Author Topic: privacy and volunteering  (Read 11502 times)

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edgypeanuts

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2013, 11:09:44 PM »
THis is a genuine question and not written out of malice or sarcasm. I know about privacy concerns where harm could occur - shredding those pre-approved credit card offers, for example, so no one can steal one and apply in your name and ruin your credit. But I truly do not understand how a phone number released to fellow volunteers could be harmful. So this is a genuine question - please explain! And I don't mean, "If she doesn't want her number shared, then she has that right!" I know that. But why? What could happen? Are you afraid of sales calls from the other volunteers? A name and a phone number, as far as I can understand, are all that are shared. What is the *worst* that could happen, in your wildest imagination? I don't understand, truly and honestly.

I am a veterinarian, and I volunteer with a TNR group.  I am happy for those in the office and scheduling having my contact info, but I would be very not happy if my contact info was given out to all the volunteers because I don't want calls at home asking my opinions of their pet's illness or even my own clients calling me with questions unexpectedly.  I have given my number out to some of my clients, but I and only I decide who I am comfortable giving that info to. 

I have had people call my relatives and ask to talk to me cause their animal is sick and they don't trust their vet or want me to tell them if they actually have to take them to the emergency clinic or not.  I care about them and want to help, but it is stressful when I am not expecting it and it is really hard for people to understand that I cannot do much to help when I cannot see and feel the animal in question!  I also cannot legally prescribe for an animal I have not seen.  I feel like I cannot do a good job and it can reflect badly on my business and I also have the feeling of being "on call" which I hate. 

I have no problem working weekends and after hours for ongoing cases that I know well (most of my chemo patients have my number) but if it were given to 100+ volunteers, esp if most of them have animals and know what I do, I would consider leaving the group as well. 


Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2013, 07:20:36 AM »
I don't get the whole, "my phone number is secret" thing either.

I can understand not wanting to post it somewhere where it could get picked up by a marketing agency, becuase those calls are annoying. I just think that worrying about an individual abusing your phone number is borrowing trouble, since it more than likely won't happen. (And if that's not what the OP is worried about, then why does she care who has her phone number?)

If they call at an inconvenient time: don't answer.
If they call too often: answer only on your own schedule.
If you don't want to speak to a specific person: set their ring tone to silent, or just make use of your caller ID, and don't answer.

It's really easy to manage who you speak to and when, whilst still having the convenience of being contactable by those who you might need to liase with. It basically boils down to not picking up the phone if you don't wanna.

On the rare chance you start getting calls from a nutter, you can take more serious steps. But really, that's something that has a vanishingly low probability of occuring, and if it does, the solution is fairly simple (get a new number). I choose not to plan my life around low-risk, low-probability threats.



Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2013, 07:26:54 AM »
This is a genuine question and not written out of malice or sarcasm. I know about privacy concerns where harm could occur - shredding those pre-approved credit card offers, for example, so no one can steal one and apply in your name and ruin your credit. But I truly do not understand how a phone number released to fellow volunteers could be harmful. So this is a genuine question - please explain! And I don't mean, "If she doesn't want her number shared, then she has that right!" I know that. But why? What could happen? Are you afraid of sales calls from the other volunteers? A name and a phone number, as far as I can understand, are all that are shared. What is the *worst* that could happen, in your wildest imagination? I don't understand, truly and honestly.

I am a veterinarian, and I volunteer with a TNR group.  I am happy for those in the office and scheduling having my contact info, but I would be very not happy if my contact info was given out to all the volunteers because I don't want calls at home asking my opinions of their pet's illness or even my own clients calling me with questions unexpectedly.  I have given my number out to some of my clients, but I and only I decide who I am comfortable giving that info to. 

