Beta
×

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!

Privacy Policies Heading Downhill

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet dept.

Privacy 183

ipfwadm writes: "There's a good article in the NY Times about various internet companies changing their privacy policies to allow the selling of users' information to marketers. The article mentions Yahoo and how they changed everyone's marketing preferences recently, among other companies (including everyone's favorite, Microsoft)." We already did a story on Yahoo's changes, but this one is notable because Yahoo's former vice president for direct marketing blasts the changed policy. And LorenzoV submitted a story from Wired about TrustE failing to censure Yahoo over their changes. Again.

cancel ×

183 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Like the MS EULA (2)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325071)

Read it before you accept it.

Re:Like the MS EULA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325094)

Doesn't help much if they change it after you accept it, does it?

Yeah frigging right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325242)

Sure -- the problem is nobody ever does.

_
WINDOWS USERS CLICK HERE! [paware.com]

people are so considered about privacy, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325093)

but me, I don't care if the whole world knows all my info.
Here you go, marketers:
Mr. John Longdick
55 Hellsmouth Road
Beverly Hills, 90210

Telephone: 555-get-bent
email: spammehard@hotmail.com

Things To Do Today (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325233)

1. Vomit

2. Wipe chin

Linux officially supports goatse.cx (-1)

Rock 'N' Troll (566273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325095)

Hey all Linux whores around here!

Did you know that hick.org [hick.org] , host for goatse.cx [goatse.cx] is running on LINUX servers?

I just thought you wanted to know! :)

A TrustE is still a con! (-1, Offtopic)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325096)

n/t

C'mon mods! (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325199)

The post is about TrustE and the story is about TrustE. How is this OffTopic?!?

ep (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325098)

Eighth post!

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325100)

fp bitches

Be quick and get back at your foes. (1)

iamwoodyjones (562550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325108)

Change your phone number to that of people you don't like. Then those people will get those annoying calls while eating dinner instead of you!

Re:Be quick and get back at your foes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325394)

but you don't have any foes! [slashdot.org]

changing privacy policies (3, Interesting)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325112)

The point is that even if you do read the privacy policy thoroughly sites have a habit of later changing them to whatever they like. Oh well - c'est la vie.

Re:changing privacy policies (2)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325167)

Well Yahoo! is now spamming all my various e-mail addresses, after the fact, about their changes.

But you do have a point, so you sign up on a site, after reading their privacy policy you don't think it is too bad. But there is always that last statement, "We reserve the right to change these policies in the future...", some even go on to say, that it is your responcibility to check their policy page on your own to find out about any changes. But most are "kind" enough to e-mail you when they make changes to the policy.

So someone comes to them and says, "I'll give you $1 million" for your customer database. They are like, "cool, but give us a day to change our policy so it says we can do this."

Re:changing privacy policies (2)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325239)

Yes - I know what you mean - but have you seen how long the T&C are for things recently?

The Yahoo Terms of Service comes to 348 lines. Admittedly the 2nd line does say "which may be updated by Yahoo! from time to time without notice to you." - but does anybody actually read past the 20th line or the 100th line? And you're right - most places mention they can change it right at the bottom.

Re:changing privacy policies (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325240)

Wait till you get a phone line with NTL (ntlworld.com)

"contract subject to change"

Turns out the "subject to change" means an 80% increase in phone charges over the year. "Oh sorry, we didn't mention, it's only subject to OUR change?"

Re:changing privacy policies (4, Interesting)

Asprin (545477) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325424)

But. you know, even *that* wouldn't be so bad if you could simply delete your account when you've decided you've had enough. That's the real screw job here; the worst effect of which is that I am now -- officially -- PARANOID!

Has anyone here ever tried to delete an account from E-bay or Microsft? Some (Yahoo?) will let you do it, but there are usually limits and procedures that imply they're selling your info on the way to the trashcan. Gah!!!!! I usually make up fake marketing info for those bogus logins (NYTimes, etc.), but I'm starting to think I should start doing that for legitimate sites as well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find my tin-foil beanie.

Re:changing privacy policies (1)

SteelX (32194) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325244)

Yes, that's right. A majority of the sites I've visited have privacy policies that sound good ("we don't sell your info to third parties", etc). But at the same time, they have a line at the end that says "we may change the privacy policy without notifying users first by posting the changes on the website." Great.

And I've also seen sites that explicitly stated that they "care and respect about" my privacy, but say that they're going to sell your info to third-parties anyway. What in the world.

NY Times Article (Copied for those without NY Reg) (1, Redundant)

TheLoneCabbage (323135) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325123)

Pressed for profits, Internet companies are increasingly selling access to their users' postal mail addresses and telephone numbers, in addition to flooding their e-mail boxes with junk mail.

Yahoo (news/quote), the vast Internet portal, just changed its privacy policy to make it clear that it has the right to send mail and make sales calls to tens of millions of its registered users. And it has given itself permission to send users e-mail marketing messages on behalf of its own growing family of services, even if those users had previously asked not to receive any marketing from Yahoo. Users have 60 days to go to a page on Yahoo's Web site where they can record a choice not to receive telephone, postal or e-mail messages in various categories.

Similarly, when Excite, another big Internet portal, was sold in bankruptcy court late last year, the new owner asked Excite users to accept a privacy policy that explicitly allows it to rent their names and phone numbers to marketing companies. (Those users, too, could check a box on the site to opt out of such programs, if they had not already done so on the old Excite.)

The sites say that direct marketing to their users, both by e-mail and by older means, is an important source of revenue that can help make up for the rapid decline in sales of online advertising.

