Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Verizon violates its customers' privacy

Once again showing that some corporations have no shame when it comes to how they deal with customers, Verizon has decided that you need to opt-out of their program to share your personal information. You see, in Verizon's eyes, it's their information, not yours.
David Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and the more recent Everything is Miscellaneous received a letter today from Verizon. A "legalistic pamphlet" that informed him he has 45 days to opt out of 'agreeing' to let Verizon share his personal information.


This information includes "services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with 'affiliates, agents and parent companies.' It will definitely not be shared with 'unrelated third parties' ... unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck 'affiliate' means," Wienberger wrote.
Weinberger isn't sure what "affiliate" means under these terms. I'm not sure what "agent" means. Is that CIA, FBI, Secret Service or DEA?

Has the Bush/Cheney/Rove mindset of spying on Americans for their own protection from those evil terrorists finally come to fruition in the private sector?

Memo to Verizon: You don't start from a point of automatically selling or giving away the customer's personal information, unless they've sifted through your fine print. The starting point is to ask the customer to opt-in if they would like their information to be shared. Otherwise you risk anger, backlash, and loss of customers. It's basic customer service: Treat your customers with respect. Unfortunately, Verizon is failing miserably in that department.

Hey Verizon, can you hear me now?


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