Data Protection Abuse

by | Apr 14, 2021 | ICT4D |

data protection abuse and rubbish

So this happened the other day while issuing a complaint about construction workers throwing all sorts of rubbish on to our land.

Customer Rep: Hi Amos. Please can you also confirm your contact details? This is for data protection purposes.

Me: How is needing more information for data protection purposes?

Customer Rep: We require you to confirm these details to ensure we are adding this new request onto the correct contact on our system

It was an interesting exchange as I think it’s the first time someone has tried to use data protection laws as a reason to collect more data. And especially when they explicitly say it is so that they can connect dots in their CRM system. Needless to say I was not pleased. So I tried to explain that they didn’t need my details for data protection purposes and that they had all the information needed to respond to my complaint. The customer representative was not pleased with me.

To respond to a complaint about rubbish being thrown into a neighbour’s property you really only need one piece of information – the location of the construction site. With that you can find the rubbish and clean it up. You could even apologise in person at that point. And yet, this never happens. More data is wanted and deemed necessary. And yes, being able to contact the person who complained to update them on resolving the issue could be helpful, if the person wants to be updated. Ask them if they do. And if so, ask for contact information. But don’t ask for contact information if they are already contacting you through email, SMS, or social media. You already have enough contact information to update the person.

When you ask for more and more information about me, I get suspicious and wonder why you need this information, what you do with it. And if you are big organisation who have been bullying my family, I feel threatened that you want more information.

And yet, we do similar things in aid all the time. We ask for data we don’t need under the guise of organisational policies. We gather more and more information for no real reason.

Let’s review our processes and cut out the unnecessary data grabs.

The choice is up to us.

Photo by John Cameron


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