"It has been our orientation from the beginning to be straightforward with the user," said Bill Daugherty, the co-chief executive of the Excite Network. "They are getting free content and utility that is unparalleled, and in return we will be marketing products to them."

But even many marketing experts say that the risk to the reputations of these companies may outweigh any revenue they may receive.

"What Yahoo has done is unconscionable," said Seth Godin, Yahoo's former vice president for direct marketing. "It's a bad thing, and it's bad for business. They would be better off sending offers to a million people who said they want to receive a coupon each day than to send them to 10 million people and worry about whether you have offended them by finally going too far." While at Yahoo, Mr. Godin published "Permission Marketing" (Simon & Schuster, 1999), which argued that marketing messages should be sent only to people who ask to see them.

Both Yahoo and Excite say they are not loosening their privacy policies, just making them more explicit. In the past, both companies simply asked users to check a box authorizing the Web sites to "contact" them with marketing messages. The sites assert that such wording did not rule out mail and telephone contacts in addition to e-mail messages.

Privacy experts say such a legalistic interpretation of the privacy policy is at best misleading because, in practice, almost all contact from the sites has been by e-mail. "It's unfair," said Mark Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "People thought they were going to get e-mail solicitations. They didn't expect that their dealings with Yahoo would cause them to receive phone calls."

Both Yahoo and Excite say they have not actually used users' phone numbers for any marketing programs so far and have made relatively few mailings to members.

Other sites have been much more liberal in renting customer names. America Online, the biggest Internet service, has long rented customer addresses, and it also calls users to promote its services and those of its business partners. Lycos, the big Internet portal, and CNET's ZDNet, a technology site, also rent users' names through mailing-list brokers.

For example, Direct Media, a mailing list broker in Greenwich, Conn., offers access to 2.9 million Lycos users at a cost of $125 per thousand names for a single mailing. (An extra $15 per thousand lets marketers select users showing an interest in a topic like cats or gambling.) Advertisers typically pay for the right to send a single mailing or make a single phone call to a name on a list they rent; they do not own the information outright.

Stephen J. Killeen, the United States president of Terra Lycos (news/quote), the parent of the Lycos portal, said mailing list rentals were a small but growing part of its marketing revenue. It does not yet rent phone numbers, a service that has a smaller market. "We look at ourselves as a way to match the right consumer with the right product, whatever the medium," Mr. Killeen said. "A lot of advertisers are looking at the Internet as part of integrated marketing campaigns."

The privacy policy of Microsoft (news/quote)'s MSN portal lets it send mail and make phone calls to customers on behalf of advertisers, but it has yet to do so. Microsoft lets users specify whether they do not want marketing via e-mail, postal mail or phone.

"We value our customers' privacy," said Brian Gluth, a senior product manager at MSN, "and we have never changed a customer's preference of opt-in or opt-out, like some of our competitors have done."

In many ways the Internet is simply joining the mainstream of American business, where the names of people who subscribe to magazines and who buy from catalogs are freely traded.

Steven Sheck, the president of Infinite Media, a mailing list broker in White Plains, said he was seeing an increase in the number of Web sites renting access to users' names.

"Given the state of the economy," he said, "Internet companies are looking at their customer lists as an asset with which they can generate revenue."

Yahoo says its move to send mail and make calls to users on behalf of advertisers is far more limited than simply renting its customer file to companies with no relationship to Yahoo. It compares itself with American Express (news/quote), which has long sent offers to cardholders for its own services, like insurance, and for those of other companies, like airlines and department stores.

"To the extent we have been successful," said Lisa Nash, Yahoo's director of consumer and direct marketing, "it's because we have been extremely respectful of our users' time. We fully plan to continue that." She said the company had no immediate plans to start telemarketing programs, but she added, "We intend to have maximum flexibility."

Ms. Nash said, however, that Yahoo's biggest objective in its new policy was to give it more freedom to sell its own services rather than those of its advertisers. Yahoo has been trying to recover from the slowdown in online advertising by introducing a raft of new fee-based offerings, like online games and expanded e-mail services.

Unlike other sites, Yahoo has never asked users specifically if they want to receive information about its own services. Rather, it has asked a single question authorizing it to send both messages for Yahoo services and messages for advertisers (which include Columbia House and the Discover Card, offered by a unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (news/quote)).

Now Yahoo has sent tens of millions of users e-mail messages saying that it has given itself permission to send messages on behalf of its own services. Users have 60 days to go to a section of the site (subscribe .yahoo.com/showaccount) and reject such messages in 13 categories -- one by one. The categories range from games to job hunting.

The distinction between messages from Yahoo and those from advertisers is not always clear because many companies do business under the Yahoo umbrella. Yahoo's travel channel, for example, is largely a Yahoo-brand version of the Travelocity (news/quote) online travel agent. Similarly, a message about back-to-school specials on Yahoo's shopping channel, for example, could well be paid advertising from some of the more than 10,000 stores in Yahoo's online mall.

"We believe in the products and services we offer," said Srinjia Srinivasan, vice president and editor in chief at Yahoo. "Our network has grown so much we want to tell users about them."

Truste, a nonprofit group financed by Internet companies that creates standards for privacy policies, agreed to endorse Yahoo's move after an extended discussion with the company. "I would not call what Yahoo did `best practices,' " said Fran Maier, the group's executive director. "To the extent possible, you would like companies to honor the preferences that were previously set by the users. But on the other hand, we don't want to tell companies they can't do something when their business strategy changes. We have to balance those things."

Truth in Advertising (3, Interesting)

kindbud (90044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325128)

"We value our customers' privacy," said Brian Gluth, a senior product manager at MSN, "and we have never changed a customer's preference of opt-in or opt-out, like some of our competitors have done."

