×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

World Privacy Forum's Top Ten Opt-Outs

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the do-not-want dept.

Privacy 162

Ant writes in to mention the World Privacy Forum's top ten information collector/user list, which shows opt-out instructions (or at least a starting point): "As privacy experts, we are frequently asked about 'opting out,' and which opt outs we think are the most important. This list is a distillation of ideas for opting out that the World Privacy Forum has developed over the years from responding to those questions. ... Many people have told us that they think opting out is confusing. We agree. Opting out can range from the not-too-difficult (the FTC's Do Not Call list is a fairly simple opt out) to the challenging (the National Advertising Initiative (NAI) opt out can be tricky). Our hope is that this list will clarify which opt out does what, and how to go about opting out. In this list, some opt outs can be done by phone, some have to be sent in a letter via postal mail, and some can be accomplished online. Some opt outs last forever, some have time limits, and others can be changed at will. If an opt out is on this list, it is because we thought it might be important enough to be worth whatever annoyance it may pose. "

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

162 comments

no (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27725907)

f u

The Wrong Approach (5, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#27725911)

How about making everything in the world an opt-in by default?

For example, I don't recall announcing that I want telemarketers to call me, so why should I have to opt-out?

Re:The Wrong Approach (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27725933)

well that's simple, it's because the telemarketers automatically opt-in'd you into their call 24/7 list.

Re:The Wrong Approach (3, Insightful)

Forge (2456) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726519)

I have an elegant solution. Regardless of where I shop or what I buy, if they ask for a phone number and don't obliviously need one, I give them my number in Jamaica. 22c per minute on Skype, even more with most other services. It won't discourage them (still get some calls) but it dose my heart good to know that I am costing them money, even if it's just a few cents to leave a voicemail I will ignore.

For an email address I give them a disposable address. It's good to have a few of these. That way if one of your retailers is selling info to Spammers you can probably narrow it down.

More importantly you can just not read that inbox since you never gave the address to anyone you want to hear from.

Re:The Wrong Approach (2, Funny)

Drantin (569921) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726639)

why bother making a fake address? just give them somegobbledygook@mailinator.com ...

Re:The Wrong Approach (5, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727051)

somegobbledygook@mailinator.com fucking HATES you, and the server admins aren't too happy either.

Re:The Wrong Approach (2, Insightful)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727317)

Actually, that's the whole idea of the mailinator.com site. I realize you were trying to be funny, but the joke falls pretty flat.

In other words, somegobbledygook doesn't hate Drantin (and arguably is Drantin), and the server admins could care less (or are amused that someone is using their free service).

Be proactive (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727205)

Why not write to your local member of parliament? Or better still, let the marketeers write to your local member of parliament.

Re:The Wrong Approach (4, Informative)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726899)

Untrue. Telemarketers can NOT call you past 9pm at night, though I'm unsure how early in the morning. Also, telephone surveys are exempt from the same rules.

Re:The Wrong Approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27727049)

for their sake, i hope they remembered to opt out of the "spammers get a bullet in the head" list.

for all our sakes, i hope they didn't.

Re:The Wrong Approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27725999)

You opted in when you signed up for something; the scumbag retailers sold your information to the scumbag telemarketers. Didn't you read the contract? It's in the small print...

Re:The Wrong Approach (3, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726285)

Didn't you read the contract? It's in the small print...

Even if it is, who cares?

The point is, if they send you crap, the best way to deal with it is to not respond in any way visible to the spammer. An opt-out is usually seen as a confirmation that you have a valid address. An extra rule or two on your email filter, and/or an extra entry in your hosts file if you want to be thorough about never doing business with the spammer might help.

Or you could get creative: A few years ago, I was getting a load of mail every day from some travel outfit that had got my address from somewhere, and I couldn't get them to stop. So I collected every address of theirs that I could find and put them all (with mailto links) in a little webpage with a title to the effect that "I am willing to accept all bulk mail; please contact me at the following addresses..." and left the webcrawlers to do their job. The deluge stopped within three days.

Re:The Wrong Approach (2, Insightful)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727369)

Amusing, but antiquated.

In todays world of botnets and forged SMTP headers, the spammers won't care . You'll just cause a whole bunch of extra junk to be sent to both the truly innocent and they quasi innocent. (You'd be surprised how many servers don't implement SPF, and that's only a decent minimum.)

Re:The Wrong Approach (1)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726275)

You think the advertisers would make anything close to the amount of money they do if everything were opt-in?

Re:The Wrong Approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726705)

Do you think I care? If I opt-in, will they pay me?

Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (5, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726307)

Using opt-in saves you the cost of marketing to people who don't want your stuff, saves you the cost of storing data about them, and saves you from the negative word-of-mouth opt-out causes.

I've run opt-in marketing campaigns, and have converted multiple employers from opt-out to opt-in. Before the switch, every mailout would result in an inbox full of complaints and threats. After the switch to opt-in, people would actually mail us asking where the ads were, if we were late.

I'll take opt-in over opt-out any day.

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (4, Interesting)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726779)

I agree. As both a list manager for e-mail and phone lists we have the opinion that we don't want to waste time with the people who don't want to hear from us.

On the calling side; we love the FDNC list. It means we don't have to spend man hours dialing people who will just scream and holler (when all it takes is a simple 'take us off your list'). As far as e-mail goes; we sent out opt-in emails to 20,000 folks in our market area and 95% of them opt'ed in. People respect that you asked first and if you tell them there might be interesting content coming their way they watch for it.

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (3, Interesting)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726799)

And before you reply saying that asking to be taken off a calling list doesn't work - realize you've dealt with fly-by-nights or otherwise shady ventures before. We are quick to blacklist anyone who is nasty or otherwise shows no interest, it just doesn't pay to keep calling.

Spam is spam, but believe it or not... most people WANT to be marketed to. Don't believe me? Purchase some Experian demo data and look at the 'multi-company mail responders'. In our geographical market most of the households do in fact reply to junk mail and so forth.

(And you'll never beat junk mail - it makes the USPS too much money. You can opt-out of 'junk mail', but you have to wait in line to do it. It's just too much postage for the USPS to turn down.)

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727595)

As far as I'm concerned, the moment you call my private number to try and sell me something, you ARE a fly-by-night or otherwise shady venture.

"most people WANT to be marketed to. Don't believe me? Purchase some Experian demo data"

Nice try, now I know who you work for... lol. But no, I don't believe you, I believe a lot of people miss that little box in the small print marked "no, I don't want your junk for ever more".

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727611)

You must have some funny rules in the postal system over there, here in Australia, we get catalogs and junk (from everyone from supermarkets to pizza shops to to real estate agents) in our mailboxes delivered by people directly without going through the post office at all.
We also get various free weekly local papers in the same way.

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (0)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727667)

It is illegal to put anything into a mailbox except mail in the USA. That is why home delivery newspapers are placed in a small box attached to the post the mailbox is mounted to. Kind of funny, they can use a tack or stapler to attach things to your mailbox, but not put it in your mailbox. I got so tird of junk mail and crap being attached to my mailbox, I removed it and got a PO box.

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727157)

and saves you from the negative word-of-mouth opt-out causes.

If everyone else does it as well, there is no negative fallout like that. Any opt-in thing gets a huge bonus, though, just by virtue of being different.

Re:Opt-in actually makes more business sense. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727727)

The problem (from the advertiser's point of view) with opt-in is that people have to know about your product and be interested in it before they ask for those ads. Most marketing is trying to make you buy shit you don't need and didn't know you even wanted.

Re:The Wrong Approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726357)

An unsolicited email selling services/products is spam.

If its not opt-in, its 100% unwanted spam.

Those are opt-in lists! (2, Interesting)

Cordath (581672) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726451)

1. Get your name added to an opt-out list, such as the Do not Call list.
2. Unscrupulous individual obtains opt-out list with your contact info and sells it to Nigerian spammers or other foreign group.
3. You wind up getting more BS than your friend who didn't sign up for that opt-out list.

Precisely this happened with Canada's do not call registry. I didn't have my name added to it, thankfully. However, in today's information market, opt-out lists would have to be highly secure to have even a remote chance of working as intended. However, unscrupulous spammers have to be able to access the opt-out list to tell if you've opted out! That's a pretty huge gaping security hole built in.

Bottom line, the more opt-out lists you sign up for, the more spam you're opting in for.

Re:The Wrong Approach (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726745)

That would be way too easy, now wouldn't it?

On the other hand, the question might arise where to draw the line.

In Switzerland, as an example, you can put a sticker on your mailbox that you do not want to receive ads. Technically, people are required by law to honour that wish. Of course, depending where you are, they couldn't care less.

Now political propaganda, on the other hand, has been deemed important enough to warrant exemption from that rule. The post office is required to deliver those to ALL mailboxes. The fact that I consider this stuff to be just as bothersome as ads is of no importance.

So who gets to decide what is important enough to warrant an exemption? And I'm sure there are things that do make sense to be an automatic opt-in.

sidewalks (3, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726883)

Part of me wants to agree with you.

