Wednesday, August 6, 2008

do you really want the data?

I often get emails like this one ....... asking me to complete online questionnaires - which I usually complete to help develop my 'subject knowledge'. This one offered only the possibility of winning 500 Airmiles in a draw - in itself hardly a significant inducement for 10 minutes of my life. After a few control questions I was asked in detail about my newspaper-reading habits, and then came across this:
Well, I'm sorry Aurora, that's where I stopped - for a number of reasons, not least:

(1) I'm completing this as a favour to you [my chance of winning the prize is extremely limited] - so don't ask me to sign your version of the official secrets act.
(2) If I did 'agree' - how far does this go? Would it mean I couldn't tell my wife I had completed the questionnaire?
(3) If I did work for a competitor, or thought I could sell any information, wouldn't I just tick the 'yes' box?
(4) If this information is indeed confidential - what are you doing making it available to the general public
and finally, perhaps I am just too cynical, but
(5) Although I re-read it a number of times, "... may receive information ... " sounds to me like I am signing up to receive permission-based mailings - if this is the case, shame on you Aurora,this puts a new slant on 'covert'.

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