in vs opt out
It is simple in
- an "opt
in" requires an action or affirmation by an individual
for inclusion; the default is exclusion;
- an "opt
out" requires an action or affirmation for exclusion;
the default is inclusion.
But, alas, it is
only simple in principle. Presentations of such choices, whether
via oral, paper or electronic means, can be so disguised as
to achieve the opposite effect.
For example, web-based
forms sometimes offer "opt in" questions but with
the "yes" (affirmation) answer pre-checked by default.
(The same effect is achieved with "opt out" questions
that have the "no" answer pre-checked.) Inattentive
users who fail to read carefully and de-select inappropriate
defaults may end up "giving" the wrong response.
One could simply
say that this is the hard luck that sometimes attends inattentiveness.
It would not, however, be in keeping with the spirit of laws
and regulations that require opt outs or opt ins for various