It seems that as we move into the 21st century, people are (as was predicted
by many) being relegated to the status of mere numbers or identifiers.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
For example -- my power company used to be PowerNZ but it seems that, as a
customer, I've been sold to On Energy. Nobody asked me if I wanted to be
switched to another supplier, I was just one of hundreds of thousands of
people who became simply a record in a computer file that was handed over
from one company to another.
Now, it would appear, those who handed over their email addresses to the
online marketer E-force, are in a similar situation.
the registered users database of names and email addresses collected by
E-force has attracted the interest of "several parties."
Creditors of the failed company, and the liquidators or receivers acting
for them, will naturally want to recover as much value from the company's
assets as possible -- but what about the rights of those whose names/addresses
are in that database?
What if the database is sold to a company that decides to spam the hell out of
the people on that list?
If your name is on that list, do you have any rights other than the right
to complain if you get spammed?
Given the fragility of Net-based businesses and the value ascribed to
qualified email lists, it might pay you to think twice before you sign up to
any similar ventures in future -- who knows what will happen to your data
if/when such a company goes bust.
Telecom Stays Quiet And Banks The Cash
It's good to see that IDG have picked up on a story I first covered in this
column back in May,
and then again
just a week ago.
The IDG story
says "switching the modem off is the only way to avoid getting billed
for downloads you don't want" -- which is kind of confusing -- since
it also states "Telecom recommends users of its JetStream DSL
always-on high speed internet connection deploy a
firewall to protect themselves while surfing, but it
will still charge users who are the victims of a denial
of service (DOS) attack because of the way it bills
If my understanding of the issues is correct, those DSL users who have a
dynamic IP number will be safe if they turn their modems off -- but those
with a static IP number won't.
Perhaps this is why Telecom offer their bandwidth-limited JetStart DSL option with
dynamic IP and no per-MB charges for residential users?
Have they figured out that it would be cheaper to provide a non-capped service
for such users than to repeatedly argue the toss when unexpected volume charges
appear on the account each month as a result of external probes or DOS attacks?
Also, despite looking around the
for some time this morning, I could see no advisory from Telecom that users
turn off their DSL modems when not in use.
Surely, given that they have
acknowledged the problem of DOS attacks racking up charges against a user's
account, they should include this warning -- or is it all just money in the
bank for them?
That "Sinister" Windows Tracking File
The NZ Herald leads today's online edition (and maybe the print one?)
with a story exposing the existence of a hidden "sinister" file that
tracks PC users' Internet activity.
This seems to be an artifact of Windows Internet Explorer and something
which Microsoft claim is a "problem" -- which is a euphemism for what I wonder?
But hey folks -- the answer is (and always has been) very simple:
If you want to avoid walking around with a virtual "kick-me" sign on your
PC, escape most of the perils of booby-trapped emails, and avoid the
"sinister" history files -- ditch IE and Outlook.
Get yourself a browser such as
Opera and free yourself
from the IE death-trap.
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