Monday, November 26, 2007

Gordon Brown Loses Personal Data of Millions of Britons

I thought I'd share a little personal annecdote in reference to the headline above that has filled the Google News Alerts for the keywords "Gordon," "Brown's", "Incredible", "Shrinking", "Political", and "Career".

I was looking through the adverts in the Daily Mail (which paper has become indispensable, and not only for lighting fires) looking for a company that would give me a better deal than BT on broadband internet.

At each one I called, I was informed that the only "option" available was to pay by "direct debit" and could they please have my bank account number. (That the word "option" didn't mean that, seemed to go over the heads of most of the people I spoke to, no matter how hard I tried to explain it.)

When I said that I did not want anyone dipping their grubby little paws into my bank accounts, I was told that the company was "very sorry" but that "everyone does it that way."

"Well," said I to the twelfth company representative in the phone centre in Bangalore, "I've observed through my travels that most people are extremely stupid. I shall have to revise that assessment to include 'everyone' from now on."

As you have observed, I did manage at last to find a company who would take my money. But I thought that in the light of recent revelations in the news, the fact that it was close to impossible to get a basic service, necessary to my continued employment, without giving out banking details, was illustrative of the problem.

Not everyone can live in a little rural cottage in West Cheshire, snare their own food and collect firewood every day. Most people have to have ordinary services that are considered normal for people in this admittedly incredibly technologically bloated culture.

People need phones. They need the net. They need all sorts of things and the way things are set up, it has become nearly impossible to protect oneself or one's family from the state.

The fact that we are all, either consciously or unconsciously thinking in terms of "protecting" ourselves from the state, says everything that needs to be said I think.

No comments: