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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 2, Issue 52, The 104th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      I've been eager to see how the folks at ABC, WIBC, and YABA were going to create their much promised greater communication, access, and services for their members. And while pursuing a tip for a story for Kegler's Connection newsletter, I came across one of their first Internet Age forms of communication. The website Bowl.com has a page where when you type in your name, you're supposed to get your book average information. But imagine my suprise when I not only got that information, but what centers I bowled in, what dates they bowled, what times they bowled, plus my city, state, and zip code.

      While I agree that names, book averages, and sanction numbers are probably safe enough to post (and even a great step forward in terms of access and information), I can't think of a good reason for ANY of the other information to be posted.

      As a female bowler, I'm not exactly keen on the notion that ABC and WIBC are telling anyone with a computer where I will be each week and when. Or when I will NOT be home, for that matter. They even say whether the league is all men, all women, mixed, or junior bowlers. By giving the ending week of my leagues, they're also telling everyone when I'm leaving my bowling centers with cash in hand. It seems the only thing they didn't provide is a map back to my house.

      Now maybe as a columnist, I give up some rights of privacy, but imagine my horror when I typed in the names of my son and other children I coach only to find the very same identifying information on them.

      Often a parent will drop off a child, to run a few errands hassle free while the child bowls. As a coach and a mom, I can totally understand the desire to use those 90 minutes of free time. But by giving out such personal information on children, YABA is encouraging any estranged parent looking for a child to come by the bowling center. Bowling centers and junior coaches are NOT set up to handle custody disagreements. Unlike schools or day care centers, we don't have sign out sheets.

      Even online providers encourage people in general, and parents with children specifically, to be somewhat vague when giving out personal information in chats, profiles, or any other area online. Apparently YABA has not heard of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, but maybe they should read into it.

      The Federal Trade Commission at their website www.ftc.gov very clearly explains the policy of protecting children's information (How to Comply With The Children's Online Privacy…)--a policy that we have to uphold at the various websites and online areas where I volunteer. Parents must give written consent before any information on children may be collected, let alone posted for everyone to see.

      Not only are these postings on Bowl.com against COPPA, it's a downright foolish policy that opens ABC, WIBC, and YABA up to all kinds of litigation if anything were to happen. Winter leagues are already starting, and even more associations will be sending information back with the Winlabs program. I sincerely urge you contact the folks in Greendale by emailing Roger Dalkin Executive Director of ABC, [email protected], Roseann Kuhn, Executive Director of WIBC, [email protected] , and Jim Zebehazy Executive Director of YABA, [email protected].

Gotta Split,

Angel


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