Scare Tactics

by Chris Kenton on February 9, 2005

I consider myself fairly balanced on privacy issues. I keep my firewall on stealth mode; I register with a fake name on sites that I don’t want spamming me; I even take the time to keep up with the opt-out policies of my credit card companies. But I willingly disclose personal information to a company I trust enough to
do business with, because I understand there is a reasonable potential that such information will
improve the products and services available to me.

There’s good reason to be careful about who gets hold of your private information, but to hear the ACLU tell it, Big Business and Big Government are joining forces to harrass, embarrass and terrorize you with all the dirty details of your daily life. Check out this campaign posted on the ACLU Web site. Make sure you watch carefully. That’s right, according to the ACLU, the brave new world of eliminated privacy means that the pizza joint down the street will know as much about you as the FBI. Why? Because businesses are part of the evil conspiracy connected to "The System", of course.

It’s not that I expect the ACLU to be balanced, but doesn’t anyone there have the IQ to understand that going over the top on the scare tactics eliminates their credibility? There are serious issues regarding privacy and  access to personal information–issues I’m interested in as a consumer and a marketer–but this is ridiculous. And ironic. They’re utilizing the same tactics of fear and misinformation they claim to be fighting–they’re just not doing it well. 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan Knowles February 10, 2005 at 8:08 pm

At the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, I would welcome the creation of a consumer profiling service accessible to pizza vendors, credit card companies, market research agencies and anyone else with legal wares to sell. I would happily surrender some portion of my civil liberties if that cut down on the massive amount of irrelevant information that I am bombarded with.
Better yet would be scheme that allows – even pays – consumers to maintain their own profile, and automatically opt into receiving offers that meet their criteria.

Kevin Dugan February 11, 2005 at 5:09 am

Chris – The balance of emotion and logic in an effective argument is always tricky. But it seems to me that when you err on the side of emotion, you take a pass on credibility.

Great to see you aggregating the Bizweek content and getting your opinion out with the blog.

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