[LINK] Telstra Clouds its Profit Results

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Fri Feb 10 20:30:06 AEDT 2012

At 08:01 PM 10/02/2012, Fernando Cassia wrote:

>And Microsoft is Microsoft, they can´t go wrong, they never go wrong,
>they´re numero uno. -or so they would like us to think-
>So what´s to lose? "let´s outsource this whole thing, pay somoene who
>understands these web services and has a good reputation. Hey, why not
>Microsoft?. Then we can concentrate on our golf tournament**"

This raises another issue: 3rd party outsourcing 
of anyone's email activities without their 
consent, especially when the data is going to 
track the activities of the person or, as in this 
case, put the data outside the jurisdictional 
control of the person who is participating in the communication.

Do any Linkers know what is really going on with 
Commonwealth govt agencies in this area? I 
participate on a privacy panel for Austrac and 
they send their general newsletters via a 3rd 
party that substitutes the direct links via the 
3rd party servers. That means you don't see the 
real link for the information, even by hovering, 
because the links have all been replaced for 
tracking purposes. I objected to the practice 
after I saw what was going on when I hovered over 
a link, something I do quite regularly because of 
spam and redirect faking problems, even from what 
appears to be legitimate sources. I was told that 
this is now done by govt agencies in order to 
reduce costs, and presumably avoid the need to maintain in-house IT services.

The conclusion was that I insisted they remove 
any mention of my address in their distribution 
lists that are handled by this 3rd party and 
remove me from their distribution of this 
newsletter until such time that my activity would no longer be tracked.

That's one example. Then yesterday I noticed a 
similar thing with the APO newsletter. Linkers 
may recall that I would sometimes repost items 
from that newsletter related to the digital 
economy. I had a look at it yesterday and the 
links are via a 3rd party and have the word 
'track' in the replaced URLs. No longer do they 
put the direct links to the APO website. Even 
their email comes from: 
So I wrote to the person in charge and 
complained. Later that afternoon, I received a reply that said:
"I can't answer in detail now but I can assure 
you we have not given away your email to anyone 
else to use and have no intention of ever doing 
so. I'll write this up as a blog so you know exactly what were doing tomorrow."

I just checked the APO.org.au website and there 
is nothing that I can see. I don't even see any blogs on the site.
Gee, if a header says mail is coming from a 
server that doesn't match the organisation, I'd 
bet my email address had to go somewhere. And 
note, there is nothing in her reply about 
tracking. I'm still waiting on an answer. In the 
meantime, I won't be clicking their links or posting them on Link.

Next time you get some newsletter, be sure to 
check the distribution source and hover on the 
embedded links. You may find something you didn't 
expect, even when it comes from the govt.

And don't get me started on the University uses 
of gmail, no matter how many complaints various 
people have made. They have drunk the koolaid, 
too. Bye-bye research confidentiality. Contract security anyone?


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

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