But another part of me tells me making opt-in the defualt by laws with teeth in them is not going to be a good thing.

Think about your sidewalk. It's there for a purpose.

Block off your sidewalk with a 3 meter wall and a moat full of crocodiles and you get no solicitors. But the firemen and the EMTs also have a problem getting in when you're home alone, passed out, with the house burning down around you.

The problem is that no-call lists are not No-solicitors signs. They're more like attractive nuisances. Train wrecks in progress.

No-solicitors signs can't be enforced on people who are not from your country until the Internet starts having laws, and we don't want the Internet to have laws.

Which means the ultimate solution is a stratified (balkanized) Internet, and we don't want that, either.

At least, we don't want stratification until the ISPs get their hands out of the cookie jar so that every home, family, and/or user gets a full domain name and the ISPs either provide mail service to that domain or provide the hooks for the domain owner (not renter) to run his or her own server.

And before that, we need better standard OSses. (That means we have to get Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle out of the way. IBM, too, since getting the others out of the way would leave them with no real competitors. Sun being bought by Oracle worries me.)

And we need better standards for e-mail, file sharing, web-site publishing, etc., standards that transparently support simple forms of encryption. Not perfect encryption, but good enough to eliminate casual eavesdropping just by putting an pwn3d bot's interface in promiscuous mode.

That's a lot of work, and we're hiding from it.

Until then, RFC 5233 addresses can help a lot, if used wisely.

How to use the RFC 5233 addresses wisely?

First, assume that your base address will soon be harvested. Thus, your base address of user@isp.example is essentially an alias for user+spam@isp.example . Pre-filter it that way.

Second, set up a suffix for bulk purposes, such as user+bulk_nnnnn@isp.example . "bulk" is okay, but you might prefer something a little more original to yourself, like "klub", or "hanbai". The serial number could also come before or in the middle, like bunnnnnlk, and you might want to use pseudo-random serial numbers instead of just cycling through from bu00000lk to bu99999lk.

Hmm. bu23645lk would be harder to filter than bulk23645 with the simple non-RE filters that are most common.

Third, set up suffixes for mail lists. user+list_nnnnn@isp.example or user+listname@isp@example .

By setting up suffixes, I mean that you outline a system of filter rules.

Fourth through n-1-th, plan out the patterns you'll use for friends, family, church, school, club (hmm. klub. woops.), etc.

All these can be white-list controlled, because you have an idea who and where mail addressed that way should be coming from. Two or three sets of filters for each system, one that white-lists known senders, one that diverts unknown senders to a "probably-junk" folder, and maybe one that (temporarily or permanently) black-holes known offender senders who have latched onto that group of suffixes.

Finally, you have a set of doorbell or knock addresses that you give out at business meetings and other parties: ackr_nnnnn@isp.example . (At this point, I assume that the use of the knock address is obvious?)

Now, I'm going to polish that up a bit and publish it on my blog.

Of course, with a little time, you can actually set up a domain of your own for cheap with a little help from a place like google.com and a place like dyndns.org. (Google will run your mail server for you if you have a web server and a domain name pointed to it. Of course, there's that thing about letting Google spool your mail, but it is possible.)

Re:sidewalks (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727705)

Is it not simpler to just run a whitelist? I give my e-mail out to people with the note to put "from (insert date) meeting" in the subject field. If you do that I get it, if not it goes to spam. People who are too stupid to follow simple directions don't deserve to speak with me anyway. People who get put on the whitelist get one warning about cutesy forward, touching stories, warnings and other assorted BS, then next offense they get taken off whitelist. I did give my mom two warnings, but then she had to go.

Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#27725917)

Face it, the types of emails that you want to opt out from are exactly the ones that do not honor opt-out lists.

Remember when you first tried to ride a bike and your dad pushed you so hard that you fell over and skinned your knees and bloodied your nose? This is like taking that swing at him that you always wanted to. Unfortunately at that age, no matter what you do, he wasn't ever affected by your little attacks and rants.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (5, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27725977)

No, I don't. Mainly because my dad wasn't an asshole.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726069)

That's one bag analogy, guy.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (5, Funny)

cypherwise (650128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726151)

Remember when you first tried to ride a bike and your dad pushed you so hard that you fell over and skinned your knees and bloodied your nose?

At least you live up to your name...

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726267)

Same goes for the Australian "Do Not Call" list. Religious groups, charities and politicians are exempt. At least a telemarketer might have usefull information on a new product.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726677)

"a telemarketer might have usefull information on a new product."

Huh? Telemarketers never have good products. Telemarketers only ever sell products that need to be sold via "the numbers game" (ie. You throw enough mud at a wall and some of it will stick).

