I opt out

The red dot junk mail situation couldn’t be better. I have not received a single piece of junkmail that wasn’t addressed to me personally. Sure some junk mail is indeed addressed to me, but it is not the majority of junk mail I used to receive. I’ve gone days with no mail of any kind. Before the red dot, even a single day without mail was so unusual that I’d assume the carrier didn’t come for some reason. Not any more.

Canada Post’s red dot only affects postal mail. But I’ve got more good news! I’ve found another service that will stop some telemarketing.

Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa. I’ve been reading his blog because he’s on the forefront of Canadian privacy issues. He’s been an outspoken critic of Canada’s upcoming do-not-call because a number of special interest groups have managed to exempt themselves from the penalties of violating the list. For example, charities, political parties, polling companies, newspapers, and companies with a prior business relationship can all call you even if you’re on the do-not-call list.

Geist thought this unacceptable. Happily, PIPEDA gave him something to work with. Although political parties, for example, will be exempt from the do-not-call-list restrictions, they are legally restricted from calling you if you tell them you do not want them to call you. Your direct request takes precedence. Of course, few people are going to contact all of the exempted organizations pre-emptively.

The law only requires we inform an organization we do not want their marketing calls. The law doesn’t specify what form the communication must take. This is where Geist’s new site, iOptOut.ca, becomes your best friend. All you need to do is sign up and it will send out a flood of e-mail to the organizations you choose, requesting that you not be contacted.

You can sign up and have all of your information deleted once the messages are sent. On the other hand, if you choose to have your information on file, you can easily add or remove organizations for your list, and be informed when new ones are added, or have the new ones blocked automatically.

Since Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa and holds the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law there, I figure it’s a pretty good bet that he’s not a front for a data-harvesting organization. When I signed up, I opted for a monthly mailing of the newly added organizations. I can pick and choose who to keep and who to block as I see fit.

Once the do-not-call list takes effect this fall, the calls should drop off significantly. In addition, I can manage the exceptions quite nicely, thank you!

I received an e-mail confirmation message listing all the organizations iOptOut.ca contacted on my behalf. It took nearly a week to arrive, but I understand the site has been quite busy. The message is quite long because I blocked all the available organizations. You can see the message below the fold.

From: iOptOut <admin@ioptout.ca>
Date: April 3, 2008 1:58:56 AM GMT-04:00
To: rpali@alienshore.com
Subject: Opt-Out Confirmation
Reply-To: iOptOut <admin@ioptout.ca>

Hello Rick Pali,

This message confirms that iOptOut.ca sent a message at Thu Apr 3 01:51:25 2008 requesting that the following organizations may/may not contact you by telephone or e-mail:

Allowed to call:

Not Allowed to call:
– Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
– Heart and Stroke Foundation
– UNICEF Canada
– Childrens Emergency Foundation
– Childrens Health Foundation
– Save the Children Canada
– Canadian Diabetes Association
– Street Kids International
– Air Canada
– Canadian North Airlines
– Central Mountain Air
– TD Canada Trust
– First Nations Bank of Canada
– Videotron
– Bell Canada
– Telus Mobility
– Shaw Communications
– Amtelecom
– Seaside Communications
– Source Cable
– Globe and Mail, The
– National Post
– Barrie Examiner
– Belleville Intelligencer
– Brantford Expositor
– Chatham Daily News
– Northumberland Today
– Cornwall Standard Freeholder
– Hamilton Spectator
– Kingston Whig-Standard
– Lindsay Daily Post
– Niagara Falls Review
– North Bay Nugget
– Orillia Packet & Times
– Ottawa Sun
– Owen Sound Sun Times
– Pembroke Daily Observer
– Peterborough Examiner
– St. Catharines Standard
– Sarnia Observer
– Sault Star
– Sudbury Star
– Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal
– Timmins Daily Press
– Toronto Star
– Welland Tribune
– Regina Leader-Post
– Calgary Herald
– Vancouver Province
– La Tribune
– La Voix de l\’Est
– Le Soleil
– La Presse
– Le Quotidien
– Le Nouvelliste
– Montreal Gazette
– Conservative Party of Canada
– Green Party of Canada
– Liberal Party of Canada
– Libertarian Party of Canada
– New Democratic Party of Canada
– New Democratic Party of Ontario
– Green Party of Manitoba
– Saskatchewan Party
– New Democratic Party of British Columbia
– New Democratic Party of Nova Scotia
– Yukon Liberal Party
– Compas
– Pollara
– SOM
– Crop
– Ekos
– Chapters/Indigo Books
– Brick, The
– Mountain Equipment Co-Op
– Bank of Montreal
– Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
– Canadian Western Bank
– Fido Solutions
– Ottawa Citizen
– Edmonton Journal
– Forum Research
– Prince George Citizen
– ZINC Research
– Consumer Contact
– Chronicle Herald
– J.D. Power and Associates
– R.A. Malatest & Associates
– Mustel Group
– Matrix Research
– Guelph Mercury
– MD Analytics
– Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
– Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario)
– Canadian Cancer Society (British Columbia)
– Canadian Cancer Society (Yukon)
– Canadian Red Cross
– Canadian Cancer Society (Prince Edward Island)
– Médecins Sans Frontières Canada
– BC SPCA
– British Columbia Libertarian Party
– Alberta Liberal Party
– BBM Canada
– Green Party of Alberta
– Green Party of Ontario
– Canadian Feed the Children
– Greenpeace Canada
– Teleperformance Canada
– GoalLine Solutions
– Le Droit
– Rogers
– Lang Research
– Columbia House Canada
– Bristol Omnifacts Research
– NRG Research Group
– Norsask Consumer Interviewing Services
– Advitek
– Vector Research + Development
– Capital One Canada
– Gemma Communications
– Antima Group, The
– Mountain West Research Center
– Environics Research Group
– Gallup Canada
– Ipsos Canada
– Leger Marketing

Please retain a copy of this message for your records.

Sincerely,

The iOptOut.ca Team

2 thoughts to “I opt out”

  1. My pleasure, Thomas. I thank you too because I meant to provide a link to the previous entry I wrote about the campaign, but forgot. Forgot until I read your comment, that is.

Leave a Reply