Creeping internet control

In spite of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, most corporations are still at it – surreptitiously gathering more information about you to no purpose other than their psychological profiling of their customers.

Reputable websites, such as mainstream newspapers, invite you to register online with them to view their articles.  It begins with your name and email.  Then some time down the road you discover that now you can only access the whole website if you give them some more information, such as your gender, postcode and date of birth.  Sometimes they are optional but in my experience they are more often ‘required fields’.  If your local newsagent asked you these questions when you bought a newspaper, would you answer them?  Some stores do indeed try to gather more and more information from their customers at the point of sale, which has no relevance to the item purchased nor to the transaction itself other than obtaining as much information as possible on the purchaser.

Why?  I will not guess the answers.  Why should I?   The onus is on them to provide a solid reason.  A reason, not a response.  The reasons will be dressed up in psychobabble about being able to serve the customer more effectively and possibly appeals to GPDR (the data protection regulations), but the real answer is simply data accumulation for their own benefit.

It began before the current internet boom.  Can anyone date when telephone answer machines began to tell callers  that their call would be monitored for staff training purposes?  Rather, it was to protect themselves against any comeback, but would it be available for the customer to use if there was any comeback?  I remember one newspaper editor being very annoyed at the thought that his conversation should be recorded, so why should the public not be similarly annoyed?  In other words, the real reason for the recording is not given and another innocuous sounding one is given, with which the public will generally not complain.  This behaviour is part of the sinful state of mankind – the inability to face the truth and state the truth.  Living a lie is a poor way to live and a sad form of employment.  There are better jobs in the world.  ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ Mat 5:8.

Another issue is gathering information under the guise of identifying you.  In the process of checking that the caller is speaking to the correct person they may include additional questions to gain some more information.  More data gathering and psychological profiling.  It seems that people cannot simply make do with what they have.  The Bible speaks of this behaviour: ‘The horseleach has two daughters, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied; four things do not say, It is enough’ Pro 30:15.  The horseleach is a sucker.  You can look up the interesting context.  The Bible is full of practical wisdom about sinful human behaviour to teach us our need of something better.

Links:

1/8/2016: dealing with cold callers.

 

8 thoughts on “Creeping internet control

      1. Donald

        David,

        I have been a customer with https://www.homeserve.com/ for a long time but when I phoned today for my annual boiler service they wanted to know if my boiler had a warranty and for how long, if there were pets at the property and if there was parking at it. What was new about this? There are excuses (disguised as reasons) for each of the questions but it is pure customer profiling. Notice: it is not if there are any dangerous animals, which might be relevant, but ‘pets’ which is general customer profiling. How many houses have difficulty with parking? As a long-standing customer, why ask these questions now? I know excuses can be given, but they will not wash. It is time for customers to resist such questions as I did.

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      2. Donald

        David,

        I have registered with The Times online today and it wants both my date of birth and home address to subscribe to its online service. Why is payment not good enough? Who gives these details to buy a newspaper?

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  1. Dr Boyd Whenever we get so-called “cold callers” on the telephone once we find out who it is thats calling, and what they want 9/10 we end up putting the phone down. Also have you noticed that if you try to ring them back the telephone number they use is bogus too?

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  2. We had yet NOTHER call earlier this morning on the landline claiming that our internet connection had been compromised. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to stop bogus individuals phoning and claiming this or that is wrong with your internet and claiming to have advice as to how to sort it, My advice to others in a similar position is to put the phone down if the person on the other end of the telephone has an Asian sounding accent!

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