What I want to know is how in the hell can they know your religion ( "The "datacard" says that the company has race, age, gender, religion, and income information on the subscribers." ) when you buy an iPod or use eMusic?First, Robert, mind your language. Faith-based downloading initiatives frown on indiscriminate use of the word "hell." I don't know the answer to your question, but maybe better-informed readers do -- or perhaps a representative of the data resellers in question would like to reply?
Perhaps the "religion" tag results from probability analysis based on song purchases. My beloved iPod contains music I've bought from iTunes, eMusic, and other sources. Among the many files stored: Hell (James Brown), Don't Fear the Reaper (BOC), Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In (Leadbelly), Devil's Pickney (Sugar Minott), and Sympathy for the Devil (Ozzy). If my hypothesis is proven correct, you'd find my customer data in the "Consort of Satan" column, which would explain all of the "L:@@K! Sell your s0ul for C*h*e*ap* beachfr0nt purgat0ry T1M3sh4res!!!" spams I've been getting lately.
Boing Boing reader Greg was upset about the possibility that his customer data might be resold, and he tells us:
When I cancelled my [eMusic] account and asked them to remove my information from their servers, I got the following:Boing Boing reader Joe and others wrote in to say they'd received the same reply from eMusic.
"Hello: Thank you for contacting eMusic Customer Support. We are sorry to hear of your frustration. Your privacy preferences have been recorded. Please be assured that eMusic has never rented or sold its membership list to any third-party organization. eMusic has no plans to do so in the future. Also please note that your e-mail address and account information are kept secure on our servers. We understand your concerns regarding your account information and apologize for+any frustrations you have encountered.
eMusic Customer Support Team"
So, if that's true (and I don't trust that it is), then maybe it's a different service?
Update: Reader Luca says:
I am sure that eMusic does not sell their membership list, i.e. the names and email addresses of their subscribers. But that does not mean that they do not sell data on the song downloaded by their members, each with anonymous information about the member who downloaded it (such as race, age, gender, religion and income).
I was preparing my application for a USC Annenberg School for Communication media fellowship, which paid tuition for a weekend seminar on "Covering Entertainment in the Digital Age." I noticed that the application required a lot of information to come from my "supervisor," so I called them up to ask how I as a freelancer should handle this. I'd already obtained a letter of recommendation from my editor of six years at Photo District News, for whom I've written dozens of features about how digital technology was transforming the visual arts. Several years ago when I was awarded two media fellowships from CASE, including one on art and technology, they were extremely accommodating, so I was not prepared to hear that while USC would accept applications from people like me, I might as well not bother because they really couldn't prove I was a "real journalist." When I listed all the publications I've written for over the years, they said it didn't matter. If I didn't work in a newsroom, I apparently wasn't a real journalist in their book.Link
Link (via the f blog)
Joyce Harman told BBC News how she and her husband Joe were woken by the crash.Link
"It was just horrendous," she said.
"My husband thought the dog had knocked something over downstairs but as he got to the bedroom door he could see the hole in the wall and all the furniture moved.
"That's when we came downstairs and saw the car there."
Boing Boing reader Chris Hoofnagle of EPIC says:
As part of my work at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, I scan direct marketing publications to see how companies are selling your personal information. This data sale appeared today in Direct Marketing News. It proposes to sell the personal information of those who subscribe to "an online digital music community...These consumers pay anywhere from $9.00 to $19.99 a month to gain access to a diverse catalog of over 500,000 music downloads in a variety of genres from top independent labels." The "datacard" says that the company has race, age, gender, religion, and income information on the subscribers. I'm wondering what music subscription site is selling their members' data! Would anyone at the in the Boing Boing community know what company it is?Link
BB reader thegrubbykid was the first to say:
I did a google search for "500,000 music downloads $19.99" and came up with a cnet review of eMusic.  Relevant quotes which match the data sale info are:Many other BB readers wrote in with exactly the same conclusion. Reader Patita points us to this ToS excerpt from the eMusic site:
users are still rewarded with unlimited playing, burning, and transferring of files provided in the nearly universally supported MP3 format.
You must subscribe to one of three plans: choose 40 downloads for $9.99, 65 downloads for $14.99, or 90 downloads for $19.99. Though eMusic's per-song price works out to be a comparatively cheap 22 to 25 cents, those who prefer the freedom of a la carte downloading (and more mainstream music) are better off with open-handed stores such as iTunes and Wal-Mart Music Downloads.
eMusic carried 500,000 high-quality MP3 files from 1,200 independent music labels, many of which cannot be found at competing online music stores
This is pretty circumstantial, but this could be a healthy lead. Use the google query "500,000 music downloads $19.99 $9.99" and all you get are eMusic links/reviews and spam links.
Our Disclosure of Your InformationLink
We may make your information available to others:
[a few bullets down:] Who are trusted third parties (e.g., promotional partners and advertisers) so that they can promote their products and services and those of their affiliates and partners based on your preferences and interests. You may "opt out" of such disclosure(s) to the extent they include your personally identifiable information by sending an email at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your intent to do so. If you consent to share your personally identifiable information with such trusted third parties, their use of such information is subject to their own privacy policies;
Description: This file contains individuals who have purchased an iPod MP3 player. Selects: more than 2.1 million total file, 3-month hotline, geography, income, age, gender, marital status, mail order buyer, magazine subscriber, computer owner, donor, ethnicity, religion, book buyer, credit card holder, homeowner, length of residence and age of child present
Contact: your list broker or List Service Direct Inc., 2 Christie Heights Street, Leonia, NJ 07605
Thread continued here, with denial of data reselling by eMusic.
Japanese brands like Shu Uemura, plus such trendy Americans as Stila and Goldie, are jumping aboard the sweet-seeking trend to produce Sailor Moon-ish products and accoutrements–from cleansers in adorable packaging to cosmetics with cartoon-inspired pigments to ice-cream-flavor lip gloss. With black contact lenses, now turning Tokyo teens into walking manga characters, poised to hit the States, artists, manufacturers, and style makers show no signs of coming down from their collective sugar high.Link (Thanks, Susannah).
Reader comment: Ian Irving adds,
To aid you in your anime dreams, the current (May) issue of Wired Magazine has a brief piece on new contact lenses to give you that gigantic monochromatic pupil look -- under the PLAY| japanese schoolgirl watch section, of course. Link
The offshore supply ship is equipped with an antenna to monitor boosters during launches, said Doug Sayers, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, which made the Titan's two boosters. The defense contractor is leasing the Sage...Link (Thanks, Loren Coleman!)
Roger Guillemette, a correspondent for the Cape Canaveral bureau of Space.com, a Web site that covers space-related news, said he has no doubt about the vessel's mission.
"It's there to track the Titan for the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office," he said.
Brown said the Sage's departure Wednesday has confirmed that it is here to track the Titan. He said NASA is not preparing any other launches in the near future for this flight path.
Christine Slowinski, communications director for council, said the lawsuits, which this year concern amounts ranging from $301.42 to $1,485.68 for 2003 and 2004 orders, are an unfortunate annual undertaking...Link (Thanks, Carlo Longino!)
Slowinski said the delinquents each year are a mix of parents who owe money for their daughters' cookies and people who pay for cookies with rubber checks.
You may know Tommy Chong is just out of jail for selling bongs online (not drugs, mind you, glass water pipes). Now he says he's been forced by the terms of his parole to quit a stage production called "The Marijuana-Logues." Uncomfortable with rejoining the cast even after his parole is over in July, Chong is now being sued by the show's producers for breach of contract. Dude can't catch a break, man!Link