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Plaxo Contact Manager And Privacy Concerns



Mar 1 2006, 08:34 PM

A couple of years ago, I received a Plaxo invitation from a trusted friend (or was it Plaxo, impersonating him?), so I figured I'd try it, since, well, if he is using it, then it must be safe.

So on my system, it's been for two years running. And in the back of my mind, I'm wondering some things that this particular writer, whose article is linked below, is wondering:


Things really came to a head when I decided to troubleshoot, in earnest, a strange problem with Outlook e-mails getting copied to the Windows clipboard without my doing so. I got a new clipboard utility in FrontPage 2003, which holds 24 clipboard items and reports from the taskbar.

Well, I was really alarmed when, as I scrolled through my Inbox in Outlook, the number of items on the clipboard was increasing!

Of course, this was not the first time I discovered this. It was a few months ago, while pasting for sale items to a newsgroup, and clicking on Inbox to let the news server do its thing and clear a logjam, I noticed that the very next thing I pasted was not the for sale item text, but the first e-mail in Inbox!

Today I decided to get to the bottom of it. After numerous virus scans turning up nothing, I realized that Plaxo was the only odd thing here. So I took it out today.

So what happened? The clipboard behavior stopped. No longer are my inbox messages being auto-copied to clipboard.

Now this makes me wonder, if that was happening because of Plaxo, could it be that Plaxo is collecting a lot more than address info? Could every e-mail I've clicked on be copied to some computer in the Plaxo corporate building? Enquiring minds want to know!

So I am putting out the word that Plaxo does some strange things to your Outlook software and that data privacy MIGHT be compromised.


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