As a follow-up to Jim’s big brother update on Friday, Mike Allen at Politico writes the White House has routinely ignored standard rules on collecting e-mail addresses and sending broadcast e-mails to the addresses collected.
When you sign up for our daily e-mail here at Radio Vice Online, you go through what’s called a double opt-in process. You provide us an e-mail address, we (actually our service) sends the e-mail provided a confirmation e-mail including a unique link to confirm you own the e-mail address and you want to get e-mail from us.
Same thing for posting comments. To register, there is the same double opt-in process.
The White House figures if you provide an e-mail address to an organization, and that organization provides your e-mail to the White House, you – by default – are registering to get e-mail from the White House. Not so fast.
The White House said Sunday night that it will change its e-mail sign-up procedures after some recipients of a health-care e-mail complained that they had not asked to receive updates.
“We are implementing measures to make subscribing to e-mails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf,” spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement Sunday night.
After a few such recipients appeared on Fox News, White House officials determined that advocacy groups on the right or left could have sent in the names without the person knowing it.
For instance, a group might have sent WhiteHouse.gov a comment from each person who had signed an online petition, and the White House would have captured the e-mail address.
Well that is just too convenient. So, if I took my personal e-mail address – or maybe the SEIU took their member list – and provided it to the White House, the Obama administration assumes these people would like updates on health care from people like David Axelrod. No double opt-in process.
My Web host takes spam pretty seriously. If I did that here, they would close my account and the IP address of my Web servers would be immediately tagged by mega-email providers like AOL, GMail and Yahoo as spam generators.
I’m wondering if those companies would dare to tag Obama for America or whitehouse.gov as spammers? Doubt it.