Author Topic: privacy and volunteering  (Read 13145 times)

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Mel the Redcap

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #90 on: September 19, 2013, 10:13:42 AM »
It does not matter how rare stalking is, or how likely it is that giving someone's details out will cause problems, or anything about anyone's personal situation.

It's very simple. If you are asked for someone's contact details, and you don't know whether or not they would be OK with them being shared, there are four possible outcomes.

Either you share them, and it turns out that they're OK with the idea - this is fine.
Or you share them, and they're NOT OK with the idea - this is BAD, and you can't take back the sharing. You cannot fix this.
Or you don't share them, and it turns out that they would have been OK with it - this is fine, you or they can still contact the person who wanted to get hold of them.
Or you don't share them, and it turns out that they would NOT have been OK with it - this is fine, you have protected them.

The ONLY way you can get a bad result is if you share someone else's details without first ascertaining whether or not they are happy with this. So don't! Whether you would be fine with it yourself or not, whether you think there's a danger or not, whether you've seen them giving their details to other people or not, it doesn't matter - protecting their personal details should be the default!

And yes, phone numbers are meant to be shared... WITH PEOPLE THE OWNER IS HAPPY COMMUNICATING WITH, and nobody else.

Mel, your post made me think of another distinction that I realise that I haven't drawn clearly enough.

I view giving out a list of contacts and being asked for a specific person's details as two things which carry different elements of risk.

If Sue asks me for Jodie's number, I need to be more vigilant, because I am being asked to disclose something. I need to weigh up what I know of Sue, what I know of Jodie's usual practices with her phone number, why Sue is asking for the phone number, and the whole context of the situation. I would definitely be more cautious, because Sue asking for the number from me, and I may not know all of her reasons. 95% of the time (i.e. unless I knew for sure it would be OK), I'd probably ask Jodie first.

When giving out a list of contacts, people are just receiving the list, not asking for anybody's specific details. You are instead risking that somebody within the group might be moved to do bad things with those numbers. I view that as a very different thing. Giving out contact lists is such standard practice for most group projects that I've had experience of, so a person would definitely have to opt out in order to not be included.

And in Snowdragon's case, she'd opted out very firmly, there was actually no reason why a contact list would be needed, and it was given out anyway. I think we can agree that this was completely wrong. So why are we still arguing? :P
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Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #91 on: September 19, 2013, 10:21:53 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience.

I've also argued that sharing numbers between a group in general is low risk (for the majority of people), because one can simply not pick up the phone if it's that the calls are annoying. Anything more serious than that is much less likely, to the point where it wouldn't cross my mind if I were the group coordinator.

I guess we disagree about the 'phone number as property' thing, because to me they're a special kind of property, that's meant to be shared.

Other than your opinion, do you have any kind of authority to back up this assertion?

How about the fact that in some countries they can be looked up on the internet? And that this information is definitely opt-out rather than opt-in?
(I have no clue about the US, but I know this to be the case in both Denmark and New Zealand, so please for the sake of this argument just assume you're in Denmark :) )

In the UK, you can just search on http://www.192.com/, and somebody's name will give you their approximate age and address (I think it costs about 1 to get somebody's full address, but their  approx addres is free).  This is true for anybody on the electoral roll, unless you have opted out.



suzieQ

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #92 on: September 19, 2013, 10:28:58 AM »
Perhaps you could imagine this scenario, Teenyweeny. What if a person on Ehell had your personal phone number and decided to post it on a list of other phone numbers on this site. You could be getting hundreds of calls a day from people who want to discuss this thread with you. They are unwanted calls. You didn't sign up to have all these people call you, even though you are a participant on this site and in this thread.
All you wanted to do was to post online, but now you are getting your phone slammed with calls from people you are happy to talk with online but don't necessarily want them eating up your free time/phone minutes/bothering you when you are busy with something else.
And yes, you can choose not to answer the phone, but that doesn't stop the incessant ringing. Turning the phone off means no one you want to talk to can get through to you.

It's a pain in the rear to have your number given out to a lot of people.

As far as stalking goes, I was stalked *over the phone* by some guy when I was a teenager. Had no idea who he was, and he called every day. I would have been much happier if he hadn't gotten my phone number.
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Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #93 on: September 19, 2013, 10:36:28 AM »
Perhaps you could imagine this scenario, Teenyweeny. What if a person on Ehell had your personal phone number and decided to post it on a list of other phone numbers on this site. You could be getting hundreds of calls a day from people who want to discuss this thread with you. They are unwanted calls. You didn't sign up to have all these people call you, even though you are a participant on this site and in this thread.
All you wanted to do was to post online, but now you are getting your phone slammed with calls from people you are happy to talk with online but don't necessarily want them eating up your free time/phone minutes/bothering you when you are busy with something else.
And yes, you can choose not to answer the phone, but that doesn't stop the incessant ringing. Turning the phone off means no one you want to talk to can get through to you.

