Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
Privacy is a big issue on the Net and one piece of information that
many of us don't want disclosed without our permission is our email address.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
The reason is obvious -- if your address (along with 19,999,999 others) gets
onto one of those spammers' CDs then you'll soon become the target of every
Viagra, fad-diet, work from home, and porno site operator in the Western
While most local website operators are very careful to comply with the
privacy law and to uphold their own privacy claims -- the number of cases
where sheer incompetence has scuttled their best intentions appear to
Let's take the example of local free web-hosting operator
This looks like a typical free hosting service where Net users are offered
the chance to publish their web pages to the world in return for -- well
I'm not quite sure.
Anyway, there appears to be nothing wrong with the service or the offering
here -- but the operator needs to learn a little about how to use email because
they've just breached their own Terms & Conditions.
Need Cutting-Edge Copy?|
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for
extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy
to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or
Net-based publications. If you're
interested, drop me a line
The site avises: "Member grants Host-4-Free the right to disclose to
third parties certain Registration Data about Member and Service membership
in the aggregate; however, such disclosures will exclude Member's name,
mailing address, email address, account and phone number..."
yet on Friday they sent out a bulk email including what appears to be a list
of all user's email addresses.
It seems that they don't know how to use the BCC field and recently stuffed everyone's
address into the "to:' field of a bulk mailout.
But wait -- there's more...
Attempts to reply to the email produced a bounce with the response "Local Configuration Error".
However, it's not just the small players who seem to have a rather poor
grasp of email basics. Yes, even some of the big guys appear to be
getting it wrong these days.
One reader has suggested that Apple NZ have just messed up when sending out
emailed invitations to their "Autumn Road Show."
The reader says that not only was the invitation delivered in the form of
a huge 650K PDF attachment that was virtually just a copy of
info on the company's website (what's wrong
with a brief email containing a link guys?) but some people seem to have
received as many as four copies.
If you're a JetStream user who's over your monthly limit then Apple just
spent 40 cents of your money -- which is kind of like sending an
advertising brochure without a stamp and expecting the unwitting recipient
But wait... it gets even worse!
It would appear that the mailout was performed using mailing-list software
designed for supporting discussions between multiple users. As a result,
those who replied to the mailout complaining about the bulky attachment
seem to have had their comments redistributed to everyone else on the list.
Of course in doing this -- they also unwittingly disclosed their email
address to any number of unknown parties -- raising privacy concerns
and in the case of one aggrieved participant, threats of action under
the privacy act.
Today's question is...
When a company breaches either the privacy act or their own promises
in respect to the non-distribution of your email address, should you
be entitled to any compensation?
Have your say.
Due to other higher-priority calls on my time and resources over the coming
days, the publication of this column may be a little erratic.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible however.
The Jet-Kart is For Sale
It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm
having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time
and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry
has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.
The world-famous Jet-powered Gokart is up for sale by
way of an informal auction. Send me your bid and I'll post the current
highest offer on a webpage that will appear here soon.
As far as I'm aware, this is the only pulsejet-powered gokart in the
Southern Hemisphere -- I wonder why that is?
It may not be the quietest, smoothest, most comfortable or safest vehicle
in the world -- but it's sure different!
To place a bid, just drop me a line.
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