There is a way

Saije expressed earlier a frustration at registration for online news sites, a peeve I share. Now, there's something to be done about it.

Bugmenot is a web tool used to bypass such registrations. There is also a Firefox Plugin to make it even easier for those who use my browser of choice.

Well, I was just stopping in for a quick word. More later tonight


  1. Hmm - bypassing registration of online news sites by using fake usernames/passwords provided by a third party. I wonder if there's going to be any legal problems for bugmenot?

    Is it legal to provide false details when registering on a website?

  2. I don't know the answer to that for sure but I think it would be hard to prove fraud because you are not attempting to gain anything of value. The website is free, it just wants information about you before it lets you access it. And there is no causal connection between the reason for the information being gathered and the entry it gives you. That probably didn't make sense. This is what I mean: you want to read say, the New York Times, you go to pull up an article and it tells you that you have to register first. It asks you all kinds of demographic questions relating to your age, sex, income, etc. It then gives you access. But the information gained has no connection to the access sought. It is simply the newspaper wanting to gather stats to be able to say that 22% of its readers are married male students, age 25-35, leaving in Australia, making $500K a year. I think these sites are counting on people just blindly giving accurate data because that's all we do in every aspect of our lives now. But it's not for any reason to benefit us, it's to help their marketing.

    I guess you can see I have an issue with this stuff. I don't mind if a site wants me to register and asks only for my email address because I can give a yahoo or hotmail email that is flooded with spam anyway. And it makes sense to me that they would like to know how many online readers they have, they can count the number of registered readers they have. What I have a problem with is the demographic data...that serves a profit motive for them....they can use it to lure their advertisers.

  3. Yes, I do have a problem with sites asking me all sorts of information that they really have no right in knowing, just so it can help them market their products/services better.

    I guess it's different if you're signing up for something you're going to use to communicate with (ie. blogger or a webmail service). Then I presume it's fair to ask for some basic contact details.

    On a slightly different topic, I heard something in identity theft on the radio recently - apparently over there, if you are a business and can state a reason for needing it, you can get all sorts of personal data on anyone. Apparently this has been abused quite a bit.