News item: Microsoft wins in lawsuit over man's lifetime ban over a sexualized meme

A Dutch man recently lost his lawsuit against Microsoft over a lifetime ban that it imposed on him when it detected him sharing a tasteless meme that included naked children:

Epic dumbass. Don’t distribute sexualized images of children even if they are “borderline”… So not really a whole lot of sympathy from me. He will likely move onto alternative account services. He thinks he’s in a “digital Siberia” because he has no idea about alternatives that are blooming as we speak that are open source. Sucks he lost all his vacation photos, but 1) don’t distribute illegal stuff, ESPECIALLY CP, 2) don’t put that kind of trust on any one company. Hopefully the douchebag in this case learned his lesson, and gotten help if it’s needed.

The CP offense aside, I’m kinda fed up with proprietary services being the dominant services in our lives. While I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him, the idea that a company can deliver literal lifetime ban from their services is quite telling. They may have the discretion to do so to people over copyright infringement or any other of less serious offenses, and even offense that may not be a crime such as hate speech. Keep that in mind. This is enough of a motivation to support open source alternatives.

Is this a case of an actual photograph, or PhotoDNA picking up a false positive?

I haven’t, of course, seen the image. But the article suggests the meme was based on a photograph.

I’m inclined to agree with that, especially given that the Netherlands are sane enough to differentiate between reality and fiction, unlike certain other countries.


Naked children is not necessarily CP afaik, although it is highly unusual for someone to be posting it. I don’t know what he expected here, but it may be a Dutch thing? If it’s sexualized, it almost certainly is.

If someone is breaking the law on my platform, why would I take the risk of keeping them on there? What sort of things have they banned him from? Owning copies of Windows? OneDrive?

The case turns partly around a technical issue (Dutch is one of my languages). What’sApp’s phone app does indeed tend to insert any photo someone shows you into your collection, wherever it is. A friend was sending me daily updates on a weird Staph aureus blister he had on his hand and I had to go into my photo collection and delete all these ugly things after the lesion had healed up and the story was over. Microsoft in this case was claiming that Dhr. Slurink must have re-shared the joke meme because only that would have activated photoDNA. He’s saying he never reacted to the image and wasn’t aware it was there.

There may also be something of clash between old national and new international cultures there. The meme was bawdy humour rather than erotica, showing a photo of an old man at the beach with a photobomb in the background of two playing kids whose positions in the freeze-frame happened somehow to coincidentally suggest sexuality. Dutch culture is traditionally more blase and frank about sexuality than the internationally dominant English culture, and the country has many clothing-optional beaches. I bet this story was an eye-opener for many that non-erotic things they would never imagine could be considered porno would be taken as such by the court. It may be time for museums to get a felt marker and touch up those old renaissance Breughel paintings with the wild folk party scenes before someone gets hurt.

Anyways, if you wouldn’t give your family photo albums to Walmart to store in their warehouse, don’t give your photos to online services to store in their clouds. They don’t care about you.