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.

Dog Language

Here's the translation of a gem I found in a comment on facebook, a real eye-opener onto the world that dogs live.


When a dog rubs up against us, it’s not looking for cuddles. It wants to mix our odours to confirm the unity of the group.
When a dog approaches its nose to another dog’s, it’s not to give it kisses. It’s to analyse the substances emitted by the glands present in that region.
When a dog urinates, it’s not showing contempt. It’s leaving very clear messages that can only be interpreted by those able to identify and analyse the substances emitted in that gesture. If the jet lands on someone, that strongly confirms their alliance with that person.
When a dog wags its tail, it’s not necessarily happy. It wants to spread chemical information about its identity.
When a dog jumps up at someone, it’s not having a party. It’s telling you to stop, and there may be several different reasons why.
When a dog bows down in front of someone, it’s not inviting them to play but to move.
When a dog rolls on the ground, usually it’s not playing, but is marking, leaving important chemical information in that place, released by the glands present on the nape, the back and at the base of the tail.
This doesn’t make these animals any less fascinating creatures; quite the opposite.
This tells us that they are profoundly different from us or, rather, different from what we humans have become but very similar to how we humans were at the time when the alliance was born between the two species.
This tells us that they are not cuddly eternal babies with only play and food on their minds. Instead, they are intelligent adults able to evaluate things, to reason, to decide and to express themselves.
And those who have ended up in our houses will be all the more adult and mature if we put them in the conditions to be so.
Otherwise, theirs will just be a wasted intelligence.
Posted by Veronica Papa in a comment on facebook on 30 March 2018 at 11:01 CET