Ares Rights Gets EFF Lawyer Suspended From Twitter For Posting Mild Criticism

from the really-now? dept

We've written a few times now (including just recently) about the Spanish firm Ares Rights, whose sole purpose and job in this world appears to be to abuse any and all systems to take down content to try to hide content that either Ares Rights or its clients dislike. Mainly, the takedowns seem to focus on the interests of what appears to be its main client, the government of Ecuador, and its main tool is totally bogus DMCA notices, that too many companies follow without looking at the details.

However, Ares Rights also has a history of abusing takedowns to try to hide negative information about itself. And apparently, it will abuse other tools as well, such as Twitter's policy on shutting down accounts for abuse.

Daniel Nazer is a lawyer for EFF (focusing mostly on patent issues). Last week, he found out that his Twitter account had been shut down. Eventually, he was allowed back into the account, but was told he could only reopen the account if he agreed to delete a tweet. Which tweet? One in which he referenced Ares Rights and linked to an email exchange he'd had with the head of Ares Rights, Jon Palma. As background, Nazer explained how, back in 2014, he had tweeted negatively about Ares Rights, (accurately) calling what the company engages in as "copyfraud." Palma, apparently misunderstood Nazer's tweet, thinking that it was in support of Ares Rights, and emailed Daniel asking for business advice. Nazer posted the content of that email:


There are all sorts of levels of ridiculousness here, from Palma misunderstanding Nazer's tweet, to the fact that he filed an abuse complaint with Twitter, to Twitter's decision to disable Nazer's account. Someone from Twitter who saw me discussing this (on Twitter, naturally), reached out to point to Twitter's policy on private information posted on Twitter. This is the policy that's supposed to allow Twitter to shut down accounts of people doxxing someone, posting credit cards, harassing people, or posting revenge porn or whatnot. And it seems likely that the folks at Twitter would argue that Nazer's original screenshot of the email revealed Palma's "non-public" email address. If that's the case, even then it seems like a stretch. In context, it's clearly not for the sake of "doxxing" or harassing Palma, and it's unlikely that anyone actually looked at the original screenshot and decided to angrily email Palma.

Twitter claims that it "may consider the context and nature of the information posted," but it's hard to see how that was the case this time. In the end, things worked out, and Ares Rights, yet again, looks like a horrible, censorious, thin-skinned bully. But it's a bit disappointing that Twitter was willing to help the company along in that endeavor.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 9:58am

    Copyfraud policy

    For people and companies that are known to use DMCA for abusive purposes, shouldn't there be a process for banning them from social media and preventing them from submitting further harassment? If they can be shown to have a pattern of lies and abuse, then you don't have to listen to their garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:06am

    Twitter finding more ways to beg someone else to come disrupt them.

    Censorious douche screams jump and Twitter mindlessly jumps again. How dare you show people what I said to you!!! Lock him out and force him to bend to my will!!

    Twitter no longer has any guidelines that make sense, and most "policies" seem to be driven by will this somehow make us look bad if we don't jump on it soon enough.

    I look forward to Twitter trying to explain why this happened, but then having seen someone who sets policy for twitter siding with a 'foriegn correspondent' who couldn't figure out if the DPRK twitter feed was real or not and chiding them for not clearly marking themselves as parody.
    Someone paid to watch news outlets couldn't spot the parody... and expects Twitter to punish them for his failure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:15am

    Unless I am missing something, the image only reveals an alias, not an actual email address.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Arthur Moore (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:16am

    Twitter done goofed

    Yeah, pick a fight with the EFF. That's how good publicity is made.

    I'd be surprised if the mod that suspended the account doesn't at least have a reprimand quietly put in his/her file. The stupidity isn't quite to the level of suspending Trump's account, but in terms of possible backlash it's pretty close.

    See, for example, T-Mobile's CEO bashing the EFF for what could happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Doodmonkey, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:25am

    no public email address

    I've worked in IT for almost 20 years now and the notion of a non public email address always baffled me. What is a non-public email address? Can a telephone number be non-public? Can your street address be non-public?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    Meh. Twitter is for Twits. Always has been.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:50am

    Strange. The guy writes to him in English and he responds in Spanish? (And in pretty good Spanish, too; that doesn't look like it came out of Google Translate.)

    Translation:

    Abusing copyright to censor the Internet is not good business. Maybe you should do something else.