I have had people call my relatives and ask to talk to me cause their animal is sick and they don't trust their vet or want me to tell them if they actually have to take them to the emergency clinic or not.  I care about them and want to help, but it is stressful when I am not expecting it and it is really hard for people to understand that I cannot do much to help when I cannot see and feel the animal in question!  I also cannot legally prescribe for an animal I have not seen.  I feel like I cannot do a good job and it can reflect badly on my business and I also have the feeling of being "on call" which I hate. 

I have no problem working weekends and after hours for ongoing cases that I know well (most of my chemo patients have my number) but if it were given to 100+ volunteers, esp if most of them have animals and know what I do, I would consider leaving the group as well.


I know it's hard, especially because I'm sure you do want to help these animals, but as you say, you can't actually help over the phone.

I'd give the same stock answer every time, "I'm sorry, but it would be unsafe and unwise for me to attempt a diagnosis over the phone. You should take Fluffy to <local animal hospital>, and get him checked out there. I'd hate to miss something serious because I can't see the animal in front of me."  Make it about the animal's safety, and not your unavailability.



Collakat

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #48 on: September 18, 2013, 08:59:57 AM »
For those who don't understand why this is an issue:

It is about the principle of giving out personal information. Cyber bullying, identity theft, computer hacking becoming an organised crime. Those are some of the reasons why personal information are considered personal and not public. Banks started using contact information to validate a person calling the call centres etc. So, if I do a bit of social engineering, one email address, contact information, I could escalate different accounts, subscriptions, untill I have full control over the target's online identity. It is possible  ;)

Privacy Law seems to apply in this case. Oversight or ignorance is unfortunately not an excuse. My contact detail is my information, I should have control over who has it and what they use it for. If I specifically indicated I don't want my contact information shared through a formal channel, then I'm not going to be impressed if that information is broadcasted.
This link has some useful info http://www.carnegiecyberacademy.com/facultyPages/communication/personalInfo.html

Collakat

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2013, 09:06:56 AM »
On the rare chance you start getting calls from a nutter, you can take more serious steps. But really, that's something that has a vanishingly low probability of occuring, and if it does, the solution is fairly simple (get a new number). I choose not to plan my life around low-risk, low-probability threats.

You shouln't have to take steps. Especially if you made a choice not to have your number out there and someone disregarded your privacy.

Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2013, 09:13:47 AM »
For those who don't understand why this is an issue:

It is about the principle of giving out personal information. Cyber bullying, identity theft, computer hacking becoming an organised crime. Those are some of the reasons why personal information are considered personal and not public. Banks started using contact information to validate a person calling the call centres etc. So, if I do a bit of social engineering, one email address, contact information, I could escalate different accounts, subscriptions, untill I have full control over the target's online identity. It is possible  ;)

Privacy Law seems to apply in this case. Oversight or ignorance is unfortunately not an excuse. My contact detail is my information, I should have control over who has it and what they use it for. If I specifically indicated I don't want my contact information shared through a formal channel, then I'm not going to be impressed if that information is broadcasted.
This link has some useful info http://www.carnegiecyberacademy.com/facultyPages/communication/personalInfo.html

It's possible, but it's also possible to do that from just a name and a city, which presumably the other volunteers will all know. I'm not talking about releasing your phone number to the general public, but to a much smaller group of people. This is what I mean about borrowing trouble.

It's certainly possible that somebody will steal your identity. But then, what do you fear will happen?

Financial consequences? The most likely outcome of identity theft. Eh, it's a pain to sort out, but it can be sorted out quite quickly. And somebody doesn't actually need your phone number to do this! If you've ever made an online purchase or used an ATM, somebody could steal your information.

Someone will actually impersonate you? That's so vanishingly unlikely as to be something that's not worth the amount of time that you'd have to invest in guarding against it. It would be like buying a special shark-proof swimsuit. Sure, in case of shark attack, you're sitting pretty, but is it really necessary?

I think when we take precautions, we should ask what we are taking precautions against on a practical level, rather than just invoking some spectre of 'cybercrime' or 'online bullying'. Paradoxically, you'll probably be safer than if you bump your threat level to 'high' over some nebulous fear.