Well, I'd have to agree that this statement is strictly true. They never gave users the opportunity to opt-out and assumed opt-in, and never gave the users operable means to change their preferences. With users' recorded preferences agreeing with what Microsoft prefers, there was no need to make changes to users' preferences. QED.

Re:Truth in Advertising (2)

meckardt (113120) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325203)

Not strictly true. I have an MSN account, since you need one to use their IM. But I never ever use the email.

Haven't ever seen a bit of spam in that account either. Just the occasional message from MSN (maybe once a month).

Information may want to be free (1)

Torinaga-Sama (189890) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325134)

But someone has to pick up the tab for the infastructure. If it can get me products i want without having people call my house at odd hours of the day, what the heck. I don't really approve of this flipping a U-turn with regards to an agreed upon privacy statement, as I feel that is just poor form, and as a whole a bad practice for a buiness to take. I doubt it will hurt Yahoo much. I am pretty sure that they could not even give you the offer to not recieve promotion materials and a lot of people would still sign up.

Additionally,

Online privacy is a mass delusion. Most of your packets are merely postcards anyway. It doesn't take serious sleuthing to figure this out.

Times slashdotted?? (1)

Pathetic Coward (33033) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325139)

No response ... does a mirror site exist?

Show Yahoo why they are wrong (5, Informative)

Fastball (91927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325140)

https://edit.yahoo.com/config/delete_user [yahoo.com]

Use the above link to delete your Yahoo account. It's the Internet folks. There are alternatives. There are always alternatives.

Re:Show Yahoo why they are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325178)

But some of us don't have Yahoo accounts, but we're on the Yahoo lists anyway. It is possible to join a eGroup mailing list without an account. Now Yahoo is selling my info, and there's no way for me to opt out.

Re:Show Yahoo why they are wrong (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325182)

That assumes that they're not saving your "deleted" information for later use.

I prefer poisoning their database, personally.

Name:
Mr Rancid W Veeblefester

Home Address:
1 Bite Me Spammer Drive,
Fuck You Yahoo Spammers,
Eat Shit And Die,
Afghanistan

Phone:
111-11-1111

Email:
blowme@blowme.com

Re:Show Yahoo why they are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325301)

Encrypt your real info and give them a challenge!

Re:Show Yahoo why they are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325225)

heres what you get when you delete your account

http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy/us/archives/det ai ls.html

Corporate arrogance (3, Interesting)

edp (171151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325142)

After the previous story about Yahoo "resetting" (that is, altering without permission) user settings, I sent a return-receipt letter terminating all business with Yahoo, instructing Yahoo never to send me any email, and telling Yahoo they would be charged for sending email.

Yahoo responded by sending me email from "Customer Care"! Idiots. They don't care, and I'm not a customer now. How many neurons does it take to figure out that you don't respond to a letter saying not to send email by sending email?Why do corporations think they have a right to do anything they want, even with other people's property?

Re:Corporate arrogance (3, Insightful)

radicalsubversiv (558571) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325214)

<i>Why do corporations think they have a right to do anything they want, even with other people's property?</i>

Because, for the most part, they do. Corporations have all the same legal rights as individuals, and few of the drawbacks (i.e., they have a funny tendency not to die). Furthermore, they will continue to engage in wildly abusive business practices (internet privacy policies are just the tip of the iceberg, you know), until there's a broad-based movement to stop them.

Whining on ./ is all well and good, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start talking to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Join organizations (local ones especially, not just the EFF). Write letters. Join boycotts. Vote for candidates running on anti-corporate platforms (hint: that's not Harry Browne).

Corporate Advantages (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325476)

The other really important corporate right that you didn't mention: A corporation can't be sent to jail.

Re:Corporate arrogance (1)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325229)

Ditto.

I used to think yahoo was great, now I am boycotting them. I used to buy stuff from them, now not any more. (not even via Yahoo Stores)

Re:Corporate arrogance (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325523)

Me too. Got the stupid E-mail from Yahoo today, discovered that the delete-account link didn't work, and sent a message to Yahoo's legal staff informing them that all business relationships were hereby terminated and that any future spam would be a violation of California law.

Yahoo is a California company, so, no matter where you are, California's anti-spam laws apply.

Dyson Makes a Great Point (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325150)

when she says,

"I've also been disappointed in consumers," she said, "in that they've not been proactive in protecting their own data. You do a survey and consumers say they are very concerned about their privacy. Then you offer them a discount on a book and they'll tell you everything."

and it's true.

People get all worked up over what these companies do- then sign up for the free trip contest that no one will win.

People should disclose less personally. They should encrypt more.

How many average internet users today would be able to tell where there personal information had been leaked? Not many, because they give it out in so many place.

If you only tell one person a secret. And it gets back to you that everyone knows-- then you know who squealed.

Let's not take the easy route and dump all the blame in one place.

.

Re:Dyson Makes a Great Point (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325413)

I never give up personal data for contests and the like, but I gave my personal data to Yahoo for one reason - so I could buy airline tickets through them. Since I've spent thousands of dollars through their travel service, I do *not* expect them to turn around and sell my data. So yeah, I'm dumping blame squarely on them. (At least they gave me an opt-out before selling my data, but good lord - they've got my home and work phone numbers!)

Biased asses (-1)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325153)

Why is Microsoft ALWAYS mentioned in a negative fashion? It is as if anyone wants to complain about ANYTHING relating to computers they have to throw in an obligatory reference to Microsoft, because they are evil.