The simple answer is to get yourself a domain, then when "bigcorp" asks you for an email address you tell them "bigcorp@yourdomain.com". That makes it real easy to see who's abusing and who to block.

As for a phone...get caller ID. If it's not a number you recognize and you're not expecting a call then don't answer. They'll soon get bored and/or mark you as somebody who's not home during the day.

OTOH, yes, everything should be opt-in and there should be a national list of numbers which advertisers are not allowed to call.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726815)

What if they hide their number from caller id?

Also it's not as simple as simply not answering because they have still disturbed me.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (2, Interesting)

Imagix (695350) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726977)

SIP/Asterisk gets pretty cool for this. You could have your asterisk box route all hidden caller id calls directly to voicemail. Or to an IVR menu which asks for a password (and if that fails, voicemail). Continuing with this, "bad" caller id numbers can be immediately dropped, "good" caller id passes through unchanged.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727405)

Same thing - no number, no answer.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727439)

Ignoring the problem doesn't fix it. Just as filtering spam even at 100% does not fix the problem. Also many legitimate phone calls are made with out an ID, so those would also be ignored.

The point is these calls should not be allowed in the first place.

Re:Telemarketing is a good opt-out but... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727721)

I can't say that I've had that particular experience.

Are you sure you didn't want to hit your Dad for sleeping with your Mum?

Advertisers do not respect their targets (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#27725937)

The disrespect that advertisers pay to their targets works well for them as it is believed that it boosts their viewership and of course the viewers who are most likely to buy and spend are unaware of or don't care that they are being disrespected.

I have little doubt that if people could get sales by knocking on your door and punching you in the face to make a sale, they would do exactly that. They don't care about the harm they cause.

Re:Advertisers do not respect their targets (2, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726273)

If consumers where smart individuals marketers would not exist.

Re:Advertisers do not respect their targets (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726485)

If consumers where smart individuals marketers would not exist.

So because many consumers are idiots, that makes it okay for marketers to annoy us all? As a matter of fact, what does intelligence have to do with any of it? Marketers work half by the power of suggestion, smart people are influenced just like us morons.

Re:Advertisers do not respect their targets (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726529)

So because many consumers are idiots, that makes it okay for marketers to annoy us all?

I never said that.

Re:Advertisers do not respect their targets (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727419)

If consumers "were" smarter, marketers would be less annoying.

Re:Advertisers do not respect their targets (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726577)

I have little doubt that if people could get sales by knocking on your door and punching you in the face to make a sale, they would do exactly that. They don't care about the harm they cause.

Don't give the MAFIAA any more ideas! They already sue their customers; punching their customers in the face would be less harsh.

Re:Advertisers do not respect their targets (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727087)

I have little doubt that if people could get sales by knocking on your door and punching you in the face to make a sale, they would do exactly that. They don't care about the harm they cause.

I'd ask a doctor how I can punch people in the face in a way that limits the expected damages as much as possible.

See, I'm an ethical douchebag ;-)

World? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27725969)

For something from the World Privacy Forum it didn't really give much info for people that don't live in the US.

Re:World? (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727149)

For something from the World Privacy Forum it didn't really give much info for people that don't live in the US.

My thoughts exactly. In all fairness, their menu has an item "About US" though.

Come to think of it, now I understand how Bush talked about himself as the leader of the free world

Re:World? (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727719)

There are people who don't live in the U.S.???

Clearly these people have no privacy concerns; the fact no-one's heard of them provides plenty of privacy.

There's only one opt-out (4, Informative)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 4 years ago | (#27725989)

There's only one true opt-out... and it's at the receiver's end.

This is really possible only if I created a unique, unguessable email address each time I gave my email out.

This is not as impossible as you think. For instance, Gmail supports the "+arbitrary_tag" convention. So email sent to:
    example+listserv1@gmail.com
    example+bank1@gmail.com
    example+dad@gmail.com
  -- all shows up in the Gmail inbox of 'example@gmail.com'.

If you started getting spam at one of the 'example+...@gmail.com', you can guess who gave your address out.

See: http://alblue.blogspot.com/2007/05/multiple-addresses-with-gmail.html [blogspot.com]

Note, Gmail's convention leaves out the 'unguessable' bit of this idea out - so spammers can easily build rules to harvest real addresses from gmail addresses containing a '+' sign.

Re:There's only one opt-out (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726061)

I always append the name of the domain to which I am submitting information. For example, an email address submitted to slashdot.org would be of the form:

myname.slashdot.org@mydomain.com

I then set up an alias on my mail server to accept such emails. Interestingly, I have never received SPAM from any address submitted. All my SPAM comes from people who scrape the whois database entry associated with my domain name.

