Tip o’ the Week 432 – Generally Disregarded Privacy Rubbish

clip_image001GDPR day has passed.. Now, it’s illegal to communicate with anyone. Or not.

If Data is the new Oil, perhaps the much-anticipated big privacy stick that is GDPR will be the new Millennium Bug – companies will want to avoid to be made an example of first. €20M or 4% of global turnover fines, whichever is the larger, probably gives some execs sleepless nights, even though the proportionality of any punishment will only be realised when there are a few court cases to set the tone. The threat of being caught out might well have scared CxOs around the world into doing something to make sure they look like they’re prepared.

In many cases, it seems, that action has been to email all their customers and ask them to opt-in to being contactable; some got confused and emailed people, asking them to opt out if they didn’t want to get any more. As it happens, both of these approaches may well be irrelevant if not illegal themselves.

clip_image002The avalanche of “we’ve updated our privacy policy” emails unleashed over the last few weeks probably makes you realise the number of companies you’ve never heard of, who have your details on file. The most-used key on the keyboard in this time is surely “Delete”. Of course, there are many memes and jokes doing the rounds…

It’s time to recall a few message handling tips in Outlook which may help…

  • You can show a normally-hidden field in Outlook which lets you identify messages that originated from outside the organisation. Mail that arrives from the internet will be tagged in an attribute called Sender Address Type.
    By tweaking Outlook to make it visible, you can customise folder views to show external email in a different colour or font size, so clip_image003helping you quickly pick out messages to deal with differently. Normally, this would be to prioritise external vs internal emails, but in these dark days, it could be to flex the muscles on your delete finger.
    For more details, see ToW 275.
  • The “Focused Inbox” feature in Office 365 might well help you here; many of the GDPR spammage will be swept up into the “Other” category, so you should be able to quickly triage those messages.
  • If you keep getting mail from certain senders nagging you to respond, you could right-click on the clip_image004message and add the sender to your Block list. By clicking Junk Mail Options on the clip_image005same menu, you could add their whole domain to the blocked list so you’ll filter all their junk in future.
    Handy for the kind of spammers who don’t care about GDP Aaaargh.

Of course, GDPR should be a Good Thing. It’ll take a bit of time to settle down (and may need some further work in the UK, post-Brexit), but at least we all get a few less emails in future.

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