Friday, April 21, 2000
4/21/2000 10:59:51 AM
eGroups eats customer data, is unresponsive.
eGroups has, apparently, killed off its Calendar function with
no notice to users and no way for them to get their data back.
Leili Towfigh sent in this correspondence from the we have absolutely
no regard for people's personal data wars. Since sending this email
she has received a second breezy, content-free note from someone with
a different name in eGroups customer support; but no explanation, no
apology, and no restitution.
Is anyone associated with eGroups reading this item? I urge you to make this
right. I'll post the news as soon as you let me know you've fixed this
From: L Towfigh
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2000 1:05 AM
Subject: Customer service complaint
I received a strangely blithe message today from someone called
"Kristi" about how the eGroups personal calendar function is no longer
What is up with THAT?
Have you never heard of the not-so-complicated concept of WARNING your
users that you are going to get rid of a function that stores their
data? Data is very important - my CAT understands this very
straightforward idea. Step into the 90s! Other online services I use
such as hotmail, amazon, cdnow have the courtesy to inform me of any
changes to their site that might in some way effect my data, so that I
have time to retrieve the data. Your design folks decided it would be
really cool to blow away my personal calendar and then send a chirpy,
informationless message from "Kristi" that did not address my
questions, told me simply that "the function is no longer available,"
and then thanked me, which added insult to injury. I lost important
calendar entries with ZERO warning from you. Would you also do this to
whole egroups with no warning? I cannot be sure what you'll do now
that you have set an erratic, bizarre precedent.
I have been a vocal promoter of eGroups - UNTIL NOW. Your
irresponsible handling of my data, however, is impetus for me to start
de-promoting you. A fundatmental aspect of building online communities
is a positive public image, that is spread by word of mouth. I will
have no problems letting the MIT community know to stay away from your
service, as you fail to grasp another rather fundamental aspect of
online groupware: your users have to trust that you will take care of
With annoyance and flames,
The personal calendar function is no longer available.
Thanks for using eGroups! For helpful hints please visit:
If you have any further questions please do not reply on this ticket
number. Send another email to firstname.lastname@example.org to create a new
eGroups Support Team
------- Original Message --------
From: L Towfigh
Subject: Personal calendar has disappeared?
Date: 04/03/00 06:41:05
Dear tech support folks --
I appear to be unable to access my personal space / calendar now that
the changes to eGroups have been instituted.
Where is my personal calendar? I belong to six groups and I want to be
able to view the overlay version of the calendar, but cannot! I rely
on this calendar function to store my information, so it is very
important that I be able to access the information as soon as
possible, like, today, so I know what appointments I have! I did not
see any warnings that my personal space would be deleted or replaced,
so what's the deal?
4/21/2000 10:29:44 AM
Privacy invasion built into the Net's bones.
This is very bad. Read the latest
Privacy Forum about
the well-advanced plans of
Predictive Networks. In short,
this company -- and (apparently) others in the pipeline -- intends to capture
100% of users' clickstream data from ISPs and even backbone providers.
Options for opting out of such a scheme may be anywhere from impractical to
impossible -- as well as costly, because ISPs are expected to offer lower rates
to users who don't object to having their every move in cyberspace snooped.
Here is Privacy Forum moderator Lauren Weinstein's call to action. Speak up
now. A good first step would be to join Weinstein's People
for Internet Responsibility.
We still have the chance to say that our personal information is our
own and that our Web browsing behavior is private. We may yet be
able to successfully assert that we won't be manipulated, coerced,
or otherwise "bribed" into allowing our Web activities to (as "The
Prisoner" put it) be "pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed,
debriefed, or numbered!"
The Internet and Web have tremendous commercial potential. But it
can be achieved ethically and without the use of obnoxious
technologies that are being shoved down our throats like feed for
animals destined for the dinner table. The firms who view the
Internet as little more than a "cash cow" are already placing the
software rings in our noses in an effort to see us made easier to
manipulate and control.
The stink of the slaughterhouse may not be far away.
Thursday, April 20, 2000
4/20/2000 2:34:44 PM
A well anarchized telecom infrastructure.
in Salon, chapter six of Andrew Leonard's online book-in-the-works,
is titled Finland -- the open-source society. Here we learn
why Finland is so dominant in cell phones. This lucky 21st-century
positioning was set up a century ago by the Finnish government's
decision to grant phone company licenses to every applicant, instead
of making phone service a monopoly. Seems the Finns feared that the
Russians, who dominated them, might try to take over the phone
system, and wanted it decentralized.
I owe this link to Travis J.I. Corcoran, who adds his own uniquely American
coda to the Finnish constitution:
A well anarchized telecom infrastructure, being necessary to
the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and
bear Phones, shall not be Infringed.
Wednesday, April 19, 2000
4/19/2000 3:38:45 PM
Peacefire's Bennett Haselton has discovered a clever exploit that exposes
files on a Windows machine running Netscape 4.x, if
enabled. So far it works only on Windows, but Haselton believes that different
versions could be tailored for other platforms. Here's the
The exploit works by setting a cookie on the user's browser whose
Tuesday, April 18, 2000
4/18/2000 11:45:06 AM
Monday, April 17, 2000
4/17/2000 2:30:41 PM
Sunday, April 16, 2000
4/16/2000 2:32:42 PM
Fiber bites backhoes (and cars).
The war between backhoe and fiber
is usually pretty one-sided. But TBTF Irregular Eric Scheid points
out one way in which fiber is landing some blows. It seems that city
streets, repeatedly dug up and poorly patched back together to
install fiber, are wreaking havoc on vehicles' front ends. As
...auto repair shops are likely benefiting big from the broadband
explosion as streets are torn up to wire locations where there is
a concentration of Internet users. Innovation is causing untold
damage to axles and undercarriages.