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Thursday, September 20, 2007


It doesn’t get much dumber than to send junk mail (US Postal Service or e-mail) to people who have said they don’t want it. But 14 percent of junk mailers say they still send marketing e-mail to people who have opted out of receiving it. Industry publication Direct says it comes from giants like Circuit City, Kmart, Colgate-Palmolive, Williams-Sonoma, Plow & Hearth and Smithsonian magazine. The article by Ken Magill titled “DMers Show Signs of Getting it…Sort of” sounds like even he isn’t sure whether this bunch will ever learn. To quote Magill: “Though they’re a heck of a lot of fun to drink with, sometimes my DMer friends can be mind-bogglingly stupid. As I recall, that’s what annual junk mail conventions were a lot about (drinking), so watch out Chicago, they’ll be there in October. For those of you planning to back Rudy Giuliani, you might want to think twice after what was recently published in the Huffington Post. Stephen Schlesinger’s headline reads: “Giuliani: worse Than Bush.” Giuliani not only wants to keep the USA Patriot Act in force, he wants to strengthen it by not “unrealistically” limiting electronic surveillance. The word “unrealistically” reeks of Big Brother Bush, and Schlesinger thinks he could be scarier than GWB. All we need is someone even scarier than Cheney—if that’s possible—to be his VP. I don’t know about you but this bothers me more than what we might expect from the remainder of this administration’s term in office. Something to think about is Schlesinger’s reminder to voters that the highest post to which Giuliani has ever risen is Mayor. In late August, the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS) decided to out the Social Security numbers of its retirees, a total of around 445,000 of them. See the stories in Government Technology and COMPUTERWORLD. Seems like yet another very dumb employee sent a disc to the printer with all the Social Security numbers on it, when it was supposed to contain only names and addresses. The SS numbers were printed on a brochure in “a sequence of numbers without hyphens. Now here’s where we come to the second, even dumber move by CalPERS. They told the retirees that, because the numbers were printed without hyphens, they shouldn’t worry, because no one but them would recognize them as Social Security numbers. Where have these people been, shut up in a room without TV or newspapers for the last three years? Most ID thieves would recognize the numbers in a heartbeat, but now CalPERS has led the least sophisticated of the crooks to the treasure trove with its release of how the numbers were printed. ChoicePoint started it, but government agencies have taken the lead in compromising our sensitive data.

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