From the “Statement of Privacy” at a major online auto dealer:
There will be times, such as when you submit an application, request a quote, enter a contest or sweepstakes, purchase a product, etc., when we will need to obtain personally identifiable information from you or about you. Such personally identifiable information may include your name, home address, e-mail address, telephone number, social security number, income, credit references, etc. The information we receive about you or from you may be used by us or shared by us with our corporate affiliates, agents, vendors and others to help process or complete a transaction; to comply with any law, regulation, audit or court order; to help improve our website or the products or services we offer; for research; to better understand our customers’ needs; to develop new offerings; and to alert you to new products and services in which you may be interested. We may also combine information you provide us with information about you that is available to us internally or from other sources.
Translation: We will do any damn thing we please with your personal information.
The Ticketmaster Monopoly Grows
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is so preoccupied with the Microsoft case that it ignores equally nasty monopolists. Case in point is Ticketmaster, one of the worst of the batch, which is scooping up competitors (AP) with no apparent attention from the trustbusters.
Who’s Behind the Sleazy E-mail, Fax, Site, Etc.
The Whois command is a gift to anyone who wants to find out more about the owner of a Web site, as I note in my Tuesday column.
As I say in the column, I’m a big fan of Sam Spade.org, one of the best sites for tracking spammers. Excellently done. (It’s incidentally a great example of how the Internet has become the primary computing platform. I used to have to run these tools from a command line, and hope the programs came with the OS.)
Tell me the tricks you use for this kind of thing.
David Epstein writes: A couple of years ago I started receiving unsolicited faxes that asked my opinion on some big public issues (gun control, taxes, education). As I recall, I could reply to the poll by calling and 800- number. In order to stop this I had to call another 800- number. I realized that the primary purpose of the unsolicited faxes was to link a voice number with myfax line number. Rather than give them this information, I called the number from my phone using *67 to block the caller ID information. The call was rejected. I then called from a payphone. That call was rejected. Finally, I called FROM MY FAX MACHINE. (I gave them a piece of information they already had). The call was accepted, and I have not been bothered since. David Glynn says: www.geektools.com — The best thing about geektools is that it can link you up to ARIN, to allowyou to find out who provided the IP addresses of annoying network losers. Nothing like a few phone calls from the provider of the core of their network access to straighten out the most willful miscreant. Tom Mulhern: I have been against spam and have fought it for years. I have had my emailaddress for a long time and knew how to not get on spammer’s lists, whichworked fine. Then someone went through the registry and now my once spamfree email address is no longer. So here are the things I have come acrossand use in fighting spam:
http://www.suespammers.org/ The name says it all.
http://spamcop.net My favorite. I have a paid account and a free one. Golook at this one.
http://www.tcpalaw.com/cites.htm About Junk Faxes. Same type of people asspammers. Scum.
http://www.junkmail.org some good information here.
Tom Geller: You might be interested in a site I run, a legal resource about spam law at <http://www.suespammers.org>. Besides listing existing laws, it gives tips on using small-claims courts, names of lawyers who’ll take antispam cases, and the like. The mailing list is a good place to trade information (and let off steam), and I offer firstname.lastname@example.org POP3 mailboxes to all comers. You know, if the page at <http://www.suepmammers.org/pop3/pop3list.shtml> gets scraped and spammed, I as the server owner can sue for over $5K ($50/address)… We in California are fortunate to have one of the best laws in the country — <http://www.suespammers.org/ca/bpc_17538-45.shtml> — and I assume you’re familiar with the fight for a decent national law <http://www.suespammers.org/us>.
Rough Justice for Microsoft
Having thoroughly persuaded a federal judge that it’s an incorrigible monopolist, Microsoft is on the verge of being ordered to split up into at least two pieces. That would be a genuine threat to the company’s Next Generation Windows Services initiative, which I discussed in my Sunday column — and it would be supremely ironic.