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[P]
Children will swap parents' personal details for free gift

By dash2 in News
Tue May 23, 2000 at 12:29:06 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

A new survey (in PDF format) from the University of Pennsylvania reveals that high percentages of children would be prepared to give out family information to websites in exchange for a 'great free gift'.


Turns out that most little brats would reveal their own and their parents' favourite stores. Substantial minorities would tell despicableploy.com what car their family owned, what they and their parents did on the weekend and (get this) "whether their parents talk a lot about politics". Not surprisingly, boys and teenagers are the most likely to turn informer.

The percentage of kids that would sell their grandmothers for a rare pokemon is not mentioned in the survey.

This is a fairly repulsive potential use of children even on its own terms, which means that we can expect some marketing firm to be trying it already. Is it also alarming? I don't suppose the Government would have the chutzpah to make kids turn informer.... but then again, maybe some teen anti-drugs sites... 'do you have any concerns about your parents? Tell us and win a pair of tickets to the Limp Bizkit concert.'

Of course, earlier generations also tried to gather information through children. Although I don't think this one would sell out his parents for a great free gift.

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Children will swap parents' personal details for free gift | 24 comments (24 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I would too.... (none / 0) (#8)
by Strongtium90 on Tue May 23, 2000 at 04:31:49 AM EST

Strongtium90 voted 1 on this story.

I would too.

What's most surprising, I think, is... (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by eann on Tue May 23, 2000 at 04:51:00 AM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

What's most surprising, I think, is that it took this long for someone to do an academic study. This isn't news. For many years it's been a concern of people who know better than to let the Web be a babysitter.

However, and in contrast to privacy for adults, industry self-regulation seems to be fairly effective. Asking kids stuff you know you'd never get their parents to answer is generally viewed as despicable. It's happened several times that even well-meaning sites like Disney get instant piles of bad press for even trying to get name and address.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


Re: What's most surprising, I think, is... (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 23, 2000 at 03:25:20 PM EST

However, and in contrast to privacy for adults, industry self-regulation seems to be fairly effective. Asking kids stuff you know you'd never get their parents to answer is generally viewed as despicable. It's happened several times that even well-meaning sites like Disney get instant piles of bad press for even trying to get name and address.

If it makes enough money, people will do it. When you can successfully (for varying values of success) run a web site from a trailer in Arkansas gathering marketing information, and selling it, someone will buy it. Self regulation only works with persistent identities.



[ Parent ]

I never vote for articles with a li... (none / 0) (#2)
by Paul Dunne on Tue May 23, 2000 at 06:12:37 AM EST

Paul Dunne voted -1 on this story.

I never vote for articles with a link to a site run by a Corkonian West Brit in them -- just a little foible of mine.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/

Heh. 6 months later ... but anyway. (none / 0) (#24)
by Aidan_Kehoe on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:03:16 AM EST

http://imbolc.ucc.ie/~agilham/misc/cv.html

She's English, Paul, she's allowed be a West Brit.

--
There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)
[ Parent ]
I like it, especially the link to t... (none / 0) (#9)
by Toojays on Tue May 23, 2000 at 06:15:46 AM EST

Toojays voted 1 on this story.

I like it, especially the link to the fairly OT painting. But isn't there a law in the US which says that web sites need parental permission to get personal information from minors? Wouldn't that cover the kind of information we're talking about here?

Re: I like it, especially the link to t... (none / 0) (#18)
by jovlinger on Tue May 23, 2000 at 01:51:41 PM EST

So circumvent the law.

Incorporate in sierra leone (which has its own troubles these days) and collect information about kids from around the world. Then sell that info to american companies.

AFAIK (and I don't really K, more of a guess) trading in personal information is legal in the states; it's the collecting which is regulated. I have "database nation" right here, so I should look it up. But I'm lazy.

Sweden is actually pretty good about this, and for a long time (although I imagine it has given into corporate pressure by now) regulated cross-referencing of databases.

[ Parent ]

"It was almost normal for people ... (3.80 / 4) (#10)
by odradek on Tue May 23, 2000 at 08:07:54 AM EST

odradek voted 1 on this story.

"It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak -- 'child hero' was the phrase generally used -- had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police." -- 1984 (George Orwell) Strangely prophetic, I guess.

And after you've told us where your... (none / 0) (#11)
by pacc on Tue May 23, 2000 at 08:14:49 AM EST

pacc voted 1 on this story.

And after you've told us where your mother hides her bottle we come and pick you up to a nice new home.

None of the information the study w... (none / 0) (#5)
by HiRes on Tue May 23, 2000 at 08:59:09 AM EST

HiRes voted 1 on this story.

None of the information the study was looking for seemed particularly harmful. Hell, I'd give all that info out about myself for a free gift, especially if it was something k3wl like a Britney Spears lunchbox.

Now if the kiddies start handing out credit card numbers, it's time to pull out the switch...

BTW, here's a link to the report in its entirety
--
wcb
wait! before you rate, read.