Last week Bill Gates put a bannana in the tailpipe of my car. Did my gay ass get mad at him? No, because I know that my life is easier because of his existance, if he wants to force me to look at a homoerotic Windows messenger icon in my task bar for eternity, he has earned the fucking right.

I wonder how many slashdot neophytes type their anti-microsoft pro OSDN rah rah shit on a Windows box. Blazing hypocrites that lick camel anus. So the next time someone tries to tell you that Windows is evil and smells like putrid bowel movements, just ask them to send it in e-mail typed in some obscure file format that 0.00000000001% of the computer users can read it. This way it was be unopenable and I don't have to listen to the constant complaining.

Asses rule . . . especially male ones

As usual, I'm not surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325157)

I'm all for capitalism, but what Yahoo! is doing can hardly be counted as trading value for value. Then again, what marketing sleazebag ever exchanged value for value?

Oh My (4, Insightful)

inerte (452992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325161)

It's the anti-marketing these guys are doing. At least Dilbert's boss was clearly stupid. Nowadays what we have? We have companies that we used to trust selling not only our digital personas, but our real ones, by telephone and home address.

None could predict that corporations would be our parents, by giving us thousands of older brothers that not only watch you, but commercially punish a trusted relationship.

The internet was meant to be the ultimate anonymous reduct of our souls, and instead, for the hundreds of millions of users, has become a place where you pray for an digital communication medium (for example: email) where you won't be bothered.

I know /.'ers can't stand to this, but where the \. are?

TrustE (5, Insightful)

dionysis12480 (466928) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325162)

From the interview:
"To the extent possible, you would like companies to honor the preferences that were previously set by the users. But on the other hand, we don't want to tell companies they can't do something when their business strategy changes. We have to balance those things."

From their site:
"TRUSTe's Privacy Seal: When you see the TRUSTe seal, you can be assured that you have full control over the uses of your personal information to protect your privacy."

Does anyone else find this amusing?

Re:TrustE (1)

ziriyab (549710) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325231)

I was just about to post the same thing. If TRUSTe makes its money (non-profits still have to make money) from the businesses it moniters, then its seal isn't worth the pixels it's painted on.

Anyone know their business model?

I wanted to (3, Insightful)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325284)

mod this up, but there is as yet no "infuriating" option.

No Reg. Link (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325164)

Please posters, spend the 30 extra seconds needed to get the no registration link [yahoo.com] which is ALWAYS at Yahoo. It is ironic that, on a story about privacy and access to your information, the poster doesn't seem to care at all about NYT stroing his information and reading preferences.

Re:No Reg. Link (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325266)

I think it's more ironic that Yahoo would mirror a story that holds them in such an unfavorable light.

We'll never see on Microsoft's site "When you sign up for the .net service, Microsoft reserves the right to send your information to anyone it darn well pleases".

Chances are, someone at the Yahoo news service is gonna get fired for this one.

Of course, this has nothing to do with it, either..

YHOO [yahoo.com] 15.45 -2.99

Re:No Reg. Link (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325292)

It's not like there is some jock who scans the NYT site and copy/pastes the articles in. It is all automated. All the stories are mirrored, period. What, did you think there was a "No Negative Yahoo stores" checkbox? All the major portals use this technology. You can find simmilar no registration links to NYT articles at Altavista and Excite.

It's about time! (1)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325169)

While at Yahoo, Mr. Godin published "Permission Marketing" (Simon & Schuster, 1999), which argued that marketing messages should be sent only to people who ask to see them.

Finally, a marketing person sees the light. If people don't want to be bothered by random solication, don't do it to them. you will not gain customers by doing something they perceive as a nuisance!

But, who would opt-in to spam/telemarketers/direct mail? I'd think that most people wouldn't.

No-reg-required link to article on Yahoo (3, Informative)

Seth Finkelstein (90154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325177)

Re:No-reg-required link to article on Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325262)

How do you spell KARMA-WHORE again?

Re:No-reg-required link to article on Yahoo (3, Funny)

Soko (17987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325276)

So, you used a link to Yahoo - in order to prevent the NYT from having info to market - on Yahoo changing thier policy on selling user info?

Gah. The irony is quite literally killing me. Stop it.

Soko

Language Police (1)

phriedom (561200) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325527)

Irony is figuratively killing you. As punishment you much now go get a dictionary and write down the definition of "literally" 10 times. Don't let me catch you doing it again.

Yahoo does not suck (-1)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325181)

Try to find better prices on anything on the net outside of yahoo's inner-circle of shopping sites. The search engine rules, and their free e-mail seems to give terrorists and pedophiles immunity from and legal reprocussions of their actions. Sounds like a good deal to me . . . . .FOR FREE.

99.9% of the shit they give you is fucking free, so technically they can do whatever the fuck they want. Fuck off. All of the articles on this pitiful bowel movement of a site are always the same thing . . . . .BITCHING AND MOANING.

And why is the color of this artick brown like the shit I just took.

Fuckers

funny how... (1)

pakkit (572494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325183)

I can't read the article about privacy unless I sign up for an account and give them my:
Gender, Year of Birth, Zip Code, Country of Residence, Household Income, Industry I work in, Job Title, Job Function, and my preference as to whether or not I want my info (email address) given to "selected advertisers"

yeah...

Re:funny how... (3, Funny)

carm$y$ (532675) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325282)

So what? They'll find that yet another 45-years old woman from Afganistan with a $5/mo household income is interested to see their security policy...

Re:funny how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325341)

Exactly.

Having privacy on the net is very easy. Just lie. :)

If one of your personas becomes unbearable (i.e. too much spam, etc) then create another one.

