Invitations that have been system-generated from web sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ are not only irritating but can give you jail time as well.
Thomas Gagnon of Massachusetts began organising his Google+ circles. Unfortunately for him, Google+ sent an invitation to his ex partner. Not a problem? Well in his case, it was enough grounds for her to call the police.
A restraining order against Gagnon forbids him from having any contact with her, including Google+. This was just the contact she did not want. She quickly called the police and they agreed that it violated the restraining order. He was promptly put in a holding cell and was fined $500.
Gagnon argues that he did not intend to send the invite nor was he even aware that one was sent on his behalf, which is perfectly plausible! Many web services do not actively notify us when acting on our behalf.
LinkedIn has also found themselves in trouble a few times for their emailing practices. Gagnon’s case could result in some uncomfortable pressure on Google.
Privacy advocates argue that big web companies like Google are way out of line when they act on users’ behalf without them knowing. Even though this is mentioned in user agreements (which most of us click without ever reading), this may not be enough to get Google off of the proverbial hook.
Complaints about system-generated invites have been made since 2012 but they are obviously falling upon deaf cyber ears. However, Gagnon’s case may be just the thing that makes companies sit up and listen literally.
Why is it so difficult for companies to put an option for us to click whether or not we want invites to go out? It would save them a whole lot of headache in the future.
[Image via foxbusiness]