back to article GDPR...rrrse! Mass-mail fail as German biz asks UK resellers for consent to use their dealer data

Car heating tech biz Webasto's cunning plan to get all its resellers to sign up to say they consented to having their data accessed, as required under GDPR regs, went a bit wrong when the German company accidentally CC'd a large number of people in its UK dealer network. We'll spare the blushes of the person responsible (hi …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

    Though thankfully never having been subject to the embarrassment of sending such mails, I have received a few in my time.

    It's always best when you get the complete contact list of the condescending arse who thinks he's better than everyone and does not hesitate to show it. Mind you, I never got to rib him on his mistake, he curiously very quickly left the company after that mail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

      I remember how once, a guy in a company I worked for sent a stupid email joke to a few too many people (thank you, global AD address book!). Corporate HR in the US demanded he be fired on the spot. Local French HR then tediously had to explain them that wasn't the way it was done in civilized countries. And that was that, and life went on.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

        Was the joke about our leftpondian cousins :O)

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

        I once accidentally sent "101 slang terms for the penis" to an important client whose name happened to match the name of a colleague. (Damn x500 directory services)

        Fortuantely, I never heard anything.. Maybe he found it funny!

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

          Fortuantely, I never heard anything.. Maybe he found it funny!

          More likely that either the spam filters caught it or if it got through then the admin nuked it.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

            It was back in 1995 - we didn't have spam filters back then. The admin weren't allowed to dip into staff mailboxes either.

            I was going to contact him to apologise but was advised that raising the issue could make things worse - he was more likely to just delete it (seeing as it had been sent to CC list of about 20 or so, rather than actually make a complaint.

            Peter Smith (the other one!) - I owe you a pint!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

              I had filtering for my email nearly as soon as I had email (late 1970s), for various reasons. Bozo filtering was common on USENET by the mid 1980s. Certainly by the time of Canter and Siegel (April '94) filtering out such dreck was trivial at the local level. I know I already had filtering on the email systems I provided by that time ...

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Ah, the joys of career-ending emails

                Ah, yeah, the old usenet killfile etc.

                As for email, I first got proper email in 1988, but I was never popular enough to have to filter it! not for a number of years (and even then, it was only done by automatically changing my usenet posting address to a temporary time-expiring email address - I just checked my maillog - in the last month, I stil had spam attempts sent to jamie.97223@... - an address that has been invalid for 22 years!)

                I don't think many corporate email systems had spam filtering then. Still, I should have be clearer - I know ours didn't, and I'm pretty sure his didn't either.

  2. Joe W Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Muphry....

    Brilliant.

    Now I have to call our IT inhouse service, I am afraid... (see icon)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Muphry....

      Where have you been these last thirty-ish years? That particular pseudo-fumblerule was officially coined in 1992 ... and was seen on USENET approximately seven years earlier.

      Don't you just love English? It's the crème de la crème of all languages, and the lingua franca of The Internet.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Muphry....

        According to Wiki, the law shows up a lot further back than that though it wasn't named as such. The name seems to have been attached somewhere in the late '50s. I remember hearing it back in the late 60's while in the military.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Muphry....

          @Mark 85

          That's Murphy's Law, which is indeed very old indeed. Jake was talking about the intentional typograph of Muphry's Law, which is an internet meme.

      2. Alister Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Muphry....

        Don't you just love English? It's the crème de la crème of all languages, and the lingua franca of The Internet.

        There's a je-ne-sais-quoi about English which your bon mot highlights admirably, in what other language could one describe the schadenfreude of watching someone struggle with a rucksack, for instance.

        :)

      3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Muphry....

        Don't you just love English? It's the crème de la crème of all languages, and the lingua franca of The Internet.

        To steal a phrase from Mr Nicoll, "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

  3. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    It might be better if email clients have the CC field disabled/hidden by default, and for mail servers to strip out that field from external emails.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      No, there are many genuine reasons why you need to use CC.

      However, what might be a better idea is that the software is set to query when more than a set number of CCs are included in an email. Then, instead of the email being sent out immediately as is, it either requires a "higher authority" to give the go ahead or a large message asking "Did you really mean to do this?"

