Wednesday, March 16, 2016

CBS Sports Privacy Issues - Emails Shared, Can't Delete Account

I recently signed up for a local NCAA March Madness pool on I don't follow the tournament too closely, but since it was free and it is something fun to do, I figured I would give it a go. After making an account and picking my teams, I started looking through the options. I was shocked as I looked at the Players List section as not only did it show all the players names but also had all their emails shown!

My email was shown as well. I found this concerning because an email address is usually not supposed to be on display like this to the public. This is how you end up getting spam emails. So I kept looking through all the settings to try to figure out how to remove it. There was one option with with a check box that is supposed to hide the email. The problem is, it is already checked and still shows your email.

So my next step, I find what I thought was the administrator email for the group. I decided to email them to ask how to make the email private. Next morning I check my email, and there are like 20 replies from people in the pool. Apparently the email address was not for the administrator but instead posted the question to the public message board and sent it out to everyone on the list! Seriously?

So now, not only is my email public, but I accidentally just emailed over 100 people about it and now many of them are asking the same thing about having their emails removed. I check to try to delete the thread that was created on the message board and it does not even have an option to remove it.

At this point, I'm thinking I just wanted to delete my account altogether. So I go through all the account settings and help files. Guess what? It seems there is not even a way to delete your account! So now my personal information is on there and I can't even remove it.

I next decided to email the privacy department of CBS to see if there was a way to remove or delete and account from the website. I have not heard back from them yet.

As a final step to try to maintain any sort of privacy, I was at least able to edit some of the fields like name and location and change the email address to a different email I do not use.

Still this is completely unacceptable, 1 that they are making everyone's emails public to everyone on the list, and 2 that there is no option to delete your account if you don't want to be on there anymore.

If you are thinking about signing up for an NCAA pool or anything else on the CBS Sports website, make sure you keep all this in mind so you don't end up compromising your privacy.

Update 3-17-16: I heard back from the privacy department within 24 hours. They asked for more information in order to be able to help more, but by this time I had already changed my email to one I do not use and changed my personal information so I decided to not move further with the request. Still I am disappointed with the situation and have requested that these privacy issues be improved.


  1. thank you for the warning and for the very thorough explanation of what happened. that is surely unacceptable...and a media org like cbs should surely know better!

  2. oh, btw... if you don't get satisfaction and you're really upset, you can go to one of their competitors with the story. hehe

  3. I have a new office pool ?? named test pool??