Spam And Privacy Violations

from the watch-out dept

Two interesting stories about privacy issues related to spam. The first is about someone who (stupidly) responded to a spam message offering free food from KFC. From the description, it sounds like this spam was actually from one of the (just slightly) more legitimate email marketing operations out there. The person who responded to the spam hasn’t received their free coupon yet, but is receiving a lot more spam. The reporter tracked down the marketing firm responsible and discovered that they very clearly stated (in the very fine print) that by signing up for this promotion, you were giving up all rights to your private information. While it’s still unfortunate, I place part of the blame on the person who was suckered by the thought of “free crispy strips”. However, what happens when, even if you read the fine print, the company ignores it and violates your privacy anyway? That’s what happened to this ZDNet reporter who had ordered a battery from – a company with a TRUSTe seal and guarantees to safeguard their users’ privacy. However, nearly a year after buying the battery, it appears that disregarded their own privacy policy and sold his name to a magazine publisher. claims that they sent out an “opt-out” email, but considering it was a year after the purchase and was “opt-out” instead of “opt-in”, it certainly raises some questions. The reporter looked closely at the issues and spoke with people at TRUSTe – and it certainly looks like they violated the TRUSTe privacy policy that’s required to keep the logo on their site. As the reporter points out, no matter how much he likes the magazine, the site should have erred on the side of caution and protected their customers’ privacy. Since they’ve decided not to, they will no longer receive any of his business (or mine).

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