It's a pain in the rear to have your number given out to a lot of people.

As far as stalking goes, I was stalked *over the phone* by some guy when I was a teenager. Had no idea who he was, and he called every day. I would have been much happier if he hadn't gotten my phone number.

Well, that would be unfortunate, but again, that would be much riskier scenario than a volunteer list. That number would be viewable to anybody, not just forum members. A lot different to giving out a contact list to a small group.

And, especially within the context of this thread (why am I getting the feeling that if I did post my number, some people would ring until the battery went flat, just to prove a point), posting my number would be an elevated risk.

I am specifically talking about putting together contact lists. I'm not talking about whether or not it's OK to put somebody else's number on a billboard.



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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #94 on: September 19, 2013, 10:37:58 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience...

But you what is dismissive though? Assuming that all the people who were/are stalked by people they know didn't already go though the hassle of changing their phone numbers. So stranger stalkings are rare big deal, they aren't the only kind of stalking. Plenty of people are bothered by their known stalkers enough to go through the days worth of trouble of changing their number... Having it published publicly to hundreds of random people now makes all that work void.

Not to mention focusing on stalking is dismissive of the dozens, hundreds, of other legitimate reasons people might not want their number known. Professional reasons. Toxic family. Formerly associated with a bad crowd, trying to turn over a new leaf. Extreme introvert. Budget. Etc.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #95 on: September 19, 2013, 10:40:02 AM »
But you know ahead of time whether it's opt out or opt in, and you make arrangements accordingly.

I don't want my mobile number shared. I've never been stalked and I don't think of myself as being at high risk of being stalked. But I always always always tick the 'no contact' boxes for email and whatever, and even with that, my spam folder is full every day. I don't give my mobile number out unless I must and I still get spam calls. My home phone is unlisted and I still get 'do I want a new boiler' calls, and 'mis-sold pension plan' calls and 'have I ever had debt insurance' calls. Sure, if I volunteer for the tea stall at the local branch fair for the Dinosaur Defence League, the five other women manning the stall may need my number, plus the three overall co-ordinators. Seven thousand national volunteers who are running the regional fairs for all the other branches don't need it and in my opinion have no right to have it.

I'm not afraid that they'll stalk me. I'm afraid they'll sell my details and for the rest of my natural life I'll be swamped in junk mail. You like Dinosaurs! Now rescue a unicorn! You made chocolate cake for them! Make it for us! You can afford to do charity work! You need a financial adviser!

My SMIL went looking for a repairer for a household appliance; they did the repair, did a service, and asked her if she knew anybody else with the same sort of appliance. She did: me. She gave them my phone number. They currently call me once a fortnight asking if I want the service done; I don't. I can't block phone numbers on my landline and I run a business from home so I can't not pick up calls I don't recognise. I am extremely annoyed that she gave out my number in the first place.

And you know, on here, most of us aren't using our real names. (At least, I hope we're not, or the Bad Baby Name websites aren't showing the half of it.) We say that we live in this area or that area, but we don't say 'I'm Susie Cricket and I live at 49 Glamorgan Avenue, Colchester CO1 1AA'. We don't offer our phone numbers to strangers on here. So maybe there are one or two people I'm on personal terms with, and we do share details. Would that make it acceptable for somebody to post my address here, just because she knew it and I hadn't expressly said not to?

You don't need to be afraid of stalkers not to want your number given out at random. You might be, say, a politician. A police officer. A tax inspector. Criminal lawyer. Somebody who makes the final funding decisions for social security cases. Somebody who works for an animal testing lab. Somebody who works for the genetic engineering companies. Somebody who works for a hunt - or somebody who works for an anti-hunting charity. Somebody who works for an armament supplier. Soldier, sailor, RAF officer. Provider of contraceptive care. Social worker in charge of child abuse cases. All pefectly legal, and all good reasons to keep your number circulating only where you know about it.

I've never been a big believer in 'if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear'.

Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #96 on: September 19, 2013, 10:42:05 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience...

