Breaking the Rules on Google+ Gets You Google -

Google+ may be a brand-new service, but there has already been at least one case of a user breaking the rules and getting the banhammer.

Google, in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, requires its users to be at least 13 years old. Last week, Alex, a 10-year-old boy from the Netherlands, created an account on the Google+ social network. Google promptly responded with a punishment after he entered his date of birth.

In return for violating the terms of service for the social network, the boy was kicked off of all Google services, and, as his father wrote in a blog post, will have his account across all services deleted within a month unless he can provide some proof of being old enough to use the services.

"Alex was in tears," his father wrote. "He uses email to keep in touch with his grandparents, who live in California and Scotland... Google is basically just going to delete his last two years of email messages (they don't offer any way to log in and export his messages), and plans to cut him off from his family until he turns 13."

"Just because no-one reads the Terms of Service, doesn't mean that they don't apply. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law," he wrote. "But seriously... Alex has been using the web since before he could [censored] read. To him, Google practically is the web."

There are two sets of rules to follow on the Google+ network: the general terms of service, which are included when signing up for any Google service, and the community standards, which are general social networking caveats such as no nudity, no hate speech, no spam/phishing, etc. If a user breaks a rule listed in either of these agreements, they are at risk for being removed from all connected services.

What do you, as a reader and possible consumer of Google products, think of the situation? Google now owns such a large part of the market that, if an event such as this were to a occur, a user may not only lose their social network account, but also several potentially vital services. As the company will only continue to expand in the future, such issues are worth considering.

Tags:  Google, Gmail, COPPA
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