RE: Surreptitious reporting...

Subject: RE: Surreptitious reporting...
From: "Sharon Burton" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: "'David Neeley'" <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 08:21:48 -0700

OK, let's all calm down a bit. This is a massive over-reaction. Let's take a
deep breath. Now we're throwing claims around that MadCap is breaking the
law and we should all demand a refund of all MadCap products and complain to
the FTC. And claiming that those at MadCap should be ashamed of themselves
for pushing the product.


No one is collecting *personal* information of any sort in Feedback. None.
Not a drop. No information other than any basic web server you visit is
being collected. Not a drop more.

*Nothing* is installed on your computer, *nothing* is being "sent".

You are all aware that every time you visit the most vanilla website, basic
information is collected. No personal information is collected when you
visit information about your visit is tracked. There is nothing illegal
about that, as far as I know. But IP address, search keywords that got you
there, pages visited, page that exited the website, and so on are all
tracked by servers for all websites. Not a drop of personal information is

Here's a thought - if you find this to be the worst thing ever, stop
visiting web pages on the 'Net. Because every single website you visit is
collecting this sort of basic non-personal information. It really is.

If you choose, you as a user can opt in to the Web 2.0 features of Feedback
and post comments in the Flare help, for example. You don't have to do this
if you don't want to. Nothing bad happens to you if you chose to not do

But I want to repeat to the list again: Not a single drop of personal
information is collected about you. Not a drop more information is tracked
than the basic reporting of all web pages you visit in the world.

(God, where is Mike when I need him...)


Sharon Burton
MadCap Software Product Consultant
Managing your content, one topic at a time
IM: sharonvburton -at- yahoo -dot- com
Twitter: sharonburton

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+sharon=anthrobytes -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+sharon=anthrobytes -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of David Neeley
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 6:33 AM
Subject: Surreptitious reporting...

I'm afraid I must side with the majority on this one. With all the
security problems out there, if ANY application was trying to collect
any data without my express knowledge and permission, I would wonder
what else it might be collecting despite the protestations of the

While my firewall would catch it, the vendor would also catch my
demand for a refund and, quite possibly, a lawsuit and more probably
an FTC complaint.

Personally, I want to know and agree any time an application wants to
send data anywhere. Companies like Microsoft love this sort of thing,
yet their track record for security is abysmal--to take just one
example. Their "security center" complains about a "possible security
issue" every time I boot into Windows simply because I will not enable
automatic updates--yet they themselves are a major source of problems
with gaping security holes like Active X, to give just one example.

If you work with a large organization, ask your IT security folks what
they think about a piece of software that is set to send data about
use to the vendor without the knowledge or assent of the company. I
suspect you have better than even chances they will be adverse to the

Even if the intent of the software was benign, it is so outrageous on
its face (from the customer's perspective) that I would seriously
question the judgment of the company and its product managers who has
pushed this.

I cannot see any reason at all why it should not be totally voluntary
on an opt-in basis after being fully disclosed to the customer.

MadCap's part of all this lies in enabling it in any way that may not
require such advance disclosure and permission.

However, remember it isn't MadCap's liability so much as it is any
company's who produces online help using this tool and sells it into
the marketplace.



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Surreptitious reporting...: From: David Neeley

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