Scam alert: [Fwd: Thank you from One Laptop per Child]

John Gilmore gnu at
Sun Nov 16 19:44:17 EST 2008

> >> this mail was/is legitimate, and is part of the G1G1 launch
> >> starting tomorrow.  the links go through a redirector so that
> >> OLPC can see statistics on click-through responses.
> I'm sorry, if I get an e-mail with visible links to
> and the hidden version not coming from
> the domain I will delete first and ask
> questions later.

OLPC should NEVER be tricking its donors with email spy techniques!

I've gone one step further than deleting the messages.  I've stopped
funding nonprofits who use this kind of surreptitious monitoring in
their bulk mailings.  You'd be surprised how many nonprofits have been
snowed by bulk email providers like Convio into perverting the
recipient's classic postal-mail / email assumptions.  Commercial
companies are so afraid of being tarred with the spammer brush that
they don't do this -- but nonprofits aren't yet that smart.  They
violate donor expecations like like:

  *  Once you sent it, you don't know when, where, or whether I read it
     (unless it comes as a "registered letter" with explicit tracking).
  *  I can read it over and over again without you finding out
  *  I can copy and forward it to others and you can't tell who forwarded it.

These social expectations are being deliberately and silently broken
by including "web bugs", "tracking links" and similar monitoring
devices into ordinary emails.  I encourage everybody who receives
such mails to delete them unread, to chastize the organization
that sent them (if they can be found), and to stop funding or
supporting any org that persists.

If an email sender wants to track the popularity of its emails that
include links, that's easy to do by looking at how many accesses are
made to the web pages that it links to.  You can even link to a
landing page for each such email that you send (to 1000 or 100,000
people), rather than linking to a pre-existing page.  That kind of
monitoring doesn't intrude on personal privacy by trying to figure out
WHICH email recipient clicked on the link -- it just counts how many

You can turn off all these intrusive technologies in the Convio user
interface -- but they default to "on", because Convio and its sister
companies care more about data-mining than they do about donor privacy
or social cohesion.  And they'll continue to do so until donors
ostracize any nonprofit who does this.

	John Gilmore

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