An advertising popup took me to a site called "card sharing", so with my interest in all things to do with credit cards, I had a look. Then I did a bit of Googling, and wound up on the Wikipedia site.
It isn't about credit cards, but it's still interesting. And (mostly) illegal. It isn't illegal if the service provider allows it, which might be the case for some providers to allow multiple TVs within the same house to access the service. But I'd guess that in more than 99% of the cases, it is illegal.
When you subscribe to a service such as Sky, you get radio waves from above giving you the service. But they don't want just anyone to be able to get their service, only people who have paid. So the video is encrypted, and only paid customers have the decryption key. Obviously, people being how they are, that key would soon get shared. So the people supplying the service change the key every few seconds.
What card sharing services do, is supply that decryption key, over the internet, for a fee.
Meanwhile, in the Spam front, I just got a spam from "Mighty Deals". What's especially interesting about this spam, is a statement at the bottom.
"You opted-in when giving information to the following url
This information was supplied at: 07/09/2011 22:45:00"
No, I didn't. I just now went to that web site, it's about properties for sale or rent in the UK, and I can't imagine a site I'd be less likely to visit, let alone to opt in on.
So I called Mighty Deals on 01 483 412978 option 2 and spoke to Sarah there. She said that they don't buy databases, but they do trades with other companies. My email address wasn't on her database, so I forwarded the spam to her. I explained to her that the statement about rightmove was incorrect. She's looking into it.
So then, of course, I called Rightmove on 01908 308500 and spoke to Tomas in Marketing. He said that he wasn't aware of them ever giving out email addresses to third parties. I forwarded the spam to him too, and gave him Sarah's details. Hopefully, they'll get to the bottom of it.
The email was actually sent out by 247emaildelivery.com, who offer email services. Their number is 0800 043 2460. I called them and spoke to Ingrid, who is a shared receptionist for the whole building, she said she'd get someone from the company to call me back, because they're all out at the moment. Peter called me back very soon.
Peter said that 247emaildelivery don't supply data, they only supply software and email delivery services, and one of their contractual conditions is that only opted-in data is used. I asked him what will happen when it's shown that the email address they sent to was not opted in, and he said they'd terminate their contract with Mighty Deals. I gave him the email address in question, and he's going to chase it up.
My guess is as follows. From what I've been told, there's actually no way this email address could have got into Mighty Deals database. So someone is mistaken. And at some point, someone has bought in a database from one of the dodgy vendors who claim that all their data is opt-in, and actually a lot of it (possibly most of it) isn't. And from there, it's gotten swapped and traded.
What do I want?
I want people who send out emails to take a lot more seriously, their obligation under the PEC (2003) regulation; not to send spam to people who haven't asked for it.