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NO2ID - Stop ID cards and the database state





Here are some quotations from the Terms of Business recently distributed to its customers by Orange Broadband. Spot the deliberate mistake …

We will search your credit records using licensed Credit Reference Agencies ("CRA's"). They may add a search footprint on your credit file that may be seen by other people searching that file. We will use credit scoring systems when assessing your application and if our assessment of you does not meet our normal requirements we reserve the right to decline to provide the Service(s) or to decide an appropriate Charge Limit on your account. Alternatively, we may ask you to lodge a deposit with us before we provide the Service(s). If you believe our assessment of you is incorrect, we will review your eligibility. However, we cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of information provided by credit reference agencies. Nor can we accept any liability for the consequences of our declining to provide the Service(s).
We will check your details with Fraud Prevention Agencies ("FPA's") to verify identities to prevent crime and money laundering. We may also make periodic checks with CRA's and FPA's to manage your account with us.

That's nice. The very first thing they're going to do before they accept us as a customer is discuss us with someone else, someone we don't know, someone who is not responsible to us, someone who keeps secret files on us and will alter them as and when he sees fit without telling or asking us.
Note also the charming ethnic touch - the "grocer's apostrophe" in "CRA's" and "FPA's". I imagine that's to make us feel at home. I mean, it's just like being in your own High Street, isn't it?
If you make a joint application or tell us you have a Spouse we may link your records together …
So if you're married, don't install a PC in the garden shed to watch porn late at night - your helpful ISP are likely to tell your wife. I expect it's in your own best interest …
Information on your application will be sent to CRA's and recorded by them. We may also disclose details of how you conduct your account with us to such agencies. If you don't pay any outstanding Charges when due CRA's will record the debt. This information may then be supplied to other organisations to perform similar checks, trace your whereabouts and recover debts that you owe. Records remain on file for 6 years after they are closed whether settled or defaulted.
So if you get in a dispute with Orange and refuse to pay your bill because they haven't provided the service you thought you were entitled to, they're going to gang up with all their big business mates and hound you through the streets …
If you fraudulently provide false or inaccurate information and we suspect or identify fraud details may be passed to FPA's. Law enforcement agencies may access and use this information.
So they'll decide what information is correct and what isn't, and they'll set the police on us if they feel like it. We wouldn't have too much problem with this if it weren't for the number of times large organisations like this are shown to have made massive and repeated errors, lost computer files, confused one customer with another. Still, when the Old Bill come banging on your door in the middle of the night (assuming they're not on strike, that is) it'll be easy enough to explain that it's not you they're looking for, but someone with the same name who lives in Cumbernauld. Yeah, that'll work all right …
We and other organisations may also access and use this information to prevent fraud and money laundering, for example, when checking details on applications for credit and credit related or other facilities, managing credit and credit related accounts or facilities, recovering debt, checking details on proposals and claims for all types of insurance, and/or checking details of job applicants and employees.
Well, nobody's in favour of fraud, are they? So of course we won't mind that the entire financial industry of the Western World - banks, insurance companies, credit agencies, credit card issuers and prospective employers are all phoning each other up and talking about your personal details. Oh, and don't bother applying for a new job - you're likely to arrive at the interview to find that bloke from Cumbernauld has already been appointed.
If you do not pay any Charges due we will trace your whereabouts and recover debts.
That'll be the two very large gentlemen with baseball bats, presumably. From Cumbernauld.
We and other organisations may access and use from other countries the information recorded by FPA's.
So don't think you can escape by emigrating to Australia. Once you've signed up with Orange, mate, they bloody own you.
We will use the information which you provide for various purposes including administration, marketing, credit scoring, customer services, tracking and/or profiling your preferences.
Er … hang on … what's this? What d'you mean, profiling my preferences? Does that include my … you know, my little foible … about the ink-well filled with chopped liver …?
Sharing your information with other Orange Companies and companies which are not Orange Companies but who are our business partners. Subject to any preferences you set on the registration form they or we may contact you by mail, telephone, electronic messaging services, fax or email to let you know about any goods, services or promotions which may be of interest to you.
We'll clog up your email with messages, we'll give your postman corns by loading his mailbag with junk, and we'll phone you up five times a night and when you answer there'll be this Indian gentleman talking and talking and talking and he won't go away …
By entering into the Agreement you also consent to our transferring your information to countries which do not provide the same level of data protection as the UK …
Chechnya, the Ukraine, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Bangladesh, some tiny atoll in the Indian Ocean with a submarine moored in the lagoon …
In order to provide you with the Service(s) we may attach cookies to your computer, system and or other Equipment we provide that are essential to enable us to identify you and to facilitate your use of the Service(s). We also use cookies to ensure that our mailing tools are working correctly. You should not accept the Agreement if you do not want us to use cookies. Further details on how we use the information generated from the cookies is set out in our Privacy and Cookie Policy …
… but to put it in simple terms, we'll know every page you look at on the internet, we'll keep details of every email you send, we'll know who you talk to, how you spend your money, which organisations you belong to … and we'll pass all this information to anyone who asks for it, because you have no right to any privacy at all and if you've done nothing wrong you'll have nothing to fear and anyway if it saves one little kiddy from harm it'll all be worth it and if you don't agree you must be some sort of pervert or terrorist or something, and global warming …
Our Obligations
We will provide you with the Service(s) using reasonable skill and care and in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement

Only reasonable skill and care, that is. We're not actually very good, but we're reasonable, and that's the best we can manage. Sorry.
Provision of certain parts of the Service(s) are dependent upon third party service providers. There may be technical limitations that inhibit the activation or provision of the Service(s) and whilst we will use reasonable endeavours to rectify these issues we cannot guarantee that they will be rectified by these providers.
If we pay someone else to do something for us and they mess it up, we're not taking responsibility. What did you think?
We do not warrant that the Service(s) will be interruption or error/fault free or that the transmission of information through the Service(s) will be secure. The Service(s) may be temporarily suspended for various reasons such as maintenance, upgrades, emergency or because of problems caused by third party service providers. Before suspending or interrupting the Service(s) we shall use reasonable endeavours to give you as much notice as reasonably possible. Technical Support is available to enable faults to be reported and resolved and whilst we will use reasonable efforts to procure resolution of such faults we can not guarantee that all faults will be corrected.
We're crap. Take it or leave it.
We may transfer the performance of the Service(s) within the Orange Group of Companies at any time. We will give you notice if we do.
We'll sell you on to some other crap company if we feel like it. But don't worry, we'll tell you first, so that's all right.
We may take instructions from a person who we think, with good reason, is acting with your permission.
Especially anyone from Chechnya, the Ukraine, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Bangladesh, the Indian Ocean or that bloke from Cumbernauld.
And the deliberate mistake?
Well, that's our mistake in assuming that it's Orange's job to provide its customers with any kind of "service". How very silly of us. It's perfectly obvious, when you think about it, that their real raison d'κtre is to make it abundantly clear why they don't feel themselves bound to provide any service at all, except to the official organisations to whom they will pass our personal details.
Personal privacy? Customer confidentiality? Service? No, I don't think so.

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