But you what is dismissive though? Assuming that all the people who were/are stalked by people they know didn't already go though the hassle of changing their phone numbers. So stranger stalkings are rare big deal, they aren't the only kind of stalking. Plenty of people are bothered by their known stalkers enough to go through the days worth of trouble of changing their number... Having it published publicly to hundreds of random people now makes all that work void.

Not to mention focusing on stalking is dismissive of the dozens, hundreds, of other legitimate reasons people might not want their number known. Professional reasons. Toxic family. Formerly associated with a bad crowd, trying to turn over a new leaf. Extreme introvert. Budget. Etc.

Again, I'm not saying that it's OK to publish a number publically. I'm not about to publish my personal phone book in The Times.

I'm talking about making and sharing a contact list. Yes, Suzie may have cut off her mother and not want her to have her phone number. I doubt Suzie's mother is going to somehow get hold of the Christmas dinner committee contact list.



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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #97 on: September 19, 2013, 10:44:00 AM »
It does not matter how rare stalking is, or how likely it is that giving someone's details out will cause problems, or anything about anyone's personal situation.

It's very simple. If you are asked for someone's contact details, and you don't know whether or not they would be OK with them being shared, there are four possible outcomes.

Either you share them, and it turns out that they're OK with the idea - this is fine.
Or you share them, and they're NOT OK with the idea - this is BAD, and you can't take back the sharing. You cannot fix this.
Or you don't share them, and it turns out that they would have been OK with it - this is fine, you or they can still contact the person who wanted to get hold of them.
Or you don't share them, and it turns out that they would NOT have been OK with it - this is fine, you have protected them.

The ONLY way you can get a bad result is if you share someone else's details without first ascertaining whether or not they are happy with this. So don't! Whether you would be fine with it yourself or not, whether you think there's a danger or not, whether you've seen them giving their details to other people or not, it doesn't matter - protecting their personal details should be the default!

And yes, phone numbers are meant to be shared... WITH PEOPLE THE OWNER IS HAPPY COMMUNICATING WITH, and nobody else.

Mel, your post made me think of another distinction that I realise that I haven't drawn clearly enough.

I view giving out a list of contacts and being asked for a specific person's details as two things which carry different elements of risk.

If Sue asks me for Jodie's number, I need to be more vigilant, because I am being asked to disclose something. I need to weigh up what I know of Sue, what I know of Jodie's usual practices with her phone number, why Sue is asking for the phone number, and the whole context of the situation. I would definitely be more cautious, because Sue asking for the number from me, and I may not know all of her reasons. 95% of the time (i.e. unless I knew for sure it would be OK), I'd probably ask Jodie first.

When giving out a list of contacts, people are just receiving the list, not asking for anybody's specific details. You are instead risking that somebody within the group might be moved to do bad things with those numbers. I view that as a very different thing. Giving out contact lists is such standard practice for most group projects that I've had experience of, so a person would definitely have to opt out in order to not be included.

And in Snowdragon's case, she'd opted out very firmly, there was actually no reason why a contact list would be needed, and it was given out anyway. I think we can agree that this was completely wrong. So why are we still arguing? :P

I think you're arguing about 2 different things. Yes, the OP opted out, so the volunteer coordinator was wrong to put her number on the list. I haven't seen anyone in this thread disagree with that.

What I disagree with is the idea that such rosters and directories should be opt-in rather than opt-out by default. I belong to several organizations that distribute contact information. Everyone is included unless they opt out, and it's been my experience that very few people actually opt out. I see nothing at all wrong with this system as long as opt out requests are honored. I put together the member contact list at work and no one has opted out during my 5 years here. If someone did opt out it would be very inconvenient because volunteers need to be able to contact us and each other. (Again, I realize this is not the case in the OP.)

The fact is that if you want to find someone's unlisted number or cell phone number, you can do so fairly easily on the internet. Most people who have their numbers unlisted do so to avoid telemarketers, and having an unlisted number is effective for this purpose. It is not effective for the purpose of making it impossible for individuals to find your number.
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wolfie

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #98 on: September 19, 2013, 10:48:32 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience...

But you what is dismissive though? Assuming that all the people who were/are stalked by people they know didn't already go though the hassle of changing their phone numbers. So stranger stalkings are rare big deal, they aren't the only kind of stalking. Plenty of people are bothered by their known stalkers enough to go through the days worth of trouble of changing their number... Having it published publicly to hundreds of random people now makes all that work void.

