Saying no is a hard thing to do, especially when saying it to a representative of the United States Olympic Committee. As much as I support the Olympic movement and the goals of the USOC, I have to make business decisions on whether or not to link to web sites of organizations such as the link requested last week and again today.
The decision is, however, easy when the site to be linked to requires users to provide personally identifiable information and the USOC reserves the right to sell or lease the information to unaffiliated third parties.
Am I being worse than the proverbial "Nanny State" in refusing to link to sites that require personally identifiable information to get access to whatever the sponsoring organization is "selling" or "giving away" to visitors? Maybe so, but is my experience as an information technology consultant and auditor that drives this line of thinking.
1. Your email address is more valuable to marketers and bad guys than your credit card number. Why? Because while people will readily change their credit card number when it is compromised. But the will very, very rarely (if at all) change their email address.
2. Users NEVER (or at least 99.5% of the time don't) read end-user license agreements and/or privacy policies. It is not that they don't want to, but the don't want to crawl through lines and lines of legalese without knowing what it really means.
3. Users are not as likely as people experienced in information technology to create disposable e-mail addresses for "one off" purposes such as signing up for a web site or a service. If they did, they would quickly find out what companies and organizations are selling their information.
The only control you would have would be to "Opt-Out":
Unfortunately, the web site in question does not provide an Opt-In Option, so basically people are asked to give away their information without control. There is a simple solution for all web sites that collect information: follow the IBM model of registration and put check boxes on the form that address all possible uses of the data.