The whois thing is backed up by my wife who used to never receive spam. Then she bought a domain name...

Re:There's only one opt-out (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726397)

I do similarly, and have only ever received spam at an address in that format once: from allofmp3.com

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726147)

So what good does it do you to know who sold your address? The horse is out of the barn by the time you start getting spam. They've already sold your address. You were planning to call them up and have them un-ring the bell?

Plus addressing is trivial to evade (as you correctly pointed out). You still get all the spam.
Besides, I find Gmail pretty good at filtering spam without all that plus addressing nonsense.

What is needed is "one-time addresses", or addresses that cease to exist after n messages arrive, where n is some low number suitable for you verification email to be mailed and maybe a couple more. Then it goes dark, and the mail server disavows any knowledge of you.

Re:There's only one opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726243)

Because you can simply disable that address and the SPAM, and the organisation which sold your address, disappear from your mail box.

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726283)

If you disable plus addressing in Gmail if falls into your regular email box. How is that an improvement.

http://www.googletutor.com/2005/06/11/gmail-plus-aliases/ [googletutor.com]

Best you can do is filter it direct to trash, but as stated above, spammers then just drop the plus.

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727057)

Of course spammers will just drop the sub address.

That's why you filtering all mail without a sub-address to a folder labeled "probable_spam", or "people_I_havenot_met_and_probably_donot_want_to", or "stinky".

If you didn't start that way, after the filters that already catch all the people who should be sending to that address and sort them out to other folders, filter everything else to the stinky folder. (Ergo, use a white list before the black list.)

Re:There's only one opt-out (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727115)

You were planning to call them up

Very likely. They sold my address, so it's quite possible they owe me something for that. I'm also likely to avoid doing business with them in the future.

You still get all the spam.

That's only with Gmail, and only if they've specifically targeted Gmail.

What is needed is "one-time addresses", or addresses that cease to exist after n messages arrive, where n is some low number suitable for you verification email to be mailed and maybe a couple more.

This should be trivial to write, if you really want it.

But I don't think that's a good solution. Why not just tag email sent to that address, and wait until it starts getting spammed? That way, you know who's likely to sell your address, and you have a bunch more spam to train a statistical filter on. (You do have a statistical filter, don't you?)

And, there's always the off chance that the service might legitimately try to send you other email -- for instance, Slashdot will email me when anyone replies to this message. But you always have the option of deciding it's not worth it and killing a toxic address.

The difference is, with your way, there is no choice -- you've already killed the address after the first few messages.

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727129)

Until we can get the ISPs to give each user a domain name for something reasonable (like, free, within the ISP's domain(s), per places like dyndns.com), this helps.

Besides, the horse is already out of the barn. This gives you a little more fine-grained control in your white-list filters.

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727771)

So what good does it do you to know who sold your address? The horse is out of the barn by the time you start getting spam. They've already sold your address. You were planning to call them up and have them un-ring the bell?

Good point. I use a similar method when subscribing to some websites. I have an address I know for a fact I only provided to a single website, run by a well-known international company. It has never been used for any other reason, yet now I get pharmacy spam and phishing on it. I don't believe spam found it by accident, it would be too much of a coincidence.

But short of taking said international company to court, what am I gonna do?

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726291)

Because no spammer would ever know this trick!

dbuzzard+slashdot@gmail.com can you guess my gmail address?

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726331)

In theory, you can filter out mail to such addresses when you create them, or expire them very quickly to control the sharing of the spammable addresses. In practice, botnets seem quite likely to flood the potential address spaces and find your clever little tweaks. And the mail logs of large domains will also be very valuable to spammers to contact exactly such short-term addresses.

Re:There's only one opt-out (2, Interesting)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726477)

I was actually pointing out a flaw in the system. It seems to me the only real solution is to just have good filtering systems in place.

Another way is to have a catch-all domain and when you register use addresses like slashdot@catch-all.com, youtube@catch-all.com which you can then block as needed. However this quickly becomes a nightmare when somebody runs a dictionary attack on your domain, so you disable catch-all then you can't remember what addresses are actually in use ect and it turns to shit.

Spam filtering utilising multiple reputable blacklists such as spamhaus, barracuda, spamcop ect. Still seems the best solution, or having an obscure address that's only given to a few trusted individuals.

Think of it as a little more to filter with. (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727093)

Tags that are part of the address they're sending to you at are one more tool in your toolbox of filters.

