from the data-brokers-or-broken-data? dept
Attention world: there is a problem growing and something must be done about it! Some weeks back, a story about OfficeMax sending out a letter to a customer that was addressed to "Daughter Killed in Car Crash or Current Business."
“The mailing list OfficeMax requested from the third-party provider was for Businesses, Small Offices and Home Offices,” says OfficeMax spokesperson Karen Denning by email. “NO personal information qualifiers were part of our request; we were not seeking personal information and did not ask for it. As an additional measure to prevent future mailing errors, we have upgraded the filters designed to flag inappropriate information.”Note what they're saying. They're saying that they hadn't requested personal information for this mailing list. They are not saying that the data broker does not have that information, nor are they saying that they have not, or never will, request such information. This only made readers of the story ask even more questions about who has what data on them and how that data is used in business.
Without more information about what exactly happened here, we’re left to assume that there are data brokers keeping track of parents with dead kids and that someone put an entry into the wrong spreadsheet cell, accidentally listing Seay’s tragedy in the column designated for the name of his business.On its own, the explanation that a telemarketer might note that there was a car death to denote sensitivity in sales might have sated most of the public. But, like I said: epidemic. Or at least the start of one, now that we have a similar story, one that might not be quite so easy to explain.
On Thursday, freelance writer Lisa McIntire's mother received a credit card offer from Bank of America sort of addressed to her daughter. There was one tiny difference, though, in the name; instead of Lisa McIntire, the letter was addressed to a "Lisa Is a Slut McIntire." McIntire's mother contacted her daughter via text and then sent a series of photos. McIntire, of course, was slightly disturbed and took to Twitter to share the unusual junk mail.