We Take Your Privacy

April 8, 2011

1:30 pm

In the past week, I’ve gotten an email from just about every online retailer I’ve ever given an email address to, each informing me that a third party email service provider, Epsilon, has suffered a data breach.  While the exact wording of each of these emails is unique, the general message is the same.

What follows is a generic version of these emails with a number of “clarifications” provided.

One (translation: “one of many” vendors and partners we license, sell, rent and/or distribute your personally identifying information to) of our email service providers (spam factories), Espamilon, has informed us (and hundreds of vendors like us) that we (note that this is about us, not you) are among a collection of retailers affected by a data breach that may have (translation: did) exposed your email address to unauthorized (meaning we didn’t get paid for the use of your email address) third parties.

You should know that this breach did not include any account, credit or other personally identifiable (other than your email address) information (because we sell that to other, more reliable (we hope, though, not sure we’ve actually checked) vendors).

We take your privacy very seriously, as do the hundred or so vendors that you have likely gotten very similar emails from this week (you can be assured of this because your data is a source of revenue for us). Espamilon has assured us that no private information, other than your email address, was involved in the breach. (Again, we are fairly confident about this statement as we don’t sell that particular data to Espamilon). We regret (but really, we have no liability here anyway) any inconvenience that this may cause you (like even more spam).

We advise you to be extremely cautious before opening emails from senders you do not recognize. (But do open emails from us, even though they don’t really come from us, but are sent from a third party mailer with our return email address. We expect you are sophisticated enough to be able to tell the difference between our legitimate emails and any spam that your email address gets used for).

We thank you for your understanding in this matter. (But again, it doesn’t matter because we really have no liability here.)

Sincerely,
John Smith
Midlevel Customer Scapegoat

 

Image by Flickr member topgold.

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Frank Oelschlager is a serial entrepreneur with 20 years experience in software and technology companies. He enjoys building companies (creating jobs), bringing new technologies and products to market (solving problems), and learning about the things people are doing with technology. When he’s not working, Frank likes to compose music, play guitar, walk in the woods or mountains with his camera, read, try something completely new, or just hang out with the family on the porch with a glass of good wine.

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