Isn't this story kinda old? ... (none / 0) (#7)
by MeanGene on Tue May 23, 2000 at 09:25:04 AM EST

MeanGene voted -1 on this story.

Isn't this story kinda old?

This reeks highly of Pinkerton... (none / 0) (#12)
by iCEBaLM on Tue May 23, 2000 at 09:48:51 AM EST

iCEBaLM voted 1 on this story.

This reeks highly of Pinkerton

FWIW, Schools pry personal family i... (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by bmetzler on Tue May 23, 2000 at 10:40:43 AM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

FWIW, Schools pry personal family information out of students all the time. And the students don't even get any free toys out of it either.

The real problem with targetting children to 'buy' marketing information is the children don't have a real concept of economics. They don't know that the information they are giving is worth more then a little stuffed toys. Basically, it's like the early Americans trading gold with the Indians for little mirrors.

Parents should be monitoring their children and teaching them the value of information, and what not.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
Re: FWIW, Schools pry personal family i... (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 23, 2000 at 01:27:35 PM EST

Children don't understand the value of the information, but they also lose nothing by giving it out. So daddy gets more targetted junkmail? It's not like giving you to give up personal information, it's more like paying hotel cleaning staff a bounty for any semen samples or personal details they can dig up.

[ Parent ]
Tell me your credit card number, an... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Tue May 23, 2000 at 10:47:32 AM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Tell me your credit card number, and all of today's articles are FREE! ;-)

____
Not the real rusty

whoa there killer... ... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by ishbak on Tue May 23, 2000 at 11:17:40 AM EST

ishbak voted -1 on this story.

whoa there killer...

Personal Responsibility (none / 0) (#13)
by warpeightbot on Tue May 23, 2000 at 12:53:24 PM EST

This is one of the more insidious reasons PARENTS ALONE should be responsible for what their children do with their free time, especially when it involves a CRT. See, I could see Disney.com doing this.... and next thing you know, here comes the goon squad, and the kid is wisked off somewhere with his head spinning, thinking "what did I do wrong?" A question for which he will not get an answer.

It Means Us Too
-- Kurt Vonnegut, epilogue to 1984

Re: Personal Responsibility (none / 0) (#23)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 26, 2000 at 05:42:51 PM EST

Why even allow that? There are going to be some parents who are even less responsible for kids in this manner (i.e. depending on the free gift, they'd give out family info too). It should be illegal for ANY sites to collect personal information over the Internet, other than when you're buying something, and that information should be TEMPORARY. All sites that currently collect info: first, shouldn't have to, and second, the ones that absolutely do for proper information either shouldn't be operating on the web anyway or should be forced to collect the information through non-internet methods, such as telephone or mail. The best method would be mail, so that you send it to the appropriate address instead of a semi-unknown entity contacting you.

[ Parent ]
OOLD NEWS (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 23, 2000 at 01:09:03 PM EST

This little tidbit of news came out weeks ago. And kuro5in readers consider it an alternative to staledot...

Not just old news, OLD news. (none / 0) (#15)
by jabber on Tue May 23, 2000 at 01:23:45 PM EST

Wasn't it Capt. Kangaroo, back in the 60's, who told the kids who were watching his early morning show, to go upstairs, take 'some of those green pieces of paper' out of sleeping-daddy's wallet, and send them on in to the old Captain??

Reportedly, he got thousands and thousands of dollars in the mail.

Praying on the gullibility of children isn't anything new and dramatic - and just because the kiddies would do it (arguably due to lack of proper instruction on part of the parents) does not mean that it could happen tomorrow. There are laws - they're bendable, but anything more than a slight breach would get a business shut down faster than you can say 'inappropriate'.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

How soon we forget... (none / 0) (#17)
by Demona on Tue May 23, 2000 at 01:29:35 PM EST

That was Soupy Sales, I believe. The good Captain wasn't that kind of guy. Soupy's also credited, if I recall, with the possibly apocryphal "Every time I give you an F, you see K!"

[ Parent ]
I would do it (none / 0) (#20)
by duxup on Wed May 24, 2000 at 05:39:50 AM EST

Heck I'm not even a little kid and I'd give out my parents info for a free gift. I don't know why they just focused on kids and parents. In fact I'm willing to give out info on my friends and coworkers.

The guy in the office next to me is named Rick, he's 23 years old, his hobbies are . . .

Fight back (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed May 24, 2000 at 06:40:43 AM EST

I always give false information. I am always welcome to fill most of the field asked to me with plausible garbage. I will train my two childs for this too.

Even in official correspondance, I slighly change my name, unexpectedly reverse first and last name, add a little twist to my postal address, so I can track who gives my address to whom.

I know this will not last long, anyway, the suckers are getting more and more efficient. At least I may cost them a little more money...

The next step would be... (none / 0) (#22)
by marlowe on Wed May 24, 2000 at 03:15:32 PM EST

to automate the process. For instance, I've some fiddling with an HTTP proxy in Perl that fills in the blanks in forms for me. It's not really ready yet.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Children will swap parents' personal details for free gift | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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