Not to mention focusing on stalking is dismissive of the dozens, hundreds, of other legitimate reasons people might not want their number known. Professional reasons. Toxic family. Formerly associated with a bad crowd, trying to turn over a new leaf. Extreme introvert. Budget. Etc.

Again, I'm not saying that it's OK to publish a number publically. I'm not about to publish my personal phone book in The Times.

I'm talking about making and sharing a contact list. Yes, Suzie may have cut off her mother and not want her to have her phone number. I doubt Suzie's mother is going to somehow get hold of the Christmas dinner committee contact list.

Unless Suzue's mom's friend is on the committee and tells Suzie's mom about it and there you go - now all that work Suzie did to get her number away from her mother is undone and she has to deal with it all again. All because someone else decided that the risk was minimal and keeping a number private was silly.

Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #99 on: September 19, 2013, 10:54:10 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience...

But you what is dismissive though? Assuming that all the people who were/are stalked by people they know didn't already go though the hassle of changing their phone numbers. So stranger stalkings are rare big deal, they aren't the only kind of stalking. Plenty of people are bothered by their known stalkers enough to go through the days worth of trouble of changing their number... Having it published publicly to hundreds of random people now makes all that work void.

Not to mention focusing on stalking is dismissive of the dozens, hundreds, of other legitimate reasons people might not want their number known. Professional reasons. Toxic family. Formerly associated with a bad crowd, trying to turn over a new leaf. Extreme introvert. Budget. Etc.

Again, I'm not saying that it's OK to publish a number publically. I'm not about to publish my personal phone book in The Times.

I'm talking about making and sharing a contact list. Yes, Suzie may have cut off her mother and not want her to have her phone number. I doubt Suzie's mother is going to somehow get hold of the Christmas dinner committee contact list.

Unless Suzue's mom's friend is on the committee and tells Suzie's mom about it and there you go - now all that work Suzie did to get her number away from her mother is undone and she has to deal with it all again. All because someone else decided that the risk was minimal and keeping a number private was silly.

I'd assume that if Suzie knew that  there was a reasonable chance that her mother could get her number from a fellow committee member, she'd be proactive in opting out of a contact list. And I've never argued that that request should not be honoured.



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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #100 on: September 19, 2013, 10:55:00 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience...

But you what is dismissive though? Assuming that all the people who were/are stalked by people they know didn't already go though the hassle of changing their phone numbers. So stranger stalkings are rare big deal, they aren't the only kind of stalking. Plenty of people are bothered by their known stalkers enough to go through the days worth of trouble of changing their number... Having it published publicly to hundreds of random people now makes all that work void.

Not to mention focusing on stalking is dismissive of the dozens, hundreds, of other legitimate reasons people might not want their number known. Professional reasons. Toxic family. Formerly associated with a bad crowd, trying to turn over a new leaf. Extreme introvert. Budget. Etc.

Again, I'm not saying that it's OK to publish a number publically. I'm not about to publish my personal phone book in The Times.

I'm talking about making and sharing a contact list. Yes, Suzie may have cut off her mother and not want her to have her phone number. I doubt Suzie's mother is going to somehow get hold of the Christmas dinner committee contact list.

These are college students right? So why wouldn't the list be essentially university wide public now? Plenty of people will print them out and leave then laying around, such as leaving them on their desk in their shared dorm room, so all their roommates, and roommates friends might see them, or forgetting them/loosing them in a public sitting area where anyone could pick them up. Etc. Plus its a one time event - plenty of people will print out the list and print it with them that one day and then leave them - either in a trash can, or as likely as not, just laying around somewhere because they don't need the print out anymore. It was an emailed list - some people are going to forward it to their friends so their friends can have the convenience of having several classmates numbers. This list very well could be much more widely distributed already.

Suzy's mom might not normally get the list but maybe her co-worker's daughter goes to the same college as Suzy and mom casually complains to other mom "oh its so hard to get in touch with Suzy. She's onto one of these budget cell plans now and I lost her number, hey I don't suppose Lucy has her new one, does she? I just can't seem to get an email response..."

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #101 on: September 19, 2013, 11:00:06 AM »
No, good grief no! Stalking is not the only reason people do not want their phone numbers given out. I think the only reason it was brought up so often was your waving off so many poster's concerns and continually stating that stalking is rare. Being dismissive of others experience is going to cause offense every time.

Stalking by strangers is rare. I went and looked up (and posted) the stats. That's not me being dismissive, that's just the truth. I have never said that stalking victims should be brushed off, I feel very sorry for anybody who has to go through that kind of an experience...