There is a pretty easy solution (1)

Liora (565268) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325184)

It seems to me that even though it is a big pain in the butt when they change agreements on you, someday everyone will have more reliable and reputable companies providing them with email. In my particular circumstance, while I still have a pop3 account for those times when I'm on a mac or some machine that doesn't support my work exchange (yes, they use that... not my decision), I have another email that I give out that I get from enom. Using our family name as a permanent email address that we can change and forward at will was the best idea that my uncle ever had. If you don't like the new agreement, change providers. If you get a lot of spam as a result of the agreement, change providers. If you're tired of changing providers, set something like that up.

Real easy fix... (2)

meckardt (113120) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325186)

If a company changes its policies in this way... dump 'em.

That's what I did with the minute I heard about Yahoo!'s change of policy. I immediately turned off their &@^% preferences, and changed all of the references for email and such to something fictitious. Only used them for web mail anyway. Instead, I'm using my private domain server, even if it costs more.

I suspect that Yahoo! and others of its ilk won't much care that I don't use their service. There are enough computer-neophytes out there who don't know enough to turn off the spam preferences, much less understand their loss of privacy.

Re:Real easy fix... (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325223)

I had something better. The only Yahoo e-mail address I have was one from a Pepsi promo campaign. I don't need it anymore. I took the attitude of "I'm sorry, if I didn't change those settings then any changes are invalid and on your heads be the consequences.", and added a rule to my .procmailrc to EXITCODE = 77 anything coming in to that address. All that address is good for now is clogging up the sender's mail system with messages that can't be delivered.

Trolls (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325189)

Has anyone noticed that there don't seem to be many trolls around? Browse at -1 for a bit, and you won't see that many. And the ones that are there seem strangely wholesome. Off topic political advocacy rather than child sex stories. What the hell is happening? The great Slashdot blackout hasn't even started yet.

Re:Trolls (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325378)

We got bored. It's a phase. Sometime next month there will be a big swell of it again.

People are also a problem (1)

mwalleisa (561970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325201)

While I certainly agree that the TrustE logo no longer conveys the level of trust that it was intended to, I can't help but notice how dead-on Dyson's final quote in this article was: "You do a survey and consumers say they are very concerned about their privacy. Then you offer them a discount on a book and they'll tell you everything."

A system like TrustE was and still is a good idea, but like so many ideas it has fallen down a bit in the implementation. I would like to see them take themselves and the service they provide a little more seriously. I hope we don't need a watchdog for the watchdog of the watchdog of . . . you get the idea.

Yahoo telemarketing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325205)

Oh cheers for rejecting that story when I submitted it, you bastards!

Message went into Bulk Mail... (2)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325209)

I NEVER read my Bulk Mail folder (since it is ALL spam), so I missed this message from Yahoo on the privacy change. Going into my Bulk Mail folder now I see it. Sorta of a backhanded tactic though, to put the message somewhere no one will read it.

What use *is* Truste anyway? (4, Interesting)

cmuncey (66980) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325220)


Truste, a nonprofit group financed by Internet companies that creates standards for privacy policies, agreed to endorse Yahoo's move after an extended discussion with the company. "I would not call what Yahoo did `best practices,' " said Fran Maier, the group's executive director. "To the extent possible, you would like companies to honor the preferences that were previously set by the users. But on the other hand, we don't want to tell companies they can't do something when their business strategy changes. We have to balance those things."

Let me get this straight -- Truste wants companies to follow privacy policies (which the companies themselves until they don't want to follow them anymore . . .

All that Truste ever really did was claim to police how well these companies disclosed and followed their own policies -- not dictate what their policies would be. IIRC, there already are laws about false advertising and misleading business practices. So, what is Truste and their "seal" besides a public relations exercise?

Re:What use *is* Truste anyway? (2, Interesting)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325313)

TrustE is a nothing but a con anyways.

Etoys.com (remember them?) clearly violated their privacy agreement by "lending" their customer database to an outside party for a survey.

I wrote to both Etoys.com and TrustE saying as much, provided links to Etoys' violated privacy policy, and followed the convulted reporting method listed on TrustE's website.

Two weeks went by. Nothing from TrustE. So, I wrote them back and said "What about my complaint?" to which they said "What complaint?"

EToys, meanwhile, had apologized to me, and was trying to buy back my business with a measely $5 gift e-certificate.

Whatever.

I've had other companies go against their policies and my settings. They get a nice (handwritten) letter stating I'll no longer do business with them.

This is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325224)

I never give any genuine information of substance out to an internet server, no matter how "trustworthy" ths site. The clossest thing is when I buy pc parts online, but even then if the site tries to force me to make an account i usually go somewhere else. Therefore I don't have to worry about it.

Re:This is why... (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325351)

Whenever possible, I do this too.

Unfortunatly, when buying things online, I have to give them some personal information, otherwise, I won't get my stuff. :)

Maybe if the Post Office offered an anonymous redirection service, so they could accept packages headed for "Customer #xxxxxxx" but wouldn't actually know where in the US (world) I physically resided.

Ignorance Makes This Possible (3, Insightful)

malibucreek (253318) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325235)

I guarantee you that Yahoo would lose a huge percentage of its market share if people started getting calls from telemarketers who announced, "You're getting this call because Yahoo sold us your home phone number!"

Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. Most people never know which company sold the name and telephone number that got them that annoying telemarketing call at dinner. Or which Web firm sold off the e-mail address that got them that spam. So they never make the connection between giving up personal information to (whatever) company and the torrent of junk mail, calls and spam.

Without knowing exactly who is giving up what to whom, people don't know what companies to stop patronizing, in protest of their lousy privacy policies.

