Yet again, another public body chucks sensitive personal data about like so much electronic confetti as seen from this item. 241 ‘Vulnerable’ adults had their personal details and difficulties e-mailed to 361 Taxi, Bus and Minicab companies. Guess who by? A member of Surrey Councils ‘Adult Social Care Team’. For this said council have been fined 120,000GBP of taxpayer funds. There was not one incidence, which might have been forgiven, but three in a year? By the same department? Sheesh.
Back in the days when I worked in IT support there was a saying that certain people should no more be let near computers than a baby be handed sweating Dynamite. Having supported Social Service departments in the past (Oy vey!) I’ve seen them ‘working’ and come across some seriously weird shit. Personed as these departments generally appear to be by arts and social science graduates, this does not come a complete surprise. Well, not that much, although just when you thought the Social Workers had come up with something stranger than fiction, along comes the next jaw dropper. These guys seem(ed), although it seems that little has changed, to have all the tech savvy of a heavily sedated Three Toed Sloth, although that might be considered harsh judgment as far as the Sloth is concerned. I mean, comparing them to UK Social Services, that’s hardly fair, is it? Sloths generally speaking, are far more mentally adept and quick thinking than the average on duty UK local government employee. Probably more IT literate than the average UK arts graduate too from all accounts.
To highlight my case; at the University of Warwick, many years ago there was a graffiti in the Engineering blocks men’s toilet. I think it was on the third floor. Time and alcohol dim the memory, so I can’t be sure (Not that I ever studied there – it was at a party I think). The specific little missive was scrawled next to a toilet paper dispenser and read; “Social Science Degree – please take one.” It would seem little changes. In addition there was once a satirical magazine called ‘Punch’, which went under in 2002 once attracting writers like Alan Coren. During my formative days, home always had a pile of said doughty publication to peruse on rainy days (Including the complete Diaries of Idi Amin). I recall one of Alan’s satirical pieces from the 1970’s about the drive of the then UK Labour government (History repeating itself? Anyone?) to send more people to University. He had two Woolworths (Another fading memory – modern equivalent think Wal-Mart) sales assistants discussing the poor quality of ‘redbrick’ Arts degrees, and how the only person with brains enough to get a job mopping the floor at Marks and Spencers had a double first from Kings College Oxford. So devalued was the educational currency even then.
The funny thing is that organizations recruit people with such qualifications and never give them any relevant basic training with their working tools, to wit email etc. Then they wonder why they get massive cock-ups like being fined for cavalier treatment of people’s personal data. No wonder no-one with a functioning brain cell trusts the UK public sector with their data any more.
Ah me. The more things change, the more they stay the same.