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727109)

You assume the spammers know the trick.

And arrange your filters on your address appropriately.

Re:There's only one opt-out (2, Informative)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726697)

Have a look at spamgourmet.com [spamgourmet.com]. That page explains it better than I can, but I'll try to give a quick summary.

In 'simple' mode, you have a username at spamgourmet which is assigned to a particular external address. Each time you sign up for a new thing, you create a custom address which indicates how many emails you wish to receive, e.g. keyword.7.user@spamgourmet.com. You will never see any more email sent to that address beyond that limit (an advanced customisation is available to reset the counter).

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726781)

Works for me with spamgourmet.com. Every address I give out has a maximum of 5 mails to be handled by senders not white-listed.

I've given my address, in this way, to porn sites and to this day I receive one spam mail per half a year on average.

Which reminds me: Don't open an account on brandibelle.com. They sell addresses ;).

Re:There's only one opt-out (1)

ennui (16812) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727217)

Many mail platforms and list management software automatically strip everything past the plus sign for gmail addresses.

Good reason not to use those, then. (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727409)

It's not just google's idea, it's a full-fledged RFC since a year and several months back.

Until ISPs at least start giving their users domains at a reasonable cost, it's a very useful tool. So any ISP stripping the sub-address is just being a pig and contributing to the mess.

Old fashioned opt out (3, Interesting)

eggman9713 (714915) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726091)

I used to get catalogs from a marketing company despite opting out via dmachoice.org, as they were a member of the Direct Marketing Association.
I would get at least 2 catalogs a week from these people despite letters and phone calls asking them to stop. Well, After that didn't work, I collected all the catalogs over a 3 month period, stuffed them in a large envelope and sent them back to the company postage due. I never received another catalog from them.

Re:Old fashioned opt out (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726207)

Oblig. [bash.org]

Re:Old fashioned opt out (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726797)

Another way is to register a company that performs "Marketing Quality Control Services". Send them a letter thanking them for using your service and informing them that by sending marketing material to your address they agreeing to your terms of service and rates.

Next time the catalog comes in, send them an honest opinion of the marketing material along with a bill for $1,000. Repeat for each catalog, adding a $500 late fee for everytime a bill is not paid before the 1st of the month billing cycle.

They will go away, and you can profit by taking them to small claims.

Easy solution (4, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726123)

An easy solution for me is to change my phone number often. Problem solved.

Re:Easy solution (1)

cypherwise (650128) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726199)

Someone posted on Slashdot last week with a good idea. Instead of changing their phone number every now & then, they just bought a cheap pre-paid phone and some minutes. Between that and using a fake phone number (where appropriate) you would probably be in pretty good shape.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726743)

Well, research before you try it. With fido.ca's prepaid, your number still gets pummeled by a "partner" business that tries to sell you accessories. Fido refuses to block their numbers, and my voice mail stays filled with their fucking hang-ups.

Otherwise, yes, a prepaid combined with using phone booths whenever handy, cuts the voice-spam to relatively none. I've got the real world trained to use email & mail, while retaining a still-necessary phone number for using on tax forms, utility applications, etc.

That may sound like I don't use a phone much. I don't -- think about it a moment: I've achieved a luxurious silence in an otherwise hectic city life. It's nice.

By 'World Privacy' you mean 'American Privacy'? (2, Insightful)

mulgar (1432387) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726159)

Most of that seems pretty specific to US to me.

Re:By 'World Privacy' you mean 'American Privacy'? (2, Funny)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726299)

Shhhh, don't tell them there's more to the world. They might want to visit us.

What annoys me (2, Interesting)

British (51765) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726175)

...are websites when you register have the "subscribe me to your stupid newsletter" option checked by default. Get something wrong on the reg form? We'll re-populate all the info, but we'll re-check the subscribe option, despite you unchecking it. Assholes.

FERPA and multiple levels of opt-out (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726227)

Most schools interpret/implement FERPA-related opt-outs in such a way that if a student's information is restricted, teachers are not allowed to post that student's photo on the web, or in the yearbook, or in the school newspaper, etc.

In the school district I work for, we are not allowed to take a child's picture if they have opted out. That means that, at every event I go take photos at, I have to find 'homeroom' teachers for each student and verify whether any students have opted out, then take photos around them. Before I post pictures, I have to verify again. Before I give those photos to the teachers and students for their own use and enjoyment, I have to remove photos of those students.

Privacy is good, privacy is important. I think FERPA-type rules are very important because I've seen various employers do some horrible things with employee and customer data without realizing the problem. Implementations at the school level definitely need to be improved -- I'm tired of seeing how bad kids feel about being the only person in their class not in pictures.