If you are the master of your own domain (ahem...), don't hesitate to create a new e-mai alias for each account you create with another Web site. (e.g. yahoo@yourdomain.com, amazon@yourdomain.com, etc.) That way, you at least can track who's selling e-mail addresses, and spread the word.

Re:Ignorance Makes This Possible (3, Insightful)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325293)

If it's something that *needs* my real info, so I can receive things from them that I actually ordered, I give a fake middle initial, or spell my first name wrong, or something.. That way, when I get unrelated spam from someone else, I know exactly where the list came from. I stop doing business with them immediatly.

The Fake Middle Initial Trick (3, Informative)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325409)

I stumbled onto this one by accident, when a credit card I had previously had got my middle inital wrong. Then I noticed all this mail coming to me with my wrong middle inital. Then I tried it myself. It is an excellent way to keep track of who is selling your information to whom.

Re:Ignorance Makes This Possible (1)

gregstoll (90319) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325370)

If you are the master of your own domain (ahem...), don't hesitate to create a new e-mai alias for each account you create with another Web site. (e.g. yahoo@yourdomain.com, amazon@yourdomain.com, etc.) That way, you at least can track who's selling e-mail addresses, and
spread the word.
If you don't have your own domain, a neat way to do this is through sneakemail [sneakemail.com] - it's free and you can do exactly the same thing - give everyone a sneakemail address that forwards to yours, and track where the spam is coming from. Quite handy - wish I had known about it earlier...

Re:Ignorance Makes This Possible (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325446)

Yeah they do. When I got a letter addressed to "White Products" (a made-up name), I forwarded it to PaperDirect (the people to which I'd supplied that name) and told them I would no longer do business with them, due to their illegal selling of my personal data.

Similarly, whenever I get an email to paypal.filtered@blibbleblobble.co.uk, can you spot how I figure out who to complain to?

Yahoo apparently doesn't want people to use it... (1, Flamebait)

mttlg (174815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325236)

Ok, from the article:

Users have 60 days to go to a page on Yahoo's Web site where they can record a choice not to receive telephone, postal or e-mail messages in various categories.

I did this the day the article ran here, and the amount of spam has been increasing steadily. It was at about 100 total messages since Yahoo pissed on its users as of a couple days ago (the previous spam rate was about one or two per day). So what happens to the people who don't opt out in 60 days? Do they get even more spam? Or is that what they're saving the phone numbers for?

Let's review. With a Yahoo account you get:

  • Some web space with no FTP access.
  • An e-mail account that can't be forwarded and can't be accessed except through the web.
  • A privacy policy that changes whenever they need more money from advertising.
  • Lots of ads plastered all over their site, with no logical pattern
And lots more useless crap!

Oh well, I didn't need to actually use that account anyway. I'm just going to let the spam pile up until the mail quota is filled (that should take another month or so, maybe less).

Re:Yahoo apparently doesn't want people to use it. (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325543)

I did this (went to their marketing page) and I got asked for my full account details and password no less than 3 times.
(To put this in perspecive, when I visit yahoo clubs, I type my password exactly no times.)

"Better make sure we check the person is EXACTLY who they say they are, if they're gonna do something we don't want..."

p.s. you can access a yahoo email account through POP access to pop.mail.yahoo.com, although I hear they plan to change this shortly. Yahoo email addresses get hit by so much spam it's ridiculous.

p.p.s. Yahoo webspaces is (or was, last time I checked) available at ftp.geocities.com, for full FTP access.

Yahoo was one of the first big companies on the web, and gave out free email, clubs, and chatrooms before most of us even knew what they were. Yahoo may not be the same now, but let's not forget their place in the history of the internet.

Even /. has the right.. (1)

KingKupa (569768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325243)

Even /. reserves the right to change their SPAM policy, but at least they let you know ahead of time:

UPDATES TO THE PRIVACY POLICY

To update the privacy policy, we will both post the changed version and its effective date at http://www.osdn.com/privacy.shtml. Concurrently with any change to the core privacy policy, we will email notice of the change to known users at least 15 days (or such shorter or longer time as mandated by law or any judicial or government body ) in advance.

don't trust TRUSTe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325247)

TRUSTe's logo is meaningless. you can have your own for only $19.95. i had my prefs reset by yahoo like everyone else & quickly changed them back (thx /. for the heads up). i then sent nastygrams to yahoo & truste. never heard back from either of them. went to netscape.com for a new email acct. yahoo probably gave truste a few bucks to keep them off their backs & keep the useless logo on their privacy page.

The answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325248)

Everyone set up accounts with Jon Katz's email address.

He'll be so full of spam, he won't have time to post articles on /.

Two thumbs up!

And exactly HOW much is the DB's worth? (3, Interesting)

josh crawley (537561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325250)

We all know of the New York Times (idiot register required) and such stff. There's also the Yahoo register, and about every other service that requres email addresses, authorization that demands your name, home adress, and sometimes asks how much you make.

Well, after about the.. well, the second time, I started punching in totally random garbage. I did this every time I needed something on that site. So what, it took a minute, but they didn't get anything in return (my data is more important than an article in the NYT). Now, as a question to slashdot, how many 'Fake' nyms do you make for idiotic register only accounts?

Even at Krogers (A national grocery chain), they and many others like it have the 'Kroger super cheap recipt card' The purpose for thr consumer (cattle) is a coupon without the scraps of paper. Kroger, and others with the same plan, use this as a way to log exactly what each person buys. Whenever I go in and purchase stuff, I demand that I have the rebate price without a card. If they force a 'super card' on me, I scribble on the carbon paper, as to make it unusable, then throw it on the floor as I walk out. They get the message.

