For the first time in years, our local electoral registration officer called when no-one was here. The form he left included a column as to whether one wished to be excluded from the “Edited register”. Explanatory note ‘D’ states:
The edited register contains the names and addresses of persons whose details can be used for a purpose other than an electoral or other statutory purpose e.g. for direct marketing use by a commercial or other organisation.
If any member(s) of the household do not want their details to be included on the edited register, you should tick the relevant opt out box(es) in column (v) at part 3 of the form.
Apparently, it has been practice for the past four years for county councils, for whom we have paid, to sell on the personal details of constituents, giving them, of course the opportunity to opt out, if they so wish. But shouldn’t it be the other way round? Shouldn’t people have the choice to opting in? What has happened to Ireland when the default position is that people are up for sale?
The M50, that stretch of road for which we have paid, and will pay again and again, switches to barrier free tolling this month. The tolling system is a wonderful piece of gombeenism; not only must we pay the tolls, but we must pay a maintenance charge for the account from which the tolls will be deducted, but even worse, all our details appear to have been sold on to the tolling companies competing for our business. As soon as my wife’s registration number had been entered in one box, all the other details of the car appeared automatically. Should the default position not have been that the companies collated the registration numbers they had received and then applied to the Department of the Environment for details relating to those registration numbers?
Compared to our government departments, the branding of the Point, a Dublin landmark building, as the O2, (a deal which includes subscribers to the British company’s services getting advance opportunities to buy concert tickets), seems a transparent piece of business.