The solution is easy: allow parents to opt-out of sharing textual directory information with anyone outside the district, but still allow student participation in district activities, teacher web postings on official sites, and district photography.

If your school or your child's school only provides all or nothing opt-out, you need to spend 30 minutes one night and go voice your opinion to the school board at a school board meeting. The board should appreciate your input and it's the only way to really be heard -- contacting anyone else and your question will just get buried by someone who doesn't want to do the extra work to make it happen. (read: my boss)

bf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726339)

Always think that privacy law is stupid. Not because privacy is not important, but those law mostly built on top of the old legals assumptions, trying to contain the new technologies to protect the benefits people have during the old times. That's silly! Digitalization does not put a hole into the law, it only magnifies the law's discrepancies and insufficiencies. It is non-sense to build fences and bridges over these holes, making exception over exception, instead of actually fixing them.

it's simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726459)

Spam is a 1990's problem. There is no reason for 98% of people to get spams any more.

Simply use indirection. Make one addy to give to trusted friends. When ordering things online, make a scratch address and forward it to your real one. Delete this scratch address later. There are services to manage that for you, if you wish.

I have been spam free for 15 years. Spam is only a problem because people *let* it be a problem. It's entirely a problem we (collectively) inflict on ourselves. But there is no reason for it and it doesn't have to exist at all. I don't understand why there is so much energy around this topic. Just act in a manner consistent with not getting spam. If almost everyone did this, spam would disappear. If spammers do not have your address, and you have not chosen a simple to guess address (e.g, a short name @ a common domain) then you will not get spams.

Take back your privacy, and spam will fade into a distant memory.

That should be the way it works. (2, Interesting)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726643)

It really should be the way the internet works, but too many people during the boom days thought that setting up your own server was too hard. And too many ISPs were willing to make money catering to that attitude.

The ISPs don't want to help people get their own domains now because they think they'll lose a revenue stream.

That's the reason RFC 5233 addressing can be useful, if you do it right.

But running your own domain does work best, and would work even better if everyone did.

Reality Check (4, Interesting)

db32 (862117) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726481)

Opt out of everything! Encrypt everything! Privacy is supreme! Oh wait...except you make yourself a bit of a target by being part of that tiny percent that actually gives a shit about that kind of stuff. I agree that privacy is important. I agree that some things should not be so easily made public information. I agree that advertising is irritating as hell. However, making yourself relatively unique by fighting so hard to stay "under the radar" actually makes you stand out as one of the few that actually are totally concerned about it. The unfortunate reality is MANY people believe "If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear" and the "they" rely on that behavior to find the "suspect" people.

Let us break this down in a way that I suspect all "geeks" and whatnot can understand. Do you spend much time investigating the events/items that meet your expectations of "normal"? Or are you more interested in the "odd" result? How much time do you really dedicate to fixing a Windows glitch vs how many time you just write it off to "Yeah, typical Windows behavior". Compare that to how many times you investigate into a *nix type glitch where the norm is to behave in exactly the same fashion every time unless some odd and relatively easily discoverable condition occurs...

The very act of struggling so hard to make yourself completely anonymous and "off the radar" makes you a high visibility target. I often see people go on about how they refuse to use discount cards and so on... WHY?! Seriously...is your hot dog and milk buying patterns so fucking important to your privacy? If you are really buying something "suspect" or "interesting" then don't use the card. Fuck, I actively check costs and ingredients in shit because I am concerned about what I am paying and what I am eating. What better way to "vote with your dollar" then to send a nice "I am not buying this fucking garbage" message every time you check out? I don't buy shit with aspertame, I don't buy shit with partially hydroginated bullshit (did you know they can legally claim 0 trans fat by making it less than .5g per serving? Who the fuck eats 1 cookie as a serving? Eat 2 cookies and you get ~1g of trans fat...5g of which per week increases your heart attack risk by ~25%). I am more than happy to provide that information to the marketeers because I want them to know I don't want that bullshit in my cupboards! How else do you plan to send a strong message with your dollar? Make sure they pay attention to your dollar!

Put yourself in "their" shoes. Who stands out more...the guy trying to mind his own business in the large crowd of other people who are generally just trying to mind their own business or the guy who is sneaking with sticks strapped on all over trying to look like a shrub. "They" employ a great number of very intelligent people more interested in solving puzzles than being "bad guys" to weed out those strange responses. It is an interesting challenge in human behavior.

