Thursday, September 21, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
NY AG settles massive privacy breach
New York Attorney General's March 13, 2006 press release shows the importance of adhearing to what you say in your privacy statement:
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced a settlement to address what may have been the largest breach of privacy in internet history.
The settlement with Datran Media, a leading e-mail marketer, follows an investigation that identified the improper disclosure of the personal information of more than six million American consumers.
"With this case, we hope to set a new standard for internet marketers and consumer research companies," Spitzer said. "Personal information secured through a promise of confidentiality must always remain confidential."
Datran was alleged to have improperly used information it had obtained from several companies that compile and sell information on consumers.
The largest such company, Gratis Internet, had assured consumers on several web sites it owned and operated that it would "never lend, sell or give out for any reason" the information provided by users. Among the sites on which Gratis collected user information were "freeipods.com" and "freedvds.com."
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Datran knew of Gratis’ promise to consumers when it purchased the consumer lists. But after obtaining these lists, Datran sent millions of unsolicited e-mails to the listed consumers.
Under an Assurance of Discontinuance with the Attorney General, Datran has agreed to pay $1.1 million as penalties, disgorgement and costs. Datran must also:
• Destroy the information obtained from Gratis and the other list sellers at issue;
• Avoid acquisition of any personal consumer information without first independently confirming that such acquisition is permissible under relevant seller privacy policies; and
• Appoint a Chief Privacy Officer or other employee to oversee privacy compliance efforts.
Spitzer noted that Datran cooperated fully with his office’s investigation, and that the company began improving its list purchasing and due diligence practices in April 2005, just prior to the commencement of the investigation.
Beth Givens, Director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy organization hailed the settlement.
Spitzer said he hoped the case would help establish basic controls on data compiled and sold by professional consumer research companies and list builders.
"Companies must adhere to known privacy policies and promises. Failing to do so constitutes a clear consumer fraud," said Spitzer.
Spitzer’s office is continuing an investigation into Gratis and other companies that compile and sell consumer information.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Karen Geduldig of the Attorney General’s Internet Bureau, under the direction of Ken Dreifach, Chief of the Internet Bureau, and with the assistance of fraud analyst Sibu Thomas.
Emphasis added. This press release pretty much says it all. Meanwhile, Datran has not issued a press release of its own.
On a related note, Spitzer is ever on the lookout for internet violations. The AG's Internet Bureau has an online complaint form for consumers to file Internet Concerns. A PDF fill-in version of the complaint is here. So, be careful with what you do with personal information and adhear to what you promise to do with such information. You are just a few clicks away from being reported.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Did Tony Soprano Die?
Joho the Blog seems to think so. I posted a comment why I don't think he did.
I'm kind of skeptical that Tony died. Why? Because HBO did not show promos for next week's episode. That's not to say he didn't die, but if HBO were to promo a funeral or hospital scene, it would give away whether or not Tony was killed.
Related, it's weird but when I see the word Sopranos, I see a gun.
Howard Stern vs. CBS - the del.icio.us tag
Howard Stern furnished office with Pottery Barn furniture
If I were the folks over at Pottery Barn, I would be estatic to hear that Howard Stern had furnished his office at Sirius with Pottery Barn furniture. He said this morning that he furnished it for under $10,000.
I wonder if Potter Barn will try to promote this fact.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I Hate Les Moonves
By now, everyone has heard about CBS's frivolous lawsuit against Howard Stern. One of CBS's contention was that Howard and Sirius had a secret agreement whereby Stern received additional compensation for brining in a certain amount of new subscribers attributed to Stern.
Howard contends that the Sirius shares he recieved in January was an accelerated payment. And that there was no secret agreement. On both counts he is correct. And Sirius' SEC filings prove him right.
This January 5, 2006 filing states:
We have directed The Bank of New York, the transfer agent for our common stock, to issue on January 9, 2006 an aggregate of 34,375,000 shares of common stock for the benefit of Howard Stern and Don Buchwald, his agent. Pursuant to our October 2004 agreement with Stern, we agreed to deliver these share in December 2010, or earlier if as of the end of any fiscal year we exceeded agreed upon subscriber targets. Our December 31, 2005 subscriber total exceeded the subscriber target we agreed upon with Stern in October 2004.
And this October 12, 2004 filing states:
We are also obligated to make substantial stock-based incentive payments under the agreement if we significantly exceed agreed upon year-end subscriber targets during the term of the agreement, or acquire material amounts of subscribers during the term directly and trackably through Howard Stern's efforts. In addition, upon reaching an agreed upon number of subscribers, we will share a portion of the revenue we derive directly from advertising on the Howard Stern channels, and the revenue we derive from subscribers acquired during the term directly and trackably through Howard Stern's efforts.
Note the 2004 date. SEC filings are public record, and thus hardly a secret.
Research on web hosting
Mi8 Corporation has a white paper on the 20 Critical Questions to Ask A Microsoft Exchange Service Provider.
Web hosting companies, local VARs, regional Systems Integrators, telecom providers, freelance Microsoft Certified Software Engineers, data center companies -- the list of vendors offering "hosted Microsoft Exchange" is practically endless, and seems to grow longer every day. A search for "hosted Microsoft Exchange" on Google comes up with more than 300,000 results! Given this explosion of so-called "service providers," how is an organization supposed to make an intelligent decision on whom to trust with this mission critical system?
Wyliemac Media is now using the WYSIWYG blog editor and blogging tools from Qumana.
Adjustable-rate mortgage confusing homeowners
Home Improvement Boosts the Markets
Real estate and home improvement Q&A
Caution regarding tornado cleanup scam artists
1. Insist that contractors provide written stimates on company letterhead.
2. Ask contractors to provide written guarantees.
3. Find someone else if a contractor insists on cash payment.
4. Are the contractor's licenses and registrations valid?
5. Did the contractor offer you a legitimate business card?
6. Ask for proof of third-party property and injury insurance.
7. Are the contractor and any related trades persons bonded?
8. Check to see if the contractor is registered with the Better Business Bureau.
9. Ask for proof of membership in local Home Builders Associations or Chambers of Commerce.
10. How long has the contractor been in business and can he/she provide references from previous customers?