Invasion of the privacy snatchers

Mikey 1 comment
  • Your rights
Invasion of the privacy snatchersI hate spam. That is rhetorical I know, but even the evil purveyors of said intrusive medium hate spam. It appears recent anti-spam legislation has not done much to combat the problem, but rather provide clearer guidelines for marketing companies to thwart the system. Spam is not the only problem most people deal with. Things like junk mail and telemarketers have such a common place in society that we seldom think of them as intrusive mediums.

Managing spam in all its ugly forms, takes up a significant chunk of our time. The table below shows how many times in the past month a company has tried to force various products on me and my unsuspecting family.

Spam medium Tally
Email 3256
Telemarketers 97
Answering machine 3
Mobile phone 19
Junk mail Lost count
PO Box 12
Office phone 8

Nowhere near as much as a lot of other people I suspect, but more than enough to be an annoyance.

I would love to know the administrative overhead involved in trying to sell a product to me. Or even more interesting the ratio of people contacted to people who actually took the bait.

There is one particular issue with the telemarketer situation that has bothered me for a long time now. When I joined my local telecommunications carrier I do not recall seeing anything on the contract stating I am agreeing to have my number made available to telemarketers. Sure I understand my private number is available in the White Pages, but this is something we don't often think about. The contract should say my number 'may be subject to enquires by various marketing companies'.

So how do we stop from being bothered at inopportune times by overzealous telemarketers? We get a private number. This is the part I have a problem with. Why should I pay an extra 5 dollars per month on my phone bill for the privilege of not having my evening interrupted by telemarketers?

When you join any Internet Service Provider, do they make your email address public to spammers? Of course not. That would be insane. But in the Telecommunications business that would be considered normal behaviour. As soon as you join them your name and number is displayed in the next edition of the White Pages, unless you pay for it not to be.

The way I see it, if telemarketers want to interrupt my evening then they should pay for the privilege. I would gladly listen to their 2 minute sales pitch if I got paid for it each time.

A lot of legitimate email marketing companies have a similar ethos. They reward you every time they send you an email, be it in the form of SMS points or frequent flyer miles. Some even offer cash. They understand that people generally don't like to be annoyed by unwanted mail, so a reward is offered in return for the privilege of trying to sell you a product.

Having said that, it is really a case of legislation denying them the right to send spam to recipients who didn't opt-in. And rightfully so. If everyone's email address was suddenly made public in a similar vein to the White Pages, it wouldn't take long before they stopped caring about how annoyed people got when they received their unwanted email.

If we could get a do-not-call register happening like our neighbours in the USA, we might not have an anxiety attack next time the phone rings at 8pm in the evening. I for one will jump straight onto that bandwagon if it ever arrives here.
Not a Member!


Monday 27th June 2005 | 11:10 PM

on the news last week there was a perth business that has been done (or will be done ) for sending spam. from memory it was in the millions. and i hate the telemarketers that phone on our business number wanting us to change our telecomunications carrier. ( and half the time i cannot understand them ) so now i just hang up, rude as it may sound enough is enough.

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