Takeway from AOTA: When will Suppression List Abuse be considered Data Theft?

Martha Cookley, Attorney General for the State of Massachusetts, spoke to the AOTA summit on Wednesday, 4/19, as one of the opening keynote speakers and she presented this keynote: “The Vibrant Online Economy – Enhancing Productivity, Commerce and Employability while Protecting Users and Businesses from Online Criminals”.

I took away a lot from her presentation. She spoke about the challenges she faces in Massachusetts, and since she’s still new to the office (she’s been in office 3 months) she is still laying the groundwork for changes to how the state goes after criminals. But that’s her goal: find criminals, and put them behind bars so they can’t hurt consumers or commerce in the future.

Specifically, she mentioned the TJX credit card theft problems from late last year. The state of Massachusetts is leading the legal side of that investigation and prosecution.

Her comments about data theft, notification, and trust made me ask things like:

  • Is Suppression List Abuse akin to Data Theft?
  • When will someone like the FTC, the state AG offices, etc. start prosecuting companies that allow suppression lists to be stolen?
  • When will companies that have had their suppression lists abused or stolen have to start notifying consumers?

Suppression List Abuse is a big problem just waiting to affect the email marketing industry negatively…

Secure distribution is the only way we’re going to solve it.

I wish it were easier to get MD5 distribution supported as the standard method by which suppression lists were shared. In fact, we at UnsubCentral have created UnsubScrub to make it really really easy for affiliates and third-party senders to deal with MD5 suppression lists.

That’s what UnsubCentral has been designed to do from the beginning: securely manage your data, so you can focus on growing your business.


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