Privacy and technology killed common sense – is there a glimmer of hope?

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Privacy and technology have come together to create the most ridiculous debate about personal data, ever. And it is about to get worse.

This recent report on how much data Amazon stores on its customers comes (literally) a day after this happened.

A couple was watching a comedy programme on their Alexa enabled, annoyingly badly enabled, TV.

There is an advert showing donkeys being badly treated.

The wife says, “Don’t watch.”

The husband says, smiling, “Perhaps we should sponsor a donkey?”

The next morning the wife gets an advert from the charity asking her to sponsor a donkey.

It probably didn’t help that the husband is called Alex (Amazon is trying to work out the difference between Alex and Alexa) but the report into the amount of data Amazon (other Big Tech companies are available and equally at fault) should, and hopefully will, give power to the swing against this practice that Jouko Ahvenainen and many others have long hoped for.

Privacy and technology have combined to create the most idiotic situations. As the personal data debate hit the spotlight, regulators were pushed into doing something about the situation.

And came up with (so far) a bunch of rules that are, frankly, laughable.

In a global digital world, for example, companies can only store and manage data in the country where the customer lives. This in itself has created a massively complicated, expensive and onerous load on telcos and others who are caught in the net of these kind of knee-jerk regulations.

Other anecdotes about the lunacy of privacy and technology are commonplace.

Satellite TV salesperson: “Hello, can I speak to Toby?”

“Toby speaking.”

“Hello Toby, I hope you are having a nice day. Can I speak to you about a special offer?”

“OK, but I am pretty busy.”

“That’s fine. First, can I ask you a couple of security questions?”

“Um, why? You rang me.”

“Our policy is that I cannot discuss these without verifying who you are.”

“But, you called me. If you want to speak to me, speak to me.”

“I’m sorry but…”

“I’m sorry too. Bye.”

Another sale lost to the madness.

Here’s another: a gentleman of a certain age (one who checks his emails once a week) goes into his doctor’s office to book an appointment.

Gentleman of a certain age: “Can I book an appointment please?”

“No, sorry, you have to book them online.”

“But I’m standing here. Do you have the booking system in front of you?”

“Yes, but you can only book them online.”

The gentleman of a certain age also wanted the results of a recent test to be emailed to his specialist but they couldn’t do that ‘because of privacy and data protection rules.’ They had to print them out, mail them to the gentleman of a certain age, so that he could mail them on to his specialist.

Stories about the absurdity of the current rules on privacy and the various bogus protections are everywhere and they all have one thing in common.

They all signal the end of common sense.

And they have all happened because technology companies like Amazon and Google and Face er, Meta and the rest will continue to collect and sell our data until somehow, somewhere, someone stops them. Properly.

Related article:

Amazon’s latest attempts to experiment with your privacy?

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