Sunday, July 12, 2009

Privacy and technology. A rant.

Your personal data? Cheap as they've never been.


This morning I received my 8th text message from my mobile provider in four days. It's getting relentless. Promotions and competitions, adverts and marketing, discounts and counterdiscounts, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! Of course all you have to do is to look at it and press delete, but it's the exact equivalent of having a stalker bugging you two to three times a day -everyday- with text messages, except that you don't pay the stalker to offer you a service. A mobile provider, you do.

More to the point. Can you imagine if every single utility company acted like them (and, rest assured, many do)? If your electricity and gas suppliers, your water and landline were all bombarding you at the same rate, checking your texts and answering calls would turn into a full-time job.

Yesterday I made a belated, though still scary, discovery: a website called, a true stalker's paradise. I know that directory enquiries always existed, but this is a different league altogether. You type in the name of a person and, the site proudly informs you, you get "age guide co-occupants, length of occupancy, property prices, neighbours, Director Reports and more!". Note the exclamation mark as part of the quote.

Some of the information comes for free and does not even require registration. But anybody can register and, with as little as 23p, can access more private information. According to, most of their data is courtesy of "Over 200 million archived records from historical Electoral Rolls" from 2002 on. Nice to know private info on the electoral roll is given out like sweets in a playground.

The latest pisstake of anything related to privacy in Britain is now coming in the guise of 118 800, "the only directory with millions of mobile numbers", run by a company called 'Connectivity'. You can't opt in. If you don't like it, you have to opt out so, unless you actively make contact with them and ask them to be made ex-directory, expect your mobile number to be at the mercy of anybody for the modicum price of £1. This has already alerted lawyers and privacy campaigners, especially as it emerged that 'Connectivity' made legal threats to obtain personal details and beef up their database.

What sort of country allows to piss all over privacy just like that?


Bubble Bonnie said...

That was already chastised by the courts back in 2002 though I don't quite know what happened. By the look of it they manage to get access to the Electoral rolls and more. Scary stuff, I must say.

Stan Moss said...

Look at this shit!
"If you wish to be removed from's copies of the Electoral Roll, please download the C01 form and mail it to the address below or fax it to 0207 909 2169".

So if I find out these jerks have all my personal detail, I have to actually download a form, fill it out, print it off and then mail it!