[LINK] Aust Post questionnaire

David Lochrin dlochrin@dot.net.au
Sat, 08 Feb 2003 11:36:05 +1100


   I have just received an Australia Post questionnaire (sorry, "[big tick] Lifestyle Survey") which promises that I might win $40,000 cash et cetera if I complete it.

   This questionnaire covers about 4 1/2 A4 pages of check-boxes in fine type, and it's the most amazingly intrusive one I have ever seen.  It begins by asking for my full address and home telephone number, and the first name & surname, mobile number, and email address of both myself ~and~ my partner.

   There follow eight sections.  Among other things, the section on health & fitness wants to know whether anyone in my household is affected or concerned by any of the following:  arthritis/rheumatism, back pain, hearing difficulties, hair loss, dry skin/eczema, asthma, osteoporosis, diabetes, migrane, high cholesterol, indigestion, hay fever/sinus, weight control, smoking, dementia/Alzheimer's, lactose intolerance, high blood pressure, eye sight difficulties, dandruff, or insomnia.

   The final section finishes up by wanting to know the dates of birth of myself and partner, profession, work status, and income bracket.

   This is obviously a direct-marketing exercise, where the object is to comprehensively profile individuals from a marketing perspective and obtain direct postal, telephone, email, and SMS channels to them.  I assume Australia Post will then sell this information.

   I think this is an abuse of the postal system which, privatised or not, still provides an essential public service.  Presumably some part of the recent 5-cent increase in local postage went towards funding such activities, and I cannot think of a better reason for ~not~ privatising public infrastructure and basic services.

David Lochrin

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David Lochrin
+61 2 9363 1094
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