PastryGoddess

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2013, 09:30:17 AM »
OP took all of the steps provided by the organization to maintain her privacy and they went ahead and violated it anyway. 

It frustrates me to no end to see people blithely dismiss privacy concerns as being over blown or no big deal.  That's not for you to decide.  People have all sorts of reasons to maintain their privacy.  What's important is that those wishes are honored.

Bexx27

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2013, 09:57:14 AM »
I agree with Teenyweeny. My viewpoint on this topic is colored by the fact that I work on a longitudinal research study which requires contacting participants with whom we last spoke years ago. When the contact information they've provided is no longer valid, we search the internet for new phone numbers and addresses. If you know where and how to search, it's possible to find an incredible amount of information through public records. We often receive phone calls from people demanding to know how we got their unlisted, private cell phone numbers and we simply apologize for bothering them and tell them it's publicly available information. If a fellow volunteer were inclined to use your unlisted phone number for nefarious purposes, chances are they could do so without any help from an indiscreet volunteer coordinator.

That said, it definitely wasn't right to distribute your contact information without permission. You'd be justified in complaining to the volunteer coordinator and choosing not to volunteer with this organization, but it's important to keep this in perspective and not worry too much about possible risks.
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suzieQ

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2013, 10:49:24 AM »
I can think of several reasons why people are more protective of their telephone numbers:
  • In the beginning of cell phones, more often than not you paid for incoming calls as well as outgoing calls. You would want to control who had the number to avoid talkative Uncle Bert calling repeatedly and running up your bill.
  • If you carry your cell phone with you, theoretically you can be reached 24/7. The more people have your number, the more likely it is that people will call you while you're out having dinner or otherwise trying to relax. (I know, you can turn it off - but not everyone thinks of that every time.)
  • There are a lot more phone spammers these days.
  • People seem to value others' privacy less, and are more likely to make business calls in the evening on a home number, to expect people to be available 24/7 and be snarky when they are not, to generally trample boundaries that used to be more respected.

I still pay for incoming as well as outgoing calls! Not a whole lot, just $30 per month but I don't want my 1000 minutes used up by another person who may be calling to tell me what a lovely "whatever" I was wearing that day, and do I happen to know the phone number of "other volunteer" because her number wasn't on the list, and on and on and on.
I would not volunteer for this group again, either. And in your shoes, OP, I would drop out of this current volunteer position as well.

WillyNilly

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2013, 12:46:10 PM »
On the rare chance you start getting calls from a nutter, you can take more serious steps. But really, that's something that has a vanishingly low probability of occuring, and if it does, the solution is fairly simple (get a new number). I choose not to plan my life around low-risk, low-probability threats.

A new number is a "simple" solution in your world? Because it would not be for at all! My number is on my resume, its attached to my credit cards and bank accounts, its the alternate contact for my Facebook account, my Dr's have it, friends and family across the country - including being the "out of area contact number" for my family in San Francisco in the event the big earthquake comes - etc. I trust those sources to have my number, but I'd rather it didn't get itself too easily just randomly out there; I have an ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago who is probably not a threat at all, but who after I broke up with him did some low level stalking of me, tried to commit suicide and last I heard became a junkie - yeah I'd rather he not be able to go into a public library and pull up my number. I'm sure my number is searchable if someone really tried pretty hard, but at the moment its not super easily accessible and it is in no way a simple thing for me to change it - it would be days worth of work trying to remember and then contact every source that I want to have my number to have them change it.

Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #55 on: September 18, 2013, 01:01:30 PM »
On the rare chance you start getting calls from a nutter, you can take more serious steps. But really, that's something that has a vanishingly low probability of occuring, and if it does, the solution is fairly simple (get a new number). I choose not to plan my life around low-risk, low-probability threats.

