Monday, 15 July 2019

It's becoming illegal not to have a cellphone

Woo! Five years ago I stopped using cellphones, not for their monstrous tracking and spying capabilities like listening to you while they appear to be off, even if you remove the main battery!) but because they only reason people called me was because they wanted something.

The other day, for the first time, I was denied services point blank if I didn't supply a valid cellphone number.

The first was Google Mail, which now refuses to create a new account unless you have a cellphone number. Well, that's OK, I'm not forced to use Google's services if that's their policy.

The other one, which sends a shiver down my spine, is HMRC, the UK tax authority. In view of my forthcoming 55th birthday I wanted to sort out my UK tax position... but to register on their web site the only "verification" option that applied to me was outsourced to Experian, the credit rating agency. That they wanted a scan of my driving licence is fine, but to do this they require me to buy a cellphone and - can you believe it? - install an Experian App on it.

Now, not using callphones for five years makes it much easier to view what a spying and tracking device they have become. Security zero. Facebook Apps that re-install themselves if you delete them, back doors in many apps, apart from the fact that I don't run proprietary software any more, partly for this reason.

So, my question is this: Is it legal for a government service which I pay for, to require me to buy 500 quid of product from some private company and install a dodgy app from a dodgy company?

I think not. The reply from their "help" center was a boilerplate "You don't have to use our services" memo. Well, actually, I do.

No comments:

Post a Comment