[LINK] govt misuse of personal information [was: Draft NSW ICT strategic framework]

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Sat Nov 26 08:12:12 AEDT 2011

At 03:07 AM 26/11/2011, Scott Howard wrote:
>They don't seem
>to understand the problem that they gave what may be a personal
>address to a 3rd party and that they are tracking behaviour.
>They are tracking behavior, on behalf of the sender, no doubt with a 
>very good contract/NDA in place.  I suspect it's not a matter of 
>them not being able to "understand the problem", but much more them 
>not believing there's a problem to begin with - and I for one would 
>have to agree with them.

That's fine. You're allowed. :-)

What I found poor practice was not telling the reader this was 
happening so they could:

1. Opt out
2. Use a direct link to get to the information instead of relying on 
the pass-through via the delivery service. I do not want to be 
tracked, by anyone. You can't say that Australia Post or local 
courier service has that ability, surely?

Given the length of the actual footers that came with these mailouts, 
why not add a line that says, this email is coming to you via xxx 
distribution service? When I get a letter at home, I know it has come 
via the post office and as far as I know, they aren't doing anything 
with the address on the envelope.

Why not put the direct link instead of embedding a line of HTML code 
that is not for that item at all? By hiding it, I don't know where 
I'm going to be taken. I don't know if it's even the real location. 
Haven't we been told that if you can't see the domain for say a bank, 
you should type it in yourself so you know the location is legitimate?

No, I don't buy the spam reduction argument at all.

"and reducing the incidence of such newsletters being caught by users 
anti-spam software." - huh? You would have to explain a lot more for 
me to understand that argument.

"after all, the courier company will probably ask for a signature 
from the recipient, and who knows what they could do with that 
information!" - That's called registered mail, and isn't used as a 
blanket delivery method. I did balk at handing over my drivers 
licence to a postal worker a couple weeks ago and watch her copy down 
my number, but I had no choice. Just showing it to her wasn't enough 
to satisfy her that it was me, either.

"a core competency of any part of the government," - Gee, that could 
fit almost every activity in a government department! (almost 
kidding, but just almost)

All I wanted was transparency so I could make up my own mind 
if  wanted my click through tracked. Now it's only the thousands of 
newsletter receivers who don't pay attention when they hover over the 
embedded links.

Expediency for the sender isn't enough of a justification.


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

_ __________________ _

More information about the Link mailing list