Trying to 'Reform' a Bad System

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Charles Prescott's epiphany on privacy ("Let's Clean It Up, Professionals," Oct. 25) unfairly claims that privacy people hate direct marketing and direct marketers. We despise bad and harmful practices, yes. But I and most privacy advocates I know are glad to buy direct from many merchants, and we don't hate individuals: We are trying to reform a bad system through civil dialogue.

Prescott's fear that "Someone somewhere can know everything about you - forever" shouldn't be taken as a foregone conclusion. The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1974 placed a limit of seven years on the reporting of financial information.

A similar requirement on the direct marketing industry would not materially impede targeting, but it would do much to reduce that fear. When will the DMA wake up and support a statutory minimum level of data protection?

Face it, Prescott's laudable exhortations are not going to stop the bad actors.

Jason Catlett


Junkbusters Corp.

Green Brook, NJ

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