Keith had a bit of a sense of humour failure about the SABC and their TV license drones this week. (The SABC is the South African public broadcaster.)
It’s safe to say the majority of the SABC are on special drugs that prevent their IQs from going above room temperature during office hours.
It’s not easy to be popular if you force people to buy something they don’t want or need. The SABC wants Keith to prove that he does not own a TV to avoid paying a TV license. A long time ago he did have a TV. Not anymore. The way to prove you don’t have a TV is to go to the police and get them to rubber stamp a letter stating that you don’t own one. Interesting that you need to prove you don’t have a TV.
I’m thinking.. huh?, why bother dealing with these clowns? They probably still have his home/postal address from ten years ago, but it seems they somehow have updated contact details.
This is where it gets interesting. Some business out there must be sharing personal information without their customer’s consent. Not only sharing, I’m pretty sure they are selling it.
Yes kids, there is a whole network of bottom feeders which scrub and exchange your personal information. Selling it to the people you probably never want to interact with. I suspect the people you are least interested in will pay the most for your information. Awesome little market right?
Is this a bad thing? I think it’s pretty obvious what my views are, but let’s look at it from another angle.
A while ago I had a meeting with a well respected ICT lawyer. I was telling him about TrustFabric. He seemed very interested.. but he did not really listen my story, he just assumed we were building something which would collect personal information which we could sell. So, I explained again and he looked a bit confused. Yes, we really want to give users control over their personal information. No, we don’t want to sell it.
Then he tells me about how he was involved in setting up a credit bureau in an African country. How this credit bureaus is a very positive thing, allowing credit providers to borrow money. Good for the economy etc. Credit bureaus naturally have a few deals behind the scenes to collect personal information and exchange financial information about people.
I don’t buy the idea that these information exchange deals are a good thing. I think you can build a credit rating (reputation) system in an open and transparent way while allowing people to selectively share personal information and keeping people in control of their information. I think it would be much better for a country and it’s economy if people understood the rules of the game. In this case the credit rating game.
Do you remember that scene at the end of Fight Club where they blow up the buildings which house credit data? Project Mayhem resets the credit card system. I think the personal information ecosystem needs a reboot. Companies should be forced to delete all personal information that can not be tied directly to an active customer relationship. Companies must only be allowed to keep information if the customer granted them a license to retain their information.
This sounds easier than it is, mostly because most companies have no clue which customer relationships are really active. So, maybe we just delete it all and start from scratch.. giving the customer control again.
The system needs a reboot.