Psst, spammers! Want a …

Psst, spammers! Want a targeted list of email addresses for people running weblogs? Wait no more… [via Cardhouse]

Or if you want to scrape this user profile database for email addresses, you could easily write a little script that starts at one user profile (like this one) and then proceeds to follow the “Next Member” links until it gets to the end. Boy am I glad I asked Userland to remove my various accounts from their system a while ago. Don’t read me wrong. I think Userland’s software is quite interesting and useful in certain instances, but I worry about this breach of user privacy.

So Dave emails me this morning:

Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 06:32:21 -0800
From: Dave Winer
Subject: What many people do.. get an email address at Yahoo or Hotmail, or even worse, they make one up. It’s like a URL, a unique string that has an at-sign in it. Also, you’ll see [ed. Daves’ email address removed upon request] in that list, so I get spam too. It’s not such a big deal, to me at least, I just ignore it. Have a nice day. Dave

Dave is missing the point. An email address is part of a person’s online identity. To store those identities and profiles in a publicly-available system is a breach of the privacy and trust between the owner of the email address and the site storing the data. If I didn’t know any better I’d think that Dave and Userland don’t care about their users’ privacy. An anonymous reader writes in saying that Userland also allows public access to an 885K XML file that contains both email addresses and associated names. An guess what? My contact information is in there even though I don’t recall ever asking Userland to include CamWorld in their “weblog list”. Jeez.

Bloomberg: Microsoft Executive Says Linux Threatens Innovation. “I’m an American, I believe in the American Way,” Allchin said. “I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policy makers to understand the threat.” Apparently Microsoft hasn’t read this Gartner Group report or this report on Open Source software within the government. Or what about this report saying that NASA is starting to use Open Source software over proprietary solutions. And then there’s this excellent discussion about public policy supporting Open Source software. Oh yeah, and the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee released a report last year urging the use of Open Source software for high-end computing (PDF).

OGS Project: Creating an open definition for Groupware Client to Server communication

ZDNet’s Talkback Central: XUL is here, Microsoft.Net is not

XUL: Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare?

Technology News: From FUD to Trash Talk

Microsoft plans to sit inside your refrigerator. Oh crap, my ice cream will never make it.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at February 15, 2001 07:58 PM