The Interview And The

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Print this article Print

Punch Line"> So I called the phone number from the Whois record to ask the Registry what was up. Surprise—an actual human being answered, took a message and said that the NASR would call me back later that day. Of course, I didnt hear from them again. Looks like the information we get about the NASR will have to come from their site, for what little thats worth.

The real fun begins when you read the sites privacy policy. I suppose its just a stock privacy policy on which they did a search-and-replace. For example, there are places in it where there obviously should be an active link, but theres only plain text.
In any event, youd expect an anti-spam registry to be sensitive about the use of private information, such as, just for example, your e-mail address. Instead, it appears that private information can be passed around to strangers and their friends, as long as they become part of the "National Anti Spam Registry group."

Heres the text in question:
    "By providing National Anti Spam Registry with your personally identifiable information, you authorize National Anti Spam Registry to internally share that information with other companies in the National Anti Spam Registry group, including companies that become part of the National Anti Spam Registry group in the future. You can see a current list of National Anti Spam Registry companies here:" "Any company in the National Anti Spam Registry group (including National Anti Spam Registry) is authorized to share your personally identifiable information with any other company of the National Anti Spam Registry group for the following purposes: to manage, administer, provide, expand and improve the existing National Anti Spam Registry group products and services, and to offer new products and services; to adapt such products and services to your tastes and preferences; to send service updates to National Anti Spam Registry users; to send, by traditional and/or electronic means, technical, operational and commercial information relating to the products and services offered by the National Anti Spam Registry group or through any of the sites operated by the National Anti Spam Registry group, currently and in the future; and to send you survey forms, which you are not required to fill in." "Of course, National Anti Spam Registry and the National Anti Spam Registry group companies will always give you the option to opt out of receiving any information or notices as described above, other than legal notices and other notices that are necessary to the functioning of the Products and Services, during the time that you are using the Products and Services or maintain an active registration with the National Anti Spam Registry Corporation. Companies in the National Anti Spam Registry group may have a physical address in a foreign country. In any event, National Anti Spam Registry will take precautions to maintain the confidentiality and security of all user information sent abroad."
This doesnt give me a warm fuzzy about registering with the National Anti Spam Registry Corp. It tells me that I will get e-mail from other companies with which I did not register. "Anti Spam Registry" indeed! In addition, I dont take much comfort from the companys assertion that I can opt out later. So CAN-SPAM is not even up and running and were already seeing entrepreneurs sleazing off of it. Not an uplifting story; perhaps the more they try to fix the problem the worse it will get. Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983.

More from Larry Seltzer

Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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