Seriously...hiding every aspect of your life makes you more suspect. I think the notion of making every aspect of your life public voluntarily through myspace/facebook/twitter/whatever is absolutely moronic in the extreme, but trying to hide every aspect is the same thing. Unless you are looking for pedophilia, necrophilia, beastiality, or some other pretty universally questionable porn...you probably stand out more as "I don't ever look at porn" rather than "I like *XYZ* kind of porn".

The biggest violators of "privacy" are in it to make money, not to be evil dictators. They are going to dig into your information whether you like it or not. Provide them information that sends a clear message of what you want and they will most certainly meet your demands to continue making money! Every time some telemarketer calls me with some survey I am HAPPY to spend 5-10 minutes of my day answering their questions. You cannot even begin to imagine my amusement when they start asking about how much TV I watch and I tell them NONE! When they ask a half dozen questions about which commercials I have seen and I say no to each and every one. SEND A FUCKING MESSAGE PEOPLE! If you want the world to change you need to tell "them" to change it! Tell them what irritates you! Tell them their ads suck! When they do have a clever ad TELL THEM IT WORKED! I saw a Fedex ad *ONCE* on Hulu..."We know how important your time is, so we want to get you back to your program as fast as possible, use Fedex!". That was basically it...a commercial that lasted 1/2 of the time of the standard commercial and it was more memorable than any commercial I have seen in a decade or more just because of that! The greatest irony is that they probably paid less than the average commercial because of the short length and it made them that much more memorable.

Re:Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726531)

Every time some telemarketer calls me with some survey I am HAPPY to spend 5-10 minutes of my day answering their questions.

Personally, I find it MUCH more fun to respond with bullshit answers. If you refuse to answer, they just ignore you.

But with bullshit answers, it's more fun to pollute their marketing info with garbage.

Re:Reality Check (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726545)

You raise some points, but I think your logic off a little with regards to the "club cards" angle. Sure, if Big Brother is looking for his next victim, yes, being "not normal" is a red flag. But if it's just Safeway that has your grocery data, they're interested in turning a profit, not having fun analyzing a puzzle.... they want a promotional deal that 13% of their customers will care about, instead of a promotion that 0.000013% of their customers will care about. You're not worth the effort to analyze in detail on your own.

Re:Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726615)

mod up please

Re:Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27726693)

I opted out from reading the above wall of text, and opted into making the following public service announcement:

BEEP BEEP TROLL ALERT

Re:Reality Check (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727385)

Provide them information that sends a clear message of what you want and they will most certainly meet your demands to continue making money!

I want them to leave me the fuck alone and respect my privacy, regardless of a "prior business relationship". There's no marketing info they can be given that shows that to them better than nothing at all.

Re:Reality Check (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727399)

I often see people go on about how they refuse to use discount cards and so on... WHY?!

I used to have club cards for the main supermarkets in the UK, but all the vouchers I got from them were trying to get me to try stuff I didn't buy. Why bother with a discount card if you don't get discounts out of it?

What better way to "vote with your dollar" then to send a nice "I am not buying this fucking garbage" message every time you check out?

What on Earth makes you think that using a club card sends a stronger message than simply not buying the stuff in the first place?

I'm rather puzzled by your suggestion that not using club cards makes you stand out, too. If I don't use a club card they don't know who I am, so what does it matter if I'm unusual? Or did it fail to cross your mind that some people find cash more convenient than paying for everything with credit cards?

_World's_ Privacy Forum??? (1)

ghmh (73679) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726537)

The rest of the world doesn't want to have your privacy issues, U.S. - can you keep it national please? After all, the list is National List this, and National Register that...

KTHXBAI

Re:_World's_ Privacy Forum??? (1)

geejayoh (1541771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27726795)

Rather than dupe post this is exactly what I was going to mention. The "World" privacy council of what world? The United States of America? Every single item on that list from TFA is a US based opt-out scheme. When will the American's learn that the US != the world. World series, world privacy, world police...

Re:_World's_ Privacy Forum??? (1)

magnus.ahlberg (1211924) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727325)

Agreed, as soon as I read TFA (yes, I actually read TFA), I hit the search button in the hope that someone had already made this point.

And from what I could see from the rest of their web page, they seem to be doing little to none international work at all, nice job!

*sigh*

Make emailing to you require extra work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27727655)

In your email profile, add instructions for prospective email senders to public-key encrypt their message. Filter all plaintext except that from mailing lists you legitimately signed up for. No spammer will ever bother to take these steps just to get to you.

quit buying stuff (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#27727731)

If we all just stop buying things maybe they will leave us alone. Aggressive advertisers isn't a problem in a communist society, we should dump this capitalism stuff for that reason alone.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...