Verizon plays fast and loose with the wrong 1,200 e-mail addresses

This should be a vendor's first rule when inviting 1,200 IT pros to a seminar about securing data and protecting personal information: Make sure you protect the personal information of the 1,200 professionals you're trying to impress.

How did Verizon do in that regard on Tuesday? They failed miserably ... and not just once.

David Williams, technology coordinator for a Texas school district, alerted me to the situation because he had read my recent post -- "Run-amok Verizon robo-caller torments 1,400 customers" -- which recounted the nine phone calls in 24 hours that were received at my house last month.

"I had something similar occur today," Williams writes. "In a period of three hours I received 14 e-mails promoting Verizon's 'Secure the Information. Secure the Infrastructure' webinar series, and three e-mails promoting their '2008 Data Breach Investigations Report Road Show.' "

The excessive volume of e-mail wasn't the half of it, though.

"Considering their content (about data-breach seminars), I thought it very humorous that the TO: field of the e-mails contained over 1,200 e-mail addresses: 17 e-mails times 1,200 addresses equals more than 20,000 chances for leaks."

Williams did more than merely chuckle, though, he tried to be helpful by forwarding to the Verizon sender a pair of links -- "Sins of The Internet: Not Using Bcc," and, "Use BCC field when addressing mass mail."

Wrote the miscreant in reply: "I apologize for the inconvenience and lapse in judgment by not using the BCC field."

Contrition, however, failed to stem the flow of seminar invitations into Williams' inbox.

"You've got to be kidding," he wrote to the Verizon guy shortly thereafter. "I have received seven more duplicates after this response."

Verizon again: "We (are) having issues with our (Microsoft) Exchange server and I am working with our help desk to correct the problem.  I apologize for the inconvenience."

Verizon's "Secure the Information" lecture series includes a segment called, "Are you prepared for data loss?"

I presume that's where they'll be covering the art of the apology.

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