But you what is dismissive though? Assuming that all the people who were/are stalked by people they know didn't already go though the hassle of changing their phone numbers. So stranger stalkings are rare big deal, they aren't the only kind of stalking. Plenty of people are bothered by their known stalkers enough to go through the days worth of trouble of changing their number... Having it published publicly to hundreds of random people now makes all that work void.

Not to mention focusing on stalking is dismissive of the dozens, hundreds, of other legitimate reasons people might not want their number known. Professional reasons. Toxic family. Formerly associated with a bad crowd, trying to turn over a new leaf. Extreme introvert. Budget. Etc.

Again, I'm not saying that it's OK to publish a number publically. I'm not about to publish my personal phone book in The Times.

I'm talking about making and sharing a contact list. Yes, Suzie may have cut off her mother and not want her to have her phone number. I doubt Suzie's mother is going to somehow get hold of the Christmas dinner committee contact list.

Unless Suzue's mom's friend is on the committee and tells Suzie's mom about it and there you go - now all that work Suzie did to get her number away from her mother is undone and she has to deal with it all again. All because someone else decided that the risk was minimal and keeping a number private was silly.

I'd assume that if Suzie knew that  there was a reasonable chance that her mother could get her number from a fellow committee member, she'd be proactive in opting out of a contact list. And I've never argued that that request should not be honoured.

But why should I have to reveal all of my personal issues just to get you not to share my information? Maybe I don't want to air all my dirty laundry in public and having to do that to make sure that my information remains private doesn't seem fair.

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #102 on: September 19, 2013, 11:01:32 AM »
Here's my experience: I was a  member of a small volunteer group, maybe 10 people at the time.  We had a shared Yahoo group area; you had to be approved by one of the group leaders to have access to it.  It contained, among other things, a volunteer contact list. 

New member Mike joins the group.  Everything is fine for several months.  Then Mike, who is a recovering alcoholic, has a relapse.   During this time he uses the contact list to make drunken late night/early morning phone calls to every other member.  He rants, raves, threatens, generally acts like a giant pill.  Even after he sobers up, he's in a very bad place mentally, and continues to call and harass volunteers.  People can't change their phone numbers easily, because of the large number of active contacts going on  (this was a dog rescue - volunteers were working with potential adopters, vets, animal control, owners surrendering dogs, etc).

Eventually Mike settles down and is not heard from again, but it was a very unpleasant few weeks for everyone.

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #103 on: September 19, 2013, 11:20:21 AM »
The bottom line is, it doesn't matter why a person doesn't want their number made public. What matters is organizations loose volunteers when the numbers are made public. Maybe its because the people are ridiculous maybe its due to valid concerns over their number, but either way the organization looses their volunteers - which in many cases they can ill afford to loose. Our OP says she will not do this or any other volunteer opportunity because of this privacy breach. Earlier in the thread I spoke about a group I volunteer with that lost a valuable, hard working, very involved member due to her email being distributed.

If for no other reason then good volunteers are hard to get, contact information should not be revealed without express permission, because that is a good enough reason. Loosing people when you are trying to recruit people is reason enough that everyone should take to heart the concept of guarding personal information of their volunteers.

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #104 on: September 19, 2013, 11:38:24 AM »
In general, I actually agree with Teenyweeny that it's not a high risk issue, and it certainly wouldn't bother me if my name was on a contact list for a volunteer group. I think there's no harm in having lists as opt-out rather than opt-in.

But I do think that has to be expressly made clear when signing up for something

Just because I think it's a small thing, doesn't mean everybody does. I direct theatre a lot and it's so much more convenient for the whole cast to have everybody else's numbers - but I do always quickly check before I share them.

In this whole thread I think Mel's point is the best I've read
"Either you share them, and it turns out that they're OK with the idea - this is fine.
Or you share them, and they're NOT OK with the idea - this is BAD, and you can't take back the sharing. You cannot fix this.Or you don't share them, and it turns out that they would have been OK with it - this is fine, you or they can still contact the person who wanted to get hold of them.
Or you don't share them, and it turns out that they would NOT have been OK with it - this is fine, you have protected them"

Isn't it better etiquette to check than to assume?

In Snowdragon's situation, she'd already performed that step to the best of her knowledge and was totally blindsided by this, but even that mistake on the part of the co-ordinator could have been avoided by simply mentioning that she (the coordinator) was planning to share details at the point of sign up.
I probably would continue to volunteer after complaining and raising this point, but I can understand why you wouldn't trust the school to stick to it.

edited said can't, meant can!