Barnes & Noble Claims That Public User Names Are Private Info; Refuses To Restore Blog With Comments
from the huh? dept
We’ve linked to the Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC) blog on Pixiq.com many times in the past. To be honest, I had no idea that the site was actually owned by Barnes and Noble — I had assumed that it was just an independent blogging operation. It turns out, however, that B&N hired Carlos Miller, who had written PINAC as an independent blog, and “moved” the blog to Pixiq two years ago. However, it recently chose not to renew his contract, and agreed to transfer the blog back to being independent. Except… that now it’s claiming that it cannot transfer all of the comments on the site because that would somehow violate B&N’s privacy policies (note that link goes to PINAC at Pixiq… but I have no idea where it will go in a week when the “transfer” takes place). At best, B&N says it can transfer the comments but only as “anonymous.”
But when I protested, Pixiq attorney Gillian Berman said they would make an exception in my case and migrate the comments, but turn every username into “anonymous,” which would make every single comment over the last two years appear to have been left the same person.
This makes no sense. We’re not talking about handing private info over to a third party, but the actual names that people chose to display publicly. Perhaps B&N would have an argument if there’s concern about transferring email addresses or IP address info with the comments — but even that seems like a stretch. People commented on a blog. Transferring the entire blog to a different site doesn’t change any of that — but it’s especially stupid when it comes to public info like commenters’ chosen display names.
It seems like the only explanation I can figure out is that B&N is being incredibly lazy here, and doesn’t want to do the bare minimum amount of work to return the blog to Carlos. We’ve seen a few other blogs “join” different sites in the past, and it seems worth highlighting how the separation can create ridiculous problems like this when a big company decides to make claims that just don’t make any sense.