I’ve previously noted how Pam Dixon of World Privacy Forum gave extremely powerful testimony before Senator Rockefeller’s hearing on data brokers. Pam had pointed out that marketers had no shame, and she used as her example that there were lists on sale for “rape sufferers” for 7.9 cents/name (you can read WPF’s full testimony here). Within 24 hours, the company selling the “rape sufferers” list, MEDbase200, had removed the list from its site.
But seemingly proving Pam’s point about the lack of shame, I came across this follow-up from Jennifer Pfalz:
The president of the Direct Marketing Association, Linda Woolley, released a statement defending such lists in which she noted that they comprise a “tiny minority” of marketing that is sold. She acknowledged that the lists are used in some situations to harm certain groups and stated that the DMA is against the practice. She also added that the names of some lists are misleading and that the majority of lists focus on hobbies and interests of the people listed.
Sure, Linda, let’s just defend those lists. And if the DMA is “against the practice” of lists that can be used to harm certain groups, why not just join efforts to prohibit such lists? Oh, that’s right… there’s money to be made and you won’t speak up to interfere with profit, will you?
Pam was right. They have no shame.
Perhaps we should thank Ms. Woolley for providing legislators with more proof as to why Congress must do something to protect privacy from shameless marketers who do not let common decency and respect for privacy get in the way of making a profit.