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11.7.09

Is New Zealand Post now in the spam business? 

Seriously, does anyone think remotely people will fall for this? But then, people fall for Nigerian 419 scams, so maybe the answer is yes.
   I was surprised to receive this brochure addressed to me in my post box last week, from no less an organization than New Zealand Post:

NZ Post spam permission form

   Essentially, this is a form requesting your details so you can be added to lists.
   Ironical that in with anti-spam legislation, another government department is prepared to sell our personal information to (including foreign spammers which our law enforcement agencies cannot pursue readily), and believes one’s identity is only worth a maximum of $15,000.
   Specifically, New Zealand Post says, so there is no confusion about my statement above:

By undertaking the New Zealand Post survey, your and your partner’s name, address and other information you supply (including your email and telephone numbers if you tick the boxes below), may be provided to companies and other organisations from New Zealand and overseas to enable them to provide you and/or your partner, with information about products and services relevant to your responses to this survey. New Zealand Post may also use this information for the same purpose.

   There is no word on any guarantee that a consumer might have in terms of one’s data being used . There is no mention of a real . (New Zealand Post thinks the above is it! It refers to an online one, which repeats the same thing.) We do not know who the spammers might be. We do not know if we can ever opt-out of these mailings, or if there is any way we can identify them as having come via our participation in this so-called survey.
   We all know what happens after this, as anyone who has been on the internet for any reasonable amount of time has discovered. addresses, phone numbers, cellphone numbers and other information have a funny way of “leaking” out to less than scrupulous types.
   The above clause is already in something like 7 pt type on the original. Would you believe there is “small print” on the back in 5 pt?
   There, New Zealand Post disclaims liability for ‘any claims, losses, damages, injuries, costs and expenses suffered or sustained or incurred (including but not limited to indirect or consequential loss), arising out of or in any way connected with the competition and/or its prizes except for liability that cannot be excluded by law.’ It doesn’t give me much assurance: it can’t really be found guilty of passing on information that a consumer submits voluntarily, and based on this term it won’t be found guilty of contributing to the spam problem that we are all trying to fight.
   While New Zealand Post hasn’t technically deceived, I think this is an awful and should be reported to the Consumers’ Institute, or to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ Scamwatch programme.
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Comments:
Jack I couldn't agree more. When I opened that bit of mail I kept turning the page over and over and over expecting there to be a punch line somewhere.

"Ha ha ... April-fools from us crazy guys at NZ Post"

I mean truly!! Whose harebrained idea was this?

It would be interesting to see what the eventual outcome of this ridiculous exercise is. I seriously doubt this foolish misadventure will generate sufficient new income for NZ Post to justify the cost of the campaign, let alone the damage to their reputation.

I guess on the upside they have given some of us a good laugh at their expense and something to bitch about for a week or so.

Most of us wouldn't be willing to sell our privacy and identity for a meagre change to win a relatively small prize; but these are desperate times and perhaps they've seen how injudiciously Gen-Y shares their personal information.

What next? Will the IRD be giving us personal tax discounts in returns for selling our demographics to marketing firms? :p  
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Note

Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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