A letter from OfficeMax to the father of a teenage girl killed in an automobile crash may prove to be privacy’s “whale song”—the equivalent of those “ethereal noises” that gave the anti-whaling movement the inspiration it needed, University of Washington School of Law Prof. Ryan Calo writes for Forbes. “The privacy community has been waiting for its proverbial whale song since the database debates from that same time period,” Calo writes. The letter read “Daughter Killed In Car Crash Or Current Business” under the recipient’s name and above his address. “Let that sink in for a second,” Calo writes. “A father lost his daughter, and OfficeMax or its provider used this fact to select how to market to him … reducing the Seay family to some category peddled by data brokers. On paper, for the world to see.”
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