Important Information Enclosed

Got one of the common letters in the mail, "Important Information Enclosed: Privacy Notification".  Now why is it when I see one of these, the first thing I think of is "Important Information Enclosed: We are reducing your level of privacy".  Would I ever see a privacy policy change that is actually more restrictive?  Here’s a quick summary of the privacy policy I got:

  • Is my information shared within your family of companies?  YES.
  • Is my information shared with financial companies outside your family of companies? YES.
  • Is my information shared with non-financial companies outside your family of companies?  YES.

Well, that covers just about everyone.  I guess there’s no privileged information anymore.  Wait, there’s one more.

  • Is my information shared in any other ways?  YES.

Oh, ok.  The notice provides some examples of some ways they would share info, but the only thing that limits this is the phrase "as required or permitted by law".  Well, that covers just about everything.  In fact, this phrase is in the notice: "even if you tell us not to share, we may do so as required or permitted by law."  So technically, if law permits it, we’ll share your info regardless of what you tell us.  Another little twist is that your choice of what to exclude is limiting. Think "You are being attacked by three monsters and you have one bullet.  Which one do you want to shoot?  Remember, even if you kill one, it may reanimate and attack you again, as required or permitted by law."  That’s what you get.

I haven’t ever been a big privacy nut.  I don’t really do anything that I think anyone cares about.  And if I do things and am included in an aggregate, I care even less.  But this is about garbage.  Garbage sent to my home, garbage in my email (that’s a hopeless cause anyway), and uninvited phone calls.  My use of a company’s services makes my personal information their property that they can sell at will.  I wonder when this happened.

This kind of crap extends to virtual businesses.  How is an Internet site valued when it provides a free service?  By the number of users it has.  With a quick sale, a change of ownership and a flip of a switch, all those users can be bombarded with advertising.  The thought that we are being farmed, bred, or fed for eventual sale and slaughter is pretty sickening.

One last note.  The formal letter introducing the privacy policy has the incredulous statement: "Your privacy concerns are important to us, and protecting your personal information is one of our top priorities."  An absolute lie if I’ve ever seen one.

Comments are closed.