The Prescott Report

Information, opinions, and support on international privacy, marketing, and postal issues Twitter: #presrep

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/07/issa-seeks-to-stamp-out-post-office-move-into-financial-services/

Chairman Issa as Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform clearly doesn’t believe in anything but lack of vision.  Giving the USPS a very low-cost way of bringing millions of unbanked Americans into full participation in the economy seems to us a legitimate mission for the USPS.  Let’s think about what the USPS does: it provides a delivery service for messages which are deemed important for the fulfillment of various important social, political and economic goals, and the social, political and economic health of the country.  They do this because the private sector was not, and is not, capable of doing this and we as a people think it’s important these things are done.  Honest, Congressman. There are things the government does which can’t be done either at a profit or on a self-supporting basis.  (Actually, the postal system CAN be run break-even if Congress didn’t require to pay medical bills now that won’t actually be incurred until 30 years from now.)

To reject this proposal literally out-f-hand without seeing a business plan with cost estimates is irresponsible. Or it shows the Chairman is, like so much of Washington, still in the pocket of the financial industry. And of course the financial industry’s advocates in Washington are quick to oppose any other organization doing what it refuses to do in any event: bank the unbanked, cash paychecks economically, and provide economic money transfer services.

Want to create jobs? Capture the economic values of the modest financial resources of the unbanked; cash paychecks for free and I bet there would b several hundreds of millions of dollars spent in grocery and clothing stores and not on usurious check-cashing fees.

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http://blog.thedma.org/2013/08/13/why-we-must-educate-legislators-on-marketing-data-privacy/

CEO Linda Woolley of the US DMA relates a conversation with a Congressman who, in common with his colleagues, conflates marketing data collection with the NSA personal data capture exercises.  Not once in 200 years has anyone been hurt by a marketer collecting their information, or using it.  We all must do our part by being transparent about what we collect, how we use it, and that we are quite willing to respond to consumer concerns. I don’t think marketing in any form threatens the Republic, or our Constitutional rights, but our legislators haven’t learned the difference yet.  We can teach them by following the codes.

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http://blog.thedma.org/2013/07/02/infographic/

This wonderful infographic translates what the policy-makers in Washington are actually saying about data-driven marketing.  Make no mistake, the ignorance is deep in Washington, DC about what data-driven marketing is, and the benefits it brings.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/us/monitoring-of-snail-mail.html?nl=us&emc=edit_cn_20130703

With one news article on the USPS’s recording what mail you get and from whom, the Times has undoubtedly set the hearts of entrepreneurs beating faster.  Since there is much communication that must be in writing, much of it of great importance and potentially very valuable, I predict we’ll see someone come up with a “counter-postal service”  of significant proportions.  Private courier services that keep no records of what they delivered from whom to whom for more than 24 hours.

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http://www.dmarket.co.uk/a/data-protection-reform-becomes-more-business-friendly

There appear to be positive developments in the tortured progress  of the data protection regulation in Brussels. The UK Direct Marketing Association reports that the Irish government has tabled a draft of the first four chapters of the regulation which will make the regulation much more sensitive tolegitimate business concerns. There are five key changes being proposed: the right to data protection is not absolute; direct marketing is legally recognized as a legitimate interest in processing data;consent now would be “unambiguous” not “explicit”; each member state will determine if a data protection officer must be appointed in every company; not every security breach will have to be notified.

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http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/the-challenge-huge-bargain-complex-fulfillment/2

This is classic Denny Hatch. Delightful personal story with many lessons for marketers and business executives buried within.  His customer service experience with an English shirt maker is so typical, one wonders how the same customer service program designer manages to make the same stupid mistakes in all the websites that purport to be “focused on the customer”.  The tag line – “you’re not in business to make sales but to serve and retain customers” should be tatooed on the forearms of anyone who decides to go into business.   And checklists!   We wish him many more years of travel to the UK.

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http://www.dmnews.com/electronic-retailers-take-a-flier-at-the-marketplace-fairness-act/article/293690/#

The Marketplace Fairness Act is anything but fair. It will put small businesses out of business and benefit the big companies, who can carry the overhead of compliance.  One small company I know, on online marketer of CD’s and DVD’s with religious content, just makes it in to the million dollar range.  He now pays sales taxes in his home state and even that exercise costs him 1/2 day a month in compliance.  This is in a company with 4 full-time employees.  Occasionally California sends him a dunning notice for sales taxes on sales he has never, ever made.  They simply assume he has.  He writes back to say he’s never sold anything there and gets a second notice with a threat of legal action and a “guess” tax levy with penalties. He can’t afford a lawyer in California, or even in his home State.   Multiply this by 46, and the perhaps 100 other aggressive taxing jurisdictions like cities and counties, and you have a nightmare.   And there is no software, and even if there was, he’d still be spending 1/2 day per State, or half his time.

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Consultas Ifai

 

Lucerna Juris (‘Light of the Law”) member Carlos F. Portilla of the firm of Portilla, Ruy-Diaz & Aguilar, S.C. informs us that the Mexican Authority (Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection- “IFAI”) imposed the first penalty regarding violations of the Personal Data Protection Law and its Regulations.

The penalty was determined against a company named Pharma Plus, S.A. de C.V., which operates important drug stores around Mexico because:

1. The company did not provide data subjects with a privacy notice when obtaining their data.

2. The privacy notice included in the company´s web page failed to identify the data controller.

The penalty exceeds two million Pesos (approximately USD$180,000).

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“The Weirdest Welcome”

The Prescott Report is still dedicated to international marketing and “making the borders go away”.   Master Marketer Denny Hatch annihilates the Cunard Line’s welcome to him and his wife to a cruise on the Queen Mary 2. 

For an excellent primer, literally, on the basics of “what not to do” ,  eg. a 26 page brochure in grey sans serif 7- point type that insults the reader and doesn’t provide him/her with important information needed to get to the ship.  And that’s merely the beginning.

Also, excellent comment in response to his article as to why Cunard has sunk (sorry) so low, by a veteran of the travel industry, Donna Cusano.  Worth the clicks.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/alan-f-westin-scholar-who-defined-right-to-privacy-dies-at-83.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130223&_r=0

It is not far-fetched to assert that Dr. Westin “created” the field of privacy law in America.  He also put much of it on “research” foundation, using carefully balanced survey work to detect changes in Americans’ attitudes to the collection of information by both government and business. His annual privacy conference in Washington to discuss and debate these surveys, and the many developments in what then was still a nascent field, were “must attend” events for what slowly became a broader population of privacy law practitioners. His balanced and fact-based approach and weighing of numerous factors in the debate set an intellectual example for me.  Always a gentleman, his calm and perceptive approach was always effective in calming excited debaters and empower us all with quiet intellectual discipline.   All of us in this field should pause a moment and honor his life and memory.

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Helping to make the borders go away – Marketing, Privacy, Data Protection, Postal.

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