Today I received this email:

From: Victor Coutand

Subject: Questions About CCPA Data Access Process for freeradical.zone

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Victor Coutand, and I am a resident of Nice, France. I have a few questions about your process for responding to California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) data access requests:

  1. Would you process a CCPA data access request from me even though I am not a resident of California?
  2. Do you process CCPA data access requests via email, a website, or telephone? If via a website, what is the URL I should go to?
  3. What personal information do I have to submit for you to verify and process a CCPA data access request?
  4. What information do you provide in response to a CCPA data access request?

To be clear, I am not submitting a data access request at this time. My questions are about your process for when I do submit a request.

Thank you in advance for your answers to these questions. If there is a better contact for processing CCPA requests regarding freeradical.zone, I kindly ask that you forward my request to them.

I look forward to your reply without undue delay and at most within 45 days of this email, as required by Section 1798.130 of the California Civil Code.

Sincerely,

Victor Coutand

Let’s get a couple of things straight, “Victor”:

  • I don’t owe you a response, but consider this to be it.
  • California’s Consumer Privacy Act is a terrific law, but it doesn’t apply to Free Radical:
    • This isn’t a for-profit business.
    • I definitely don’t have gross annual revenue of over $25 million.
    • I don’t have personal information of over 50,000 Californians.
    • I have zero revenue from selling Californians' personal information.

So here are your answers:

  1. No.
  2. Neither.
  3. Not applicable.
  4. None.

I like the CCPA. As a Californian, I think it’s a good law that helps protect my personal data. I believe that Free Radical and its related services meets and exceeds all CCPA requirements, and as a practical matter we don’t collect any information except what’s required to provide the services users sign up for. In short, I don’t want your personal information, I don’t have your personal information except for your email address and whatever you publicly share through this service, and I certainly don’t sell, trade, transfer, or in any way share whatever information I have with anyone else (except other fediverse servers as a part of normal operations).

It’s just that however great I think the CCPA is, I’m not subject to it. I know you’ve sent this message out to a lot of people, because my friends have been reporting that they received it, too. Including a thinly veiled legal threat in your first email to us makes me think either you’re a misguided jerk, or a scammer who would offer to let me “settle” some supposed legal violation with a stack of Amazon gift cards or such. Either way, now I’m responding to you this way so that other admins will know that you sent out a mass email and that they can also ignore it.

For any future inquiries, I refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.


Update 2021-12-17: This is a human subject research study conducted Princeton University and Radboud University on unwitting persons. I verged on a panic attack for nothing. People who wasted money asking lawyers for their advice on this did it for nothing. How dare you, Princeton? I didn’t give you permission to experiment on me!

I followed Princeton’s online instructions to send this letter to their Research Integrity & Assurance department:

On December 10, 2021, I received an email from a researcher, Ross Teixeira (see https://privacystudy.cs.princeton.edu) that read as though I were about to be subject to legal processes over a small social network site I operate (https://freeradical.zone). I had a minor panic attack, literally, upon receipt, as I thought I was about to be sued. I wrote about this letter at https://blog.freeradical.zone/post/ccpa-scam-2021-12/ and discovered that many of my associates had received a similar letter.

At no time did I consent to participate in this human research study conducted by Princeton. I am beyond livid that I was subject to a stressful situation, and one that very easily could have caused me to hire a lawyer and incur legal costs. I demand to be removed from this study and others like it, and I strongly suggest that this study be halted immediately.

Note: I haven’t spoken to Teixeira or his supervisors, nor will I. I’m not confident that I could remain civil when talking to the person who inflicted this on me without my permission or knowledge.