do companies ‘sell out’ their customers?

Normally I don’t answer ‘blocked’ phone numbers on my cellphone, but since I’m expecting a call from a company I got tempted today. It was (off course) some call center, who immediately asked:

“I’m sorry to bother you, but do you by any chance have children under the age of 12?”

my (logical) answer was:

“I fail to see how that is any of your business”

Now, comes the interesting part about the whole affair: my cellphone number is not listed anywhere. That’s right, nowhere. Sure, I’ve given it to some companies who I do business with, and off course all my friends and relatives.  So, how exactly did some random call center get it’s hands on my number? Obviously, the only way they could have gotten it is because one of the mentioned companies has sold out on it’s customers, and there you have it. Could be the telco, could be another company. I doubt we’ll ever find out exactly who.

On the plus side,  here in The Netherlands we have something called (translated) “don’t call me“. It’s an online database, and numbers registered in it can not be called by marketers. ( That is law, by the way ).  It has worked fabulously for my home phone number , which has been listed there since day one. I just forgot to list my cell in there too,  since I’ve never been called by marketers on that one. It’s listed now.

I do feel there should be a law prohibiting companies selling any of their customer information to a third party. Privacy and such. Specially when it comes to e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

Spamassassin 2010 bug

Someone on IRC pointed me to this wonderful bug in Spamassassin, it’s easy to quickfix, but the fix itself will become a bug in 10 years, in any case, until they push an update that correctly fixes this:

header   FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      Date =~ /20[1-9][0-9]/ [if-unset: 2006]
describe FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      The date is grossly in the future.

( meaning emails sent in 2010  will also trigger the scoring )

should be changed into:

header   FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      Date =~ /20[2-9][0-9]/ [if-unset: 2006]
describe FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      The date is grossly in the future.

Making it not a problem until we reach 2020 🙂

On my ubuntu box the rule is found in:


Special thanks to Habbie for making me aware of the problem on IRC!

oh and by the way:

Happy New Year!



No, I am not overloaded, though I’m not far from it sometimes, but my trusted mailserver is almost there. All day long there’s been a close to inifine flow of spam, bounces and other junk storming into my mailbox.

As some of you may know, I’ve got a powerful IBM server running FreeBSD here at home under my desk, which handles all my daily internet and e-mail activities. This box is so powerful, that it would not be out of place in the e-mail infrastructure for an Internet Service Provider. I got the thing from someone who had just acquired another company, and since the new owner did not choose IBM as his hardware platform of choice, the thing was obsolete. ( in terms of usability for them, the hardware is great). Well, I was happy as can be with that, since he gave the server to me for free. I can’t afford hardware like that, heck, I can’t even afford a normal computer at the moment (that laptop is take everywhere is of the company I work for, not my own)

Anyhow, even that server has trouble dealing with it all. Mostly because it’s not setup to handle that kind of ammount of traffic, and it’s a little low on the memory department. Sinds midnight it received 845 messages, of which 409 where immidiatly discarded because they where blacklisted, 140 where removed after spamassassin determined that it was indeed spam (spamscore > 6), and 151 where passed through eventhough they where suspected of being spam (spamscore < 6). 99% of those where bounces, and it looks like someone used my e-mail address once again to end out spam. (*sigh*). For me it’s annoying, for my mailserver it’s even more of a drag. A little excersize with the ‘d’ key (for delete) later, my mailbox was cleaned up again, but I’m caught thinking I might have been a little too passionate in deleting stuff. So: if I do not respond to an e-mail you have send: I am not ignoring you, I’ve just been a little careless with removing a couple of hundred messages. I appoligize.

In other news today: everything is pretty much going the way it should: Femke smiles, Femke tries to grab anything she’s not allowed to grab with a passion, and is a wonderfully healthy and pleasant little girl. What more could a proud daddy whish for?

A little bit less spam please, but that’s something the readers of this blog can do little about. 😉