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One of the resources data protection professionals would be wise to visit from time-to-time is the Speechly Bircham Data Protection Law Update page. A recent piece titled “The CNIL and the New EU DP Regulation Proposal: “Je t’aime…moi non plus” hit my funny bone and gave me a sense of relief that it wasn’t just the “overly business-oriented Americans” who found the proposed regulation pretty much over the top. a href=”″
/pp But, unlike business, CNIL is concerned about article 51, which would lodge jurisdiction over a multi-country enterprise in the country in which the data controller or processor has its main establishment. Business would like this as it would avoid conflicting directions and orders from different data commissioners.
/pp France doesn’t like the idea because, says the CNIL, it would reduce the national data regulators’ role to that of a “mailbox” and consumers would have less, not more, protection. My favorite argument is their second one – that this would lead to companies “forum shopping” to locate their headquarters, which will “inevitably” have negative impacts on the citizens and on the French economy.
/pp Two laughable conclusions are implied in that position. One, that the severity of the regulatory regime for data protection could be the deciding factor in locating a company headquarters, and two, that France has such stringent data protection rules and enforcement and that foreign businesses will shun it on those grounds. In fact, there are many, many good and sufficient reasons to avoid France as an investment destination. Chief among them are the employment protections, the working rules, and the bureaucracy. On many, many grounds France has made itself an unwelcome destination for foreign investment, but data protection is not one of them. In fact, CNIL is one of the most balanced of enforcement agencies. Its guidance and enforcement techniques are clear and consistent and its personnel approachable and professional.
/pp If any country should be avoided as an investment destination on data protection grounds, my nomination goes to Spain and its Star Chamber data protection authority and legal rules. You are held guilty with no trial, fined enormous amounts of money with no apparent logic, and can not appeal from this lynching until you pay the fine! And I’m not at all sure that the draft Regulation solves that particular problem. Second least favorite destination could be Italy, but they have recently discovered the original text of the Directive and acknowledged there is something called the “balance of interests” test which can justify a controller’s use of personal data. And the words “opt out” were also rediscovered.
/pp But, “le tout France” has gathered in force to fend off Brussels. CNIL’s position is now confirmed by the Ministry of Justice, Parliament, and the Senate. This is going to be a very interesting, rocky road ahead. /p

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Schneider: Lansing woman stumped by address change | Lansing State Journal |

The use of addresses as “legal proof of residence”, when institutionalized in governmental systems by well-meaning public officials can have unfortunate effects. They can range from annoyance to the loss of important civil rights.  This woman might have suffered police detention as a result of this erroneously issued notice, all by virtue of a bureaucratic system relying on a postal change of address form for other pubic functions.

The other consequence is that she has the time and economic burden of correcting the government’s misreliance on the postal address system, which was never designed for civic identity purposes.

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At any interface of old and new technologies and habits, there are anomalies and puzzling things. Those trapped in the old are doomed to trip in the new version. Much, even most, of the habits we formed in the analogue world do not transfer to the digital world. This has become clear to me as a result of two recent experiences involving the mobile phone.

The first involved, of all institutions, the American Automobile Association. This is an institution to which I am very loyal, its towing service being a godsend many times over our years of driving elderly cars prone to sudden refusals to operate, usually at a fair distance from home and hearth. In all the membership literature they have sent me recently, there have been banners of “helpful hints” informing me that in the event of an emergency on the road I could easily reach the AAA by dialing “1-800-AAA- HELP” on my mobile phone. The same information is on the membership wallet card.

Now, take out your mobile phone and tell me what numbers to dial….I’ll wait….You’ll note that dialing this “number” will now be a challenge. Your little number keys don’t have letters, do they? Maybe you’ve memorized the location of the letters. Perhaps the very popular i-Phone still has letters on the keys. In the case of an emergency, I hope for your sake that’s so. Obviously, this is a case of the marketing and/or design departments having folks who are on auto-pilot with respect to “old copy”, which they just carry over from version-to-version. But maybe some young person will take a fresh look, whip out their mobile, and discover that members may be out there unable to reach them.

The second instance involved something I would classify as “digital self-talk”, where an institution uses in public the language of the “interior”. This is the corporate or professional dialect or vocabulary. Every profession has a technical vocabulary which is meaningless to the rest of us.

My mobile phone provider has a useful facility which enables me to forward calls to another phone. Since my residence is out of mobile phone signal territory, this is a great convenience. However, when I forward my calls to my home office, I get the strangest confirmation message: Registration of Cal Forwarding. Unconditional returned success. And when I cancel the call forwarding, the message is not much more enlightening: Deactivation of Call Forwarding. Unconditional returned success. Why is something “unconditional”? This sounds somehow very permanent and irreversible. Why not just “Call Forwarding On” and “Call Forwarding Off”?

Getting used to the new technology and all its impacts in daily life is hard enough; please don’t force me to learn yet another language.

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SMS advertising more popular than mobile web | #Marketing News | Ashdown Group.

UK DMA commissioned research on consumer preferences regarding receiving advertising to their mobile phones. Surveys were done in the UK, Germany and France as to a preference to receiving offers by SMA or through mobile web.  Marked preference for SMS in all three countries, with the French most in favor of SMS.  However, the experts interviewed for the piece have some cautions worth reading.



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And not just Switzerland, but Germany, Austria, and, I suspect, a tradition soon to be revived further to the East. If the United States were older, with more ancient buildings, this would be a good “dead tradition” to import.   In Japan, master carpenters become, literally, revered National Treasures. In the United States, there are few incentives for “craftsmen”; so much of the ‘trades’ involve putting things together that others have made in factories.  There are undoubtedly important learned skills in doing that, which don’t seem to lead upward, or receive the respect they deserve.

An insight into the journeyman tradition in Switzerland. – swissinfo.

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Perhaps consumer activity will help make the borders go away!  The globalization of retail shopping is reaching markets everywhere. This article sets out in detail the investments being made by Russian Post to respond to an enormous increase in mail and parcel traffic into Russia…

“Russian Post said since the beginning of 2009. incoming interrnational mail volumes have tripled, and the number of small packages coming into the country from abroad has quadrupled, particularly because of the growing number of Russians shopping through foreign e-commerce sites.

December 2011 has seen 7m items sent to Russia, including 1.5m parcels.Russian Post has been trying to decentralise its international operations to some extent, reducing the strain on its Moscow mail plant.

However, it states that foreign postal operators tend not to sort mail into different Russian regions, and send it en mass “wherever it suits them”, which means usually to Moscow.”

via Russian Post expands cross-border mail capacity | Post & Parcel.

Royal Mail said this week its Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre has been handling more than 600,000 packets a day so far during the festive period.This is almost double the amount for a normal day.

The UK postal service said Australia was the leading growth market for UK distance sellers, with November figures suggesting a 31% growth in package volumes going Down Under compared to the same period last year.

European markets have also been fairing well for UK e-commerce and mail order firms, including Greece, which despite its economic woes has been attracting 21% more packages from the UK this year, as well as Finland 20% higher volumes, Netherlands 20% and France 19%.Denmark 10%, Switzerland 9.5%, Italy 7% and Spain 6.9% are also among the top European growth markets for British parcel shipments this year.

Volumes going to the United States have grown by 9.8% according to Royal Mail figures.

UK’s outbound parcel volumes jump thanks to cross-border e-commerce | Post & Parcel.

This is a terrific piece that will lighten the heart of anyone who hopes India will speed up its development, and thus the welfare of its diverse population. This is India Post’s own record of its accomplishments for 2011. The posts in the developed countries are struggling to (1) find new products and services to satisfy investors and (2) fulfill the universal service obligation to deliver to every residence and business in the face of a rapidly deteriorating volume of mail.

India Post has the challenges of under-development in a two-speed economic environment. Many strands of development phases that took place seriatim in the West are occurring simultaneously in India – addressing system installation, identity proofing, parcel delivery, mechanization of mail sortation, e-services. India Post is thus a very busy place with an important portfolio of responsibilities. Many of them have their counterparts in Europe and North America, and some do not.

Very intriguing. As you read, please note that a “crore” is the equivalent of 10 million, and a “lakh” is 100,000.

Happy New Year!

Charles Prescott

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The UPU today made its official call for tenders for the setup of the .post Registry services and .post Escrow services. Details on both tenders can be found on the UPU website ( under “Resources” -> “Call for Tenders” or at this link

This will also be published this week at – The Swiss official gazette of commerce for official information and legal announcements.

 The last date for submissions of offers is 3 February 2012.

This is a very, very major step forward in the development of this top-level domain for the global postal industry. It will enable many posts to leap-frog forward in terms of both domestic and international services.

It is unfortunate that the USPS has thus far shown very little senior-level interest in participating in the network. The USPS still has not turned its attention to the digital challenge in the domestic service, let along contemplate cross-border services. However, we are heartened that it has at least been represented on the work committee by the very able Janice Gould of the International Department and is aware of this important project. This committee has had an intense several years of discussions, many held by telephone conference call with participants, including Janice, calling in at some times very early hours!

We would pose the question whether it might not be beneficial from a business development point of view for the USPS to use participation in providing some digital-based services through dot Post as an experiment. If they work, then bring them into the home market. How about an international hybrid mail system, for example? With world-class security within the dot Post domain, hybrid mail vendors abroad could use their posts as points of entry to the UPU system with dot Post as the transmission medium. The USPS could channel transmissions to private sector hybrid mail vendors in the US at locations closest to the postal intake points.

What’s missing in this scenario is for the terminal dues system to account for digital mail. It is unlikely posts would be interested in diverting paper mail to this channel unless they retain that income stream. There is a UPU regulation on the matter which could at least permit a start of the system. Basically, it was a compromise “punt” of the issue in a previous Congress when delegates did not know what to do with a proposal to bring hybrid mail into the terminal dues system. The problem is that it calls for countries to set the rates on a bilateral basis. Of course, if only a handful of countries are interested, perhaps this is not an overwhelming issue.

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If you are not going to Triangle’s annual gathering of the most important people in the international postal industry in the Americas, you will be able to read all about it in a future issue of The Prescott Report.  However, you would be better served by attending the conference. As talented and thorough as we are in reporting on the presentations by the most important and influential people in the industry, nothing beats being there. And this year “there” is the beautiful Trump International Beach Resort in Miami. February 6 and 7, but come on the 5th to be at the opening reception.

The program is a who’s who of important speakers and doers in the industry: Paul Vogel and Giselle Valera of the USPS; Wagner Pinheiro de Oliveira, Brazil Post; Beat Friedli, SwissSign. I will be especially interested in interplay between and among Pablo Moreno, CEO of ampm (Mexico), Alfredo Romera, president of ALACOPP, and Pablo Salvador Reyes Pruneda, DG of Mexico Post. Also speaking is Serrana Bassini, Secretary General of UPAEP and candidate for Director General of the Universal Postal Union. But there are many more good thinkers, including the writer who will suggest to the posts what they can do along the lines of Getting the Basics Right.

For the program and full details:

And who knows – we might see the renowned Donald Trump, always a potential candidate for President of the United States. This being an election year, I suspect he is travelling among his many properties shaking all the hands he can!

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

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