrieved party. Then he tried to rectify the “mistake” and that led to more appeals and counter-appeals, dragging out the settlement, which remained unchanged.

Poor Matthew. Perhaps he’d like 25 percent of my 59-cent payout as compensation.

--PEACE—

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Forgetting Citizenship: Australia Suspends Flights From India

As India is being devastated by COVID-19 cases that have now passed a daily rate of 400,000, affluent and callous Australia has taken the decision to suspend all flights coming into the country till mid-month. The decision was reached by the Morrison ... More>>

Digitl: UK Spy Chief: “The West Has To Go It Alone On Tech"

“Cybersecurity is an increasingly strategic issue that needs a whole-nation approach. The rules are changing in ways not always controlled by government. More>>

The Conversation: From Five Eyes To Six? Japan’s Push To Join The West’s Intelligence Alliance

Craig Mark , Kyoritsu Women's University As tensions with China continue to grow, Japan is making moves to join the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance. This week, Japan’s ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, told The Sydney Morning ... More>>

The Conversation: Without The Right Financial Strategies, NZ’s Climate Change Efforts Will Remain Unfinished Business

When it comes to climate change, money talks. Climate finance is critical for enabling a low-emissions transition. This involves investment and expenditure — public, private, domestic and transnational — that demonstrably contributes to climate ... More>>

Dr Terrence Loomis: Does Petroleum Industry Spying Really Matter?

Opinion: Nicky Hager’s latest revelations about security firm Thompson and Clark’s ‘spying’ on climate activists and environmental organisations on behalf of the oil and gas industry and big GHG emitters makes entertaining reading. But it does ... More>>

Mixed Sight: New Zealand, The Five Eyes And China

The Five Eyes arrangement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand has always resembled a segregated, clandestine club. Focused on the sharing of intelligence between countries of supposedly like mind, it has shown that ... More>>