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Some email programs do

        See title

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: Some email programs do

          I wasn't aware of that! Can you tell us which ones do? I'm using Thunderbird and I can't see an option to do that there, unless it's via an add-on.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Yes... "Cc" was quite useful in the "good old days" for small group discussions, but these days it's far too often used where "Bcc" would be more appropriate... The 2 fields should be swapped in importance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: cc'ing

        A useful reference pie chart for reasons for using the CC field:

        https://i.imgur.com/bGvIKoJ.jpg

        1. Cederic Bronze badge

          Re: RE: cc'ing

          That omits the primary factor: "Because I'm doing reply-all without thinking"

    3. eldakka Silver badge

      It might be better if email clients have the CC field disabled/hidden by default, and for mail servers to strip out that field from external emails.

      Considering you have just described exactly how the BCC header works, why would you filter out the CC field? If you don't want it stripped out from recipients, you use CC, if you do want it stripped you use BCC. Although having a warning pop up in the client when sending external emails with a lot of CC's, an "All recipients on the CC list can see the complete list of CC email addresses, are you sure?" is a thing and can be done on enterprise-grade email clients, outlook, lotus notes (does anyone still use this?).

      Better still, when sending corporate communications mass-mailings, don't fire up your standard email client, use one of the numerous 'email-merge' programs, where you write a form email, have a list of recipients, and the app will take care of sending the emails by generating a separate unique 'personalised' email for each and every recipient on the list.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        email merge

        Just as an addendum, as I got curious about email merging, if you are a Microsoft shop, you can do email-merges using MS Word, so don't even need any specialised software to do mass-mailings.

        And looking a bit further, Libre Office can also do it, and is in fact more flexible because it can directly contact an SMTP server, whereas MS office requires a MAPI email client (outlook, etc.) to also be installed.

        TIL.

  4. EastFinchleyite

    Obligatory XKCD cartoon

    [url]https://www.xkcd.com/2139/

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory XKCD cartoon

      BB-codes don't work on this forum and you didn't terminate it either, but here is the link.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Address book fail

    A colleague of mine used to work in the radio industry and one morning after a staff party for the local office sent a group email along the lines of "I might not be particularly efficient today - you can tell how bad my hangover is by how much I look like Alice Cooper"

    He sent it to the "all" address which turned out not to be all people at his station, but all people in the radio network's empire...which happened to include Alice Cooper who had a syndicated radio show.

    He actually got a reply from the man himself asking "...and what's wrong with looking like Alice Cooper?"

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Address book fail

      There's nothing wrong with trying to look like Alice ... Marilyn Manson even made a couple bucks from the concept. Would have probably gone far if he had even half the stage presence ...

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Don't worry

    After Oct, 31, GDPR won't apply anymore in UK will it?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry

      After Oct, 31, GDPR won't apply anymore in UK will it?

      It will for those companies who want to deal with the rest of Europe.

      What am I saying! After Oct 31st the United Kingdom (what a misnomer) won't be talking to Europe ever again, of course not. But we will write our own bigger and better GDPR with lots of Union Jacks and unicorns.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry

      "After Oct, 31, GDPR won't apply anymore in UK will it?"

      It will. As will all other EU Directives. EU Directives are not laws as such, they are guidance on how to enact a law locally to match the Directive and be at least quite similar to the laws enacted by the other EU members so everyone is playing by more or less the same rules.

      When we leave the EU, we have to rescind all those laws enacted by Parliament if we want to change things.

  7. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Windows

    I love it when that happens. People don't realise "recall this message" isn't even an Exchange function, it's just Outlook. And most of the time it doesn't work anyway.

    But, you know, as you're already in a hole, you might as well try and dig your way out, I suppose...

    1. Outski

      Actually, it is an Exchange function, and a Notes/Domino function. Unfortunately, it's not an SMTP function, which means it'll never work outside the particular unified bit of your organisation's disparate mail systems. And even internally, people will often have the option of setting "Don't allow people to recall messages sent to me".

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019