Hiding Your Identity: Do Not Identify and Do Not Accept

Yeah, I get spam. I get a lot of it. I do the basics, not posting my email address on public forums and the like.  People can find me though, for the most part. I am on the social networking sites. Also, there are plenty of records in existence that have my name associated with them. There are plenty of people who are much more obsessed with their privacy – I’m talking about the ones you hear about, that want to participate in the Internet. If you stayed off the grid and never got onto the Internet – then its irrelevant because you aren’t reading my blog.

I read about a clever new app for the iPhone called Burner today, that conceals your identity when you place mobile calls. It joins a host of other strategies to conceal identity in order to preserve privacy, such as temporary email addresses. Or the lower tech strategies such as giving false information in forms and fields. Or having multiple, linked email accounts that shuttle email from one account through the spam filter of another.

I have a lot of American friends who employ one or more strategies – because in the US, you do not own most of your private information. That’s why we end up with services like Do Not Call, and they never really work.

Some corporations who, historically have abused their own access to customer data hope to make you afraid to share your data with anyone but them.  This is a naked attempt to monopolize specific market segments, and contrary to the free market that is the Internet. But back to my original point.

I’ve had it with Do Not Identify. My response to Do Not Identify is Do Not Accept. These are not mutually exclusive either.  If I think you are hiding your identity, I don’t answer the phone. If there is a delay between picking up the phone and the first time I hear a voice (a sure sign of an auto-dialer and headset in use), I hang up.

Each sale we process usually includes some sort of license.  It could include a software license agreement, or a content license agreement. Agreements are between entities that exist, not fictitious entities. I won’t license you a product if there is no reasonable way to identify who you are; that also means if you falsify information, you were never licensed to use the product to begin with. That’s the cost of the license and securing your rights to use whatever we are licensing you, including supporting you as a customer, as appropriate to the license.  We need to know who you are to provide what we are selling – and that includes a level of service you should receive as a customer.

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