Re: "Cu-SeeMe Addiction Survey"

Gunnar R Grape (gunnar.grape@qsoft.se)
Fri, 29 Mar 1996 21:55:28 -0800


Hello again!

One more posting regarding this subject. I hope it will be the last ...
I just received copy nr 4 of the "survey", this time with a bribe :-)
attached to it (link to public and private reflector lists),
which I will not take, needless to say ...

The actual matter at hand may seem trifling, but the principles involved
are important, and I think, deserving of careful consideration.

Daniel Erskine pointed to the survey as an example of young people using
this medium for thesis- or term paper work. Fine! I'm all for scientific
research. In this case though, as far as I have understood, the survey is
more in the nature of a private enterprise, the end results of which are
so far shrouded in obscurity. I don't think this is the correct forum.

My main objection to this survey is the fact that the author wants people
to supply detailed information, identifying themselves, and at the same
time expects them to reveal potentially intimate details about their
personal life. The value of a survey of this nature would certainly be
much higher if those responding to it could be guaranteed anonymity.

I would not have objected to this survey, had the question of personal
integrity not arisen here. The following might alleviate the situation:

1. Take away all items that could identify a person. I don't see that
this kind of information could have any value in this survey, other
than to enable the author or someone else to make private use of it.

2. Guarantee that the "From:" address of the returned survey will be
discarded immediately on arrival, permanently, and that no record
whatsoever will be kept, linking survey responses to actual persons.

These prerequisites are necessary for any seriously intended survey of
this nature. The question of personal integrity is becoming one of the
most important issues in connection with the Internet. Your privacy and
personal integrity are valuable assets indeed! They should not be risked
lightly. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with whether a person has
"something to hide" or not! Your private life is your private life, and
nobody should snoop around in it, under whatever pretext ...

As for the "survey" in question, who knows what it will be used for,
or who will be using it, or who may eventually get their hands on it ..?
There are no guarantees. As long as the data exists, it may eventually
(get into the wrong hands and) be misused. So, think twice, before
supplying information of a personal nature to anyone that you don't know
and can trust, or where you don't know where it will finally end up!

Make no mistake: I am not attacking the author of the survey - I have no
idea what kind of a person he is - he may be the nicest and most well
intentioned guy in the world ... I am objecting to the way this survey
is set up, and the lack of information as to its use etc, as I would to
anything else of this kind. I guess I am also not too thrilled at getting
numerous copies of this thing, at the moment four, and counting ...
Enough is enough ... eh?

Sorry about the length of this posting, folks! I feel strongly in these
matters, and they are important ...

See you! Gunnar R Grape