The attempt to screw me, I take them just as bad... Now be a nice consumer and bend over.

ALWAYS LIE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325257)

Always lie. That's the only way to go.

A desperate move by a desperate company (4, Interesting)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325260)

Seems kind of desperate when I company does something like this. It is a pretty good sign that its business model does not hold what the company promised their investors.

Take Yahoo! for instance, who recently reported [computerworld.com] a loss of $50M+ for the first quarter this fiscal year. They probably weighed the bad-will and complaints of changing their marketing policy against a projected short-term income for selling these addresses. Whatever $ figure they came up with as a result of resetting it's users settings , it's probably too high.

The strange thing is that when these policies change for the worse, people not only get upset, but they also a) become more reluctant to give accurate information when signing up b) opt-out as soon as possible. Apart from being able to sell a few more - lower quality - addresses, nothing is gained. The downside is that the intended audience for the advertising emails is less likely than before to read the emails, and also the accuracy of any demographics of the audience.

I think advertisers will realize sooner than later that the apparently millions of new Yahoo! customers were people that already opted out of advertising email, and therefore are a dead market not worth the new and higher price that Yahoo! demands

Make up a fake name (2, Funny)

dbc001 (541033) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325261)

I like to use "Ralph Poohead". Or when they offer a free trial issue with an opt-out subscription to follow, I send it to Wrigley Field in Chicago and use the name "Teebone Schmidt".

Re:Make up a fake name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325381)

For Real.com, hotmail, and numerous others I have used:

kiss@my.ass
no@no.no
no@way.jose
this@is.spam
spam@shelf.can
...etc

As we get more desensitized... (5, Insightful)

Leeji (521631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325267)

I'm really upset about all these "your rights online" issues -- not because it's bad reporting (despite what you trolls like to say,) but because I'm getting desensitized to it.

In the net's infancy, the community attacked ANY company who breached our trust or good will. A lot of dot-bombs can attest to that. As we watch the internet grow, however, these violations have become so mainstream that only the truly offensive ones catch our attention. Even at that, the definition of "offensive" changes every day.

A few years ago, Yahoo! couldn't have dreamed of pulling a stunt like they just did. The backlash would have crippled, and possibly bankrupted them. Today, though, it's little more than an annoyance to us and a non-issue to newbies.

Kazaa got removed from download.com, but will still probably make millions from their scam. Companies like Gator will continue to abuse their market share. As the internet matures -- and we get even more desensitized -- companies will do worse, and we'll accept it.

in a related story.......... (-1)

GoatTroll (556420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325269)

Privacy Policies Heading Downhill

In a related story, buttpirate linux website Slashdot announced that it is going downhill.

Amazon is worst (3, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325272)

There was a recent slashdot article about how Amazon reset everybody's marketing preferences. After reading this article I went to amazon and reset them all to "don't send me anything unless it's an order confirmation". Just a few days ago I recieved an e-mail from them selling stuff. I followed the unsubscribe instructions and found that, as I thought, was set not to recieve it. I set myself not to receieve it again. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that it was a computer error or something. It hasn't happened again since. It's just kind of annoying that even though I check the box that says don't send me crap ever, that they can reset it at will. So I either keep visiting their site and changing it back (and when I visit their site they sell me stuff/make money). Or I get stuff in my e-mail (which sells me stuff and makes them money). Maybe next time I get something from someone I told not to send me things I'll sue. Just maybe.

Re:Amazon is worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325386)

My prefered tactic is to just change the mail preference for my account to "support@amazon.com" Let them spam themselves.

TrustE is stinking, fetid garbage (4, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325289)

It shocks me that journalists take Trust(M)E seriously. From the NYT article:

Truste, a nonprofit group financed by Internet companies that creates standards for privacy policies, agreed to endorse Yahoo's move after an extended discussion with the company. "I would not call what Yahoo did `best practices,' " said Fran Maier, the group's executive director. "To the extent possible, you would like companies to honor the preferences that were previously set by the users. But on the other hand, we don't want to tell companies they can't do something when their business strategy changes. We have to balance those things."

So basically Maier admitted: they do nothing. Fine. Then they should get no news coverage, and not be used as a smokescreen by these fuckers.

Don't want the junk mailings? (1)

Seomus (544500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325297)

Just do as I did and go to their page, find the address and phone number of the CS department. Change your snail addy and phone number to theirs.

Anyone notice pop-up ads on Windows Update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325298)

The last time I went to Windows Update on my 2k machine (yes, I have one still :( ), two or three pop-up ads came up.

Can anyone else verify that MS is now sporting pop-up ads on WindowsUpdate?

Thanks!

Predators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325306)

Seems there is a general push to make us as cattle-like as possible. Mooo.

Perhaps this is just a natural evelotion in business as they grow. and one needs to be ready to jump ship when their eyes start glowing or something.

My experience (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325327)

As soon as I heard that Yahoo had changed all our privacy settings, I changed mine back, turning off the Yahoo Delivers option. Meanwhile, Yahoo announced that POP access would no longer be available after 4/24 unless you sign up for premium services for $30/year. So a few days ago I fired up the old mail client and tried to download the 5 megs of email I have on Yahoo to my local machine. Oops, invalid user name/password. That makes no sense.

I emailed Yahoo, and after a few back and forths, they finally told me that the only way to get POP access (until the 24th when I would have to start paying) is to sign up for Yahoo Delivers! Well, I want my mail, so I paid the blackmail, signed up for Yahoo Delivers Spam, and sure enough, I was then able to log into the POP server.

