NYCC, Press Lists, and Privacy: Update

Hey. Posting publicly about this for the first time, although those of you following me on Twitter may already have seen bits and pieces.

This year, NYCC pulled contact info from journalists’ registration forms and distributed it on the official press contact list without those journalists’ knowledge or permission. In some cases, these included private phone numbers and even home addresses—seriously not okay.

I’ve been talking to the NYCC press folks for the last few days, as well as trying to quietly spread the word among members of the press. After a long exchange, I finally got an e-mail today which included the following:

Please know that we take this seriously and we certainly didn’t mean to be hasty or frivolous in forwarding your personal contact information to our exhibitors.  We have deleted all physical addresses as well as phone numbers from the list so no one will receive this information moving forward.  The only information that we will include will be name, affiliation and email (depending, of course, on whether the person has opted in for email).

That’s really good news; I’m particularly glad they’re stepping up and pulling that info universally, rather than only by individual request, as was the previous policy. I also get the impression from the paragraph above and the rest of the e-mail it’s excerpted from that NYCC gets just how big a problem this is, and why; and I think it’s reasonable to assume that it won’t be happening again.

HOWEVER: Bear in mind that versions of the press list with that info included had already gone out by the time I found out about it. For what it’s worth, my understanding is that the list is distributed on a request-only basis, but I don’t know who (beyond my personal contacts) may have had access it before the changes were made.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS: If this is a potential safety issue for you, I recommend contacting both Roger Bilheimer at NYCC and any trusted contacts at exhibitors ASAP to confirm the specifics of what info of yours may have been released and where it went. NYCC is aware that this is an issue of safety as well as privacy; I hope this means they’ll be responsive and helpful to folks who need more specific resolution than provided above.

EXHIBITORS: If you have an earlier version of the NYCC 3013 press list, please don’t distribute it, even within your company. I believe you can request an updated version from NYCC; otherwise, please be VERY careful with regards to what info from it you use.

Notes

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