    It would also be a good idea to learn about sarcasm and what "copyfraud" means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 10:52am

    Twitter...is not your friend

    Twitter exists to make money, and ONLY to make money. And it will clearly do [i]anything[/i] that furthers that goal, no matter how unethical, how stupid, how abusive, how opposed to its own policies that thing is. In this case, placating Ares Rights -- a corporation -- instead of respecting the speech of an EFF attorney is an obvious move.

    There are all kinds of well-meaning but naive people -- e.g., activists -- who think that Twitter is a communications platform for their message. It's not. It's a profit center, and the moment that activists' messages threaten profits, they will be censored/suspended/deleted. There equally-naive people who think that Twitter will defend their speech. They won't. Twitter will roll over for any government that asks, either disabling accounts or handing over private data/metadata on demand.

    Twitter is not your friend: it's just as evil, just as dangerous, just as anti-speech and pro-greed as Facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 12:03pm

    That's a reason to ask someone to repost the image with the email addy redacted. And maybe block the tweet in the meantime.

    But that reason is probably made up anyway, and almost certainly not what the lawyer said when he complained to Twitter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Daniel Nazer, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    Palma and his crappy company are both Spanish. See http://adamsteinbaugh.com/2013/06/28/spanish-firm-abusing-copyright-to-censor-spying-documents-has-t ies-to-ecuadors-government/

    I've lived in South America and am always happy to practice the language, even when corresponding with serial DMCA abusers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Nic, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 3:58pm

    I'm looking at that picture of the email and I just don't see an email address in there. I see a name but that's pretty much it. I'm sure one could find out the email address of that person if there's a specific naming process for email addresses at that company but unless you're familiar with it, tough luck.

    How twitter found that abusive is beyond me. Some dolt must have clicked a button without actually reading the tweet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Whatever (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 4:15pm

    Twitter sort of blew it here, but then again, the EFF laywer dude also pretty much failed at his attempted trolling. You would think a lawyer would know better than to do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Bergman (profile), Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Copyfraud policy

    There should be, but there isn't. Anyone attempting to impose a non-governmental fix along those lines negates their own safe harbor and opens themselves up to costly lawsuits that they will most likely lose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2016 @ 11:17pm

    Re: no public email address

    Telephone numbers can indeed be non-public, by not having them listed in the telephone directory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2016 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: no public email address

    Unlisted does not equal non-public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, Feb 4th, 2016 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    Whatever, you spend enough time on TD to know that lawyers have a rather snarky sense of humour that they're not afraid to deploy, particularly when they're dealing with idiots. Whether you want to call it trolling or not, the results are usually hilarious.

    I think Twitter should have known better; nothing that Nazer did here broke any rules.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2016 @ 9:48am

    Re: no public email address

    I've worked in IT for almost 20 years now and the notion of a non public email address always baffled me.

    It's over-reaction to spam and malware caused by the idiotic behavior of Microsoft's implementation of email clients and attachment handling. When bad guys can successfully attack your computer simply by attaching malware to an email, foolishness like hiding your email address from the vast majority of the world begins to look like a plausible reaction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    tqk (profile), Feb 4th, 2016 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    ... the EFF laywer dude also pretty much failed at his attempted trolling.

    I thought he did a great job. Look at the result. Ares' bullying copyfraud behavior is yet again dragged through the mud on multiple Internet news sites and blogs, and manages to trash Twitter's abusive policies as well. I'm looking forward to the next time it happens.
    You would think a lawyer would know better than to do that.

    Ha, ha, good one. Oh, you're not serious, are you? I can't recall any stupid lawyers working for the EFF.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2016 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: no public email address

    It does mean 'not publicly available' though. With judicious care a telephone number can be contained to a limited audience, and if you forsake incoming calls an unlisted number can totally be private.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Tcaud, Feb 4th, 2016 @ 11:49pm

    Time for an alternative

    I considered leaving Facebook... it just wasn't feasible. Like it or not, Facebook is an institution.

    Twitter is not. I'd probably tweet more if I had an alternative.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft Blog, Feb 5th, 2016 @ 12:35am

    Re: Re:

    Well you should have known better than to try and rip off people and then silence them on pissed consumer

    https://wendycockcroftblog.wordpress.com/

    We want our money back

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    tqk (profile), Feb 5th, 2016 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Time for an alternative

    Like it or not, Facebook is an institution.

    Not. Believing that is like being proud you're a bed wetter. Modern kids are embarrassed their parents use it.

    Add in the Zuckerberg back story, and you start to verge on Microsoftian level evil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2016 @ 1:39am

    Re: Re:

    twitto

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
New And For A Limited Time

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.