A new number is a "simple" solution in your world? Because it would not be for at all! My number is on my resume, its attached to my credit cards and bank accounts, its the alternate contact for my Facebook account, my Dr's have it, friends and family across the country - including being the "out of area contact number" for my family in San Francisco in the event the big earthquake comes - etc. I trust those sources to have my number, but I'd rather it didn't get itself too easily just randomly out there; I have an ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago who is probably not a threat at all, but who after I broke up with him did some low level stalking of me, tried to commit suicide and last I heard became a junkie - yeah I'd rather he not be able to go into a public library and pull up my number. I'm sure my number is searchable if someone really tried pretty hard, but at the moment its not super easily accessible and it is in no way a simple thing for me to change it - it would be days worth of work trying to remember and then contact every source that I want to have my number to have them change it.

I didn't say that it wouldn't be a hassle, but it would be simple. And you have a factor which elevates your risk of getting phone calls from a nut, so you assess risk differently. If you were fleeing an abusive relationship, your risk would be still higher.

However (happily) most people don't have these additional risk factors, so to behave like somebody who does seems like overkill.

I mean, some people have diabetes and need to watch their sugar intake carefully. We should all probably be doing that anyway, right? I mean, too much sugar is bad for you.

But as somebody who does not have diabetes, I don't have to watch my sugar intake as carefully as a diabetic would. I could do that if I wanted to, but it would be a lot of effort to go to for something that carries (for me) a very small amount of risk.



edgypeanuts

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #56 on: September 18, 2013, 01:44:36 PM »

I know it's hard, especially because I'm sure you do want to help these animals, but as you say, you can't actually help over the phone.

I'd give the same stock answer every time, "I'm sorry, but it would be unsafe and unwise for me to attempt a diagnosis over the phone. You should take Fluffy to <local animal hospital>, and get him checked out there. I'd hate to miss something serious because I can't see the animal in front of me."  Make it about the animal's safety, and not your unavailability.

But that sounds very cold hearted, even if it is true.  And therefore it reflect badly on my and my clinic.  Some of these people are my clients, and to them it is "just a quick question" and "they cannot afford to go to the ER"  And couldn't I meet them at the clinic?   

Yes, I have the spine to say no.  But my point is that I shouldn't have to.  It could be something that doesn't require a trip to the ER, general questions about food and behavior, then my not taking the time to talk to them makes me look uncaring and it gets passed around that Dr won't talk to you unless you go to her clinic even for just a question cause all they care about is the money. 

And even if I say no and make it about the animal's safety, I still have had to take time out of my evening with family to handle it, whether I answer the phone when it rings or have to call them back after listening to a long message about how panicked they are and can I please call them back right away?!  And I do tend to answer local numbers I don't recognize as I have a lot of family in the area who could be somewhere and need me.

And sometimes they do get to me and I end up meeting them because I don't want the pet to suffer, etc.  I know that is my own choice, but the point STILL remains, I should not have to get those calls!!  It is not up to anyone else to give out my number  like that. 

WillyNilly

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #57 on: September 18, 2013, 01:51:58 PM »
On the rare chance you start getting calls from a nutter, you can take more serious steps. But really, that's something that has a vanishingly low probability of occuring, and if it does, the solution is fairly simple (get a new number). I choose not to plan my life around low-risk, low-probability threats.

A new number is a "simple" solution in your world? Because it would not be for at all! My number is on my resume, its attached to my credit cards and bank accounts, its the alternate contact for my Facebook account, my Dr's have it, friends and family across the country - including being the "out of area contact number" for my family in San Francisco in the event the big earthquake comes - etc. I trust those sources to have my number, but I'd rather it didn't get itself too easily just randomly out there; I have an ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago who is probably not a threat at all, but who after I broke up with him did some low level stalking of me, tried to commit suicide and last I heard became a junkie - yeah I'd rather he not be able to go into a public library and pull up my number. I'm sure my number is searchable if someone really tried pretty hard, but at the moment its not super easily accessible and it is in no way a simple thing for me to change it - it would be days worth of work trying to remember and then contact every source that I want to have my number to have them change it.

