ADOTAS — Was it a massive mistake now being exploited by a politician (not-so) covertly aiming for a governorship or a nasty spam play that a social networking site didn’t think would be investigated? We’ll find out now.
Over the past month, the Attorney General’s Office has been investigating Tagged’s use of alleged deceptive methods to get individuals to join its service. According to the AG, the investigation revealed that Tagged has persistently and knowingly violated New York laws designed to protect consumers from deceptive business practices, false advertising, and the misappropriation of their identities.
Tagged CEO Greg Tseng said in a blog posting that a new registration process was problematic and eventually fixed, and that the company “has not “raided” email address books, “stolen identities” or “spammed” millions of people. The descriptive analogy to “breaking into a home, stealing address books, and sending phony mail” to a person’s contacts is evocative, but it is not accurate.”
According to Cuomo, beginning in April of 2009, Tagged, with the direct approval of its CEO, sent out tens of millions of misleading emails to individuals on its members’ contact lists. Tagged did not clearly and conspicuously disclose to these members that these email invitations would be sent on their behalf, and Tagged has since admitted that many of its members did not actually intend to send the invitations. Many users had no awareness at all that Tagged was accessing their emails contacts in order to send deceptive invitation emails.
Cuomo has played coy on whether he’ll run for governor of New York. A stinging rebuke of a company based on privacy concerns will get a lot of play across the country, so let’s see what happens.