I don't fault them for wanting to charge for POP access - they've got to make a buck. But to force me to expose myself to spam in order to gain control over my own email is just not right. This was not part of the deal when I signed up, and is a pretty slimy way to do business.

After I finish downloading, I'll be shopping for a new email provider.

The only way to fight (2)

loraksus (171574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325342)

I'm not sure how many yahoo people have started to receive phone spam, but even though I am on the oregon no-call, I've received 6 calls asking for the bullshit "name" on my yahoo account. Coincidence? Nah.
I've reported this to the abuse list, which probably means these companies will end up paying some sort of fine, which probably means that they will be reluctant to do business with yahoo in the future. I say going after the demand is the best way to approach things, as yahoo etc, can change the user agreement pretty much at will, as is shown - is it dirty? ya - low down and fucking annoying, yup, but you did agree to the terms which include that they can change the terms at any time. Besides, the service is free, so as pissed as I am, I do have to aknowledge that they might as well make some money.

Also, I find filtering anything with the word "unsubscribe" in it to trash works pretty well :)

Long live banner ad filters.

Re:The only way to fight (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325383)

loraksus said:
1q2w3e4r5t6y7u8i9o0pqawsedrftgthyjukilo;p'azsxdc fv gbhnjmk,l.;/

Hey, how'd you get my password?

This could create a new market (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325346)


Perhaps some ISP's will charge a little more, and not sell-out their users.

But then again, how much is YOUR privacy worth to YOU?

Is it just me, or... (1)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325357)

Is it just me or isn't Yahoo trying to make up for their lack of usage as late, by pounding their users with more ads? People have quit using Yahoo for searching and as a portal, and are using better sites like Google to do all their searching, and sites like MSN, etc for their portal.

Makes plenty of sense that Yahoo would try and make some money off the users they still have.

Half the problem with Yahoo.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3325360)

..now is that it's plainly annoying. My family uses Yahoo Messenger, which for the time being is enough to keep me from dumping my account altogether, and I've had my Yahoo Mail account forever (and occasionaly get an email-out-of-the-blue from an old friend/aquintance).

But, soon, quite soon, I'll be deleting my account.

I think Yahoo is heading towards that point where their services are too broad to be charged individually. It's like right now between my home phone, cell phone(s) [wife's], and DSL services, I'm paying out the nose. I don't have satellite/cable but I do belong to NETFLIX. I don't need too many more revolving payments to try and keep track of.

Even if I paid for Yahoo, their advertising policies are too annoying to tolerate much anymore. That, and their Yahoo Mail service is not all too stable.

attn. Yahoo (5, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325369)

I am willing to pay.

Yes, I know this is heresy on the internet even now, but you need money, and I have money, so maybe we can make a deal. (and yes, I know this is slashdot and not yahoo, but perhaps a yahoo or other provider employee will read it.)

Here is what I have with Yahoo:

A Yahoo Mail account

Several Yahoo Groups that I administer

A "My Yahoo" page with various crap

I would be willing to pay:

$5/month for each Group I administer to make it 100% ad-free

$5/month for my Yahoo Mail account to make it 100% ad-free

Some reasonable, flat monthly rate amount to make all my yahoo browsing and usage 100% spam and ad-free

some modicum of service standards (notably on groups, which is quite unreliable at present)

certified, and not by TrustE, "we will never spam you ever" privacy

I have my credit card right here, yahoo. I bet many other users would pay for no ads. Get with the program!

Interesting Statistics on User Data (3, Funny)

ltsmash (569641) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325399)

I wonder about the value of user-information on the internet. I find it hard to believe that 20% of the people in the world are named John Doe, have a phone number with more than six 5's in it, have an email address blow_me@nomail.com, and live in quiet town of Schenectady, NY in zip code 12345.

Once again, oNumber.net does not sell your info!.. (1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325400)

We charge for entries in the directory, and as a result DO NOT and WILL NOT sell member information. Our business model is adding cool features, and charging a fixed joining fee, with no small print - although we do plan to raise the price as more features are added, those who are already members will never be charged again, and all members get to control how much if any of their information is released, and who to. The problem with these other firms is that they were not formed by visionaries, but by MBAs, who may know their stuff when it comes to creating a spreadsheet, but understand little when it comes to respect for the consumer. I believe the middleman's demise is iminent! Here's to the consumer being back in control - well, those who want control that is.

what about the users? (0)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325418)

"The sites say that direct marketing to their users, both by e-mail and by older means, is an important source of revenue that can help make up for the rapid decline in sales of online advertising."

so basically what this says is they dont care if people even want to recieve product information. of course, we all know that thats the case but to have yahoo say that their only interest in selling these is to make themselves money is poor.
basically i think their saying 'here take all these junk adverts we know you wont buy anything so just delete them'. what the hell is the point of that for anyone but yahoo?

and furthermore who the hell would buy something from a random email? i dont even think soccer moms are that daft.

Say Bye Bye to business in Europe (3, Interesting)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325590)

I do hope that companies like Yahoo! realise that changing a privacy policy without prior consent of the existing users can get them banned from doing business in the EU?

You see, we actually have laws that are meant to stop unscrupulous marketers selling our data to all and sundry without our informed prior consent, and you know what? They are actually enforced, to the point of the EU threatening a trade war with the US over them.

Mart

Well, that was easy enough. (1, Flamebait)

seebs (15766) | more than 12 years ago | (#3325609)

Turns out there's a simple solution to Yahoo!'s decision to opt me in to everything. There's a "delete account" button.

I used my.yahoo.com as a home page for a good five years, I'd guess. Maybe it was time to seek another.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>