PR firm pimps out privacy

We have a privacy problem in the 21st century. Namely, we have none, and what little we do have, is too often negligently trampled on by others, leaked, divulged, passed around, handed over. You could say that privacy was the 21st century’s whore.

And pimping out people’s privacy is apparently good business practice these days too. Just ask Yahoo, or Google, or Microsoft. Or, ask the California based PR firm which represents – amongst others – Imagination Technologies.

We were recently approached by a rep from the firm asking us if we were interested in meeting up with Imagination Technologies at the upcoming GDC conference in California. We told him that, yes, we were indeed interested.

This reporter was then asked for a headshot and bio, for use in a “media briefing/appointment book”. The rep enclosed a copy of such an appointment book from CES. Replete with analyst and journalist names, phone numbers, emails and even meeting times and previous briefings attended.

This reporter now has the personal cell phone numbers of many an analyst who probably wishes she didn’t.

The 44 pages of the document (yes, 44 pages) also shows how much meeting time was allocated to each hack and analyst, revealing that Imagination Technologies certainly appears to have more love for some than for others.

One reporter whose details were unceremoniously leaked told us that the debacle certainly “appears to be not the best practice in the world,” which we found rather diplomatic and restrained of him.

Whilst we can easily understand why a firm might need a briefing document like this for internal PR use, we’re pretty sure most people on that list wouldn’t want their personal details being sent around willy nilly without their consent or foreknowledge.

We’ve written to the rep and told him as much, so we won’t name and shame. But please, PR people, have some respect for our privacy. It’s not yours to give away.