I didn't say that it wouldn't be a hassle, but it would be simple. And you have a factor which elevates your risk of getting phone calls from a nut, so you assess risk differently. If you were fleeing an abusive relationship, your risk would be still higher.

However (happily) most people don't have these additional risk factors, so to behave like somebody who does seems like overkill.

I mean, some people have diabetes and need to watch their sugar intake carefully. We should all probably be doing that anyway, right? I mean, too much sugar is bad for you.

But as somebody who does not have diabetes, I don't have to watch my sugar intake as carefully as a diabetic would. I could do that if I wanted to, but it would be a lot of effort to go to for something that carries (for me) a very small amount of risk.

First off all I don't understand how something that is admittedly a hassle is also simple. its not simple, its a hassle.

Second, how an you say most people don't have the same risk I have? Do you know the fate of every single person you went to high school with, or ever dated, or worked with, or lived near? You could just as easily have a now-junkie-but-then-reasonable person in your past as well. Just because I know of mine, doesn't mean that plenty of other people don't also have the same situation and would rather their phone number, that they pay for, that is linked to dozens upon dozens of legitimate and far reaching sources, not be let loose for just anyone to have randomly.

Teenyweeny

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #58 on: September 18, 2013, 02:02:16 PM »

I know it's hard, especially because I'm sure you do want to help these animals, but as you say, you can't actually help over the phone.

I'd give the same stock answer every time, "I'm sorry, but it would be unsafe and unwise for me to attempt a diagnosis over the phone. You should take Fluffy to <local animal hospital>, and get him checked out there. I'd hate to miss something serious because I can't see the animal in front of me."  Make it about the animal's safety, and not your unavailability.

But that sounds very cold hearted, even if it is true.  And therefore it reflect badly on my and my clinic.  Some of these people are my clients, and to them it is "just a quick question" and "they cannot afford to go to the ER"  And couldn't I meet them at the clinic?   

Yes, I have the spine to say no.  But my point is that I shouldn't have to.  It could be something that doesn't require a trip to the ER, general questions about food and behavior, then my not taking the time to talk to them makes me look uncaring and it gets passed around that Dr won't talk to you unless you go to her clinic even for just a question cause all they care about is the money. 

And even if I say no and make it about the animal's safety, I still have had to take time out of my evening with family to handle it, whether I answer the phone when it rings or have to call them back after listening to a long message about how panicked they are and can I please call them back right away?!  And I do tend to answer local numbers I don't recognize as I have a lot of family in the area who could be somewhere and need me.

And sometimes they do get to me and I end up meeting them because I don't want the pet to suffer, etc.  I know that is my own choice, but the point STILL remains, I should not have to get those calls!!  It is not up to anyone else to give out my number  like that.

Well, the thing is that unless you would be willing to go to the clinic, then you can't help the caller. And if the pet doesn't need that kind of immediate attention,  then it's not an emergency and can wait until your normal business hours.

"I'm sure you'll understand that I only deal with emergencies when I'm off duty. If you call my office at x time, I'll be happy to help you then."

In any case, your profession has put you at greater risk of nuisance calls, so again, you have more reason than the aversge person to guard your number carefully. For people without much risk, as I say, it seems silly to me.



ellebelle

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Re: privacy and volunteering
« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2013, 06:51:22 PM »
OP, Is the volunteer coordinator who sent out the list a staff of the college? or just volunteer staff? did they pull your information from the college's database or from a from you filled out?

If they do not work for the College and if the didn't pull this info from the college database, they would have no way of knowing your information was listed as private.

If they, however, work for the college, AND if they pulled your data from the college database not from a seperate application you submitted, then you really need to talk to your Registrar or who ever manages FERPA at your college.
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