back to article Max Schrems: The privacy bubble needs to start 'getting sh*t done'

"The problem we have in the privacy bubble is that we're great at saying how evil and bad everything is... but we're not that great at getting shit done." Max Schrems, the privacy activist known for reducing the Safe Harbor data-sharing deal to tatters, is making one final attempt to spur the community he's been at the heart …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's "put up or shut up" time, because I don't suppose there will be many more guys like this that have the tools and experience and are prepared to roll their sleeves up and tackle the Goo-Books of the world. People have got to stand behind this guy and push the message home or we're just going to get more of Zuck's inane new years resolutions from now until the end of time.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Unfortunately, it looks mostly like just "shut up" time - I've been looking at that number each and every day, and while it's steadily climbing it does so at a pace more glacial than an elderly snail. That it asks for an ongoing commitment probably doesn't help, although I can completely understand why it is necessary and ultimately it might not make that much of a difference. The slight problem of getting privacy-conscious folks to advertise the project on social media does remain though - if they're anything like me, they might have no way whatsoever to do that even if they wanted to...

      PS - just noticed they removed the "mini noyb (250K) / full noyb (500K)" target - now it's just "250k or bust", exactly what I meant...

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        The phrase "I've nothing to hide" is a pacifier to those who willingly allow their data to be used by people they can't see. They don't value it because they, themselves, haven't paid for it and they don't personally see a monetary value to it. They don't understand how the data is used, where its used, what it's used for. If they did they'd be more selective with what they share.

        Case in point: I was buying something from Cath Kidston for my sister over Christmas. The lady behind the counter asked me for a postcode, I gave her the first 3 letters of it, she then asked for an email address. I then asked why, and she said it was for market research and to see if I was a returning customer. I declined to give her anything more than the first 3 letters. She said OK. But it wasn't until I asked was I told what my information was being collected for. I told this story to my wife, and she said "Oh I don't care I just give them the information. You're too paranoid".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "The lady behind the counter asked me for a postcode, I gave her the first 3 letters of it!

          Why give that much? It wasn't needed information.

          When GDPR comes into operation I wonder how long it will take for businesses to discover that their marketing departments are their biggest risk.

          Example: a few days ago I received a letter addressed:

          $ME

          Address removed

          at customers request

          MARKETED AT

          $POSTCODE

          Marketing just behave like four year-olds who won't be told 'no'.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            "Example: a few days ago I received a letter addressed:

            $ME

            Address removed

            at customers request

            MARKETED AT

            $POSTCODE"

            Looks a lot like that was sent by a computer, not a human, because a human wouldn't have sent to an obviously duff address. So by a system designed by an IT person. And clearly Marketing have tried to remove details but the IT system didn't let them do it properly.

            So whose fault is it that the IT doesn't work properly? Whoever specced and implemented it.

            Why didn't marketing sit down and talk about what they wanted? Maybe because their IT treat them like four year olds.

            1. SPiT

              Marketing departments really are dumb imbeciles

              Marketing departments really are dumb imbeciles. I received several marketing letters addressed to "<father's name> (DECEASED)" after my dad died. The companies involved managed to update their customer databases following a clear cut internal process and yet the marketing team completely ignored this. It is perhaps worth observing that even the GDPR seems to have no real provisions for dealing with this as it is mis-use of the personal information of a dead person. However, if it happened to me now I would be writing back and pointing out that the address was my personal information and that they had no cause to process it the way they had and no registration to use that way and I would be asking for a formal response on what steps they were taking to correct their procedures to make sure illegal processing didn't occur in the future but all that only works because my address as executor differed from his.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Example: a few days ago I received a letter addressed:

            $ME

            Address removed

            at customers request

            MARKETED AT

            $POSTCODE

            - That's quite an impressive postal service you've got there - glad they could find you!

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          and to see if I was a returning customer

          So asking for contact information they don't need is so much better than just asking?

          That said, I bet they have some sort of identification on credit/debit card tokens so they can follow the same "person" from visit to visit...

        3. clarks456

          Thoughts on giving email addresses for receipts? Irritating because you know exactly why they actually want it, but getting a receipt emailed is significantly better than a paper one IMO.

    2. Bogle

      Through the company

      If it makes it any easier for others, I thought to put this on my company debit card (contractor, here). That way I can mark it as Charitable Donation and my accountant deals with it. Also means as long as there's money coming in some small part of it will be going to NOYB.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a sad state of affairs that realistically governments should be doing this and they're not.

    1. ratfox Silver badge

      Well realistically, there's not much governments can do, short of banning Facebook et al. They could maybe offer an ultimatum and a limit date, like starting from 2020, no private information is allowed to leave the continent, or your service is banned. But I'm not sure that if push came to shove, they would have the balls to actually go through with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'not much governments can do'

        Well done! That's exactly what big tech want you to believe!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Got to disagree there, there's a lot governments can do.

        Enforce the laws in place to protect the electorate, fine them daily till they do it.

        If we need new laws to protect privacy and the unscrupulous actions of these companies then create them.

        There's a reason our government isn't doing this and it's down to lobbying and the sharing of information.

        Welcome to the latter stages of the age where corporations become more powerful than elected government.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "It's possible for $BigCorp, ... to delay procedures over and over again,""

    FTFY.

    This is SOP for everyone US Corp, and most other countries especially when they know deep down they are doing wrong, have done wrong and absolutely plan to keep on doing wrong.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its come too late...

    Max is a dude, but I fear this is just too little too late. I see no alternative to the looming Privacy Apocalypse. Look at Carphone-Warehouse's leaky fine. What's new? Their brand-storename is as legacy as their security!

    Its like the internet is dominated by diocracy types who don't value their privacy and just don't get it, and never will. For the rest of us regular readers of the Reg... We know the dangers. We know where this is heading, and its all bad. I find myself unplugging often, but life goes on.

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