Your name, address and date of birth are valuable pieces of information. From these bits of data, clever software can work out your approximate social class and target you with direct marketing. The problem with these bits of data is that they are not verified. Nobody actually knows that its 100% real. Nobody knows if Michael Murphy at 100 Main Street is a real and active consumer available to be targeted. Adding a PPS number to this data is a dream for marketers and others that want to track and monitor people. Your PPS number stays with you for life, so by giving this data to a third party they will be able to track every address you lived at and deduce all kinds of information from that (such as who you live with, where your relations are and all sorts of other pieces of what we call “metadata”). Essentially, data and in particular personal data is valuable and becoming increasingly invaluable.
Its not just marketing companies that will love this data, this data combined with records from medical insurance companies will be worth a small fortune. All sorts of big businesses want this data and as technology evolves and improves this data becomes more valuable. In the future, this data will be used in ways that we don’t know about yet. Simply put, we don’t know the value of all this data in 5 years time, that’s why it’s essential it’s kept to ourselves. Does any other utility or service ask the names and dates of birth for all children in a house? No. It’s your private dwelling, which is protected under the constitution and you have the right to refuse to divulge this information.
IrishWater are building a comprehensive database of personal information that will be sold to whoever buys IrishWater. How do we know this? Up until 19th September it was stated on their website
“if Irish Water or substantially all of its assets are acquired by a third party, in which case Customer data held by it about its Customer will be one of the transferred assets.”
Curiously, this piece of text was removed, with the following explanation
“Please see below our updated Data Protection Notice that we are currently reviewing with the office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Amendments have been made primarily to clarify to the customer the purposes for which personal data (including PPS numbers) is collected.”
This means the plan IS to sell IrishWater and its databases, just as Bord Gais was sold and all the senior people getting nice hefty “bonuses” that would make a lotto winner blush.
Even more worrying is this statement from their website
“Data that we collect from you may be transferred to a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA"). ”
This means that your data can be exported to somewhere that Irish or European law does not apply. So, by giving any data to IrishWater, it can be whisked away to another organisation at the touch of a button. Both frightening and dangerous. Why have we not heard from any data protection experts through our media? Well, Denis OBrien owns significant amounts of our media, and RTE seem to have a policy of being nice to IrishWater. It’s up to us on social media to spread the truth and inform people, because RTE is now essentially a mouthpiece for the government, you won’t hear the truth there.
Imagine if tomorrow the government said that they might sell the entire database of PPS numbers and associated data? There would be uproar. What’s happening with IrishWater is exactly the same thing. Yes, IrishWater and the government are going to tell us to trust them, it won’t be sold and the usual fake promises. An IrishWater spokesperson said this week “IrishWater can’t be sold because it’s in the legislation that it cant be”. Well, this is Ireland. When the right people want legislation to be changed it happens at the drop of a hat. Remember when the bankers came looking for money? Emergency legislation was passed and hey presto, €80 billion was made disappear over night. Sorry, it did not disappear, we are paying it off now and IrishWater is yet another new tax to pay for the bankers. The tax that we used to use to pay for water has been diverted to pay for bank debt.
Take a look at the personnel involved with IrishWater, the head man, John Tierney (a man whose record of incompetence would make Basil Faulty blush) was responsible for the failed Dublin incinerator project. €100 million was made disappear under the guise of “consultancy fees”. No records of how it was spent, it’s just gone. Not a foundation dug or brick laid, just a big black hole where all our cash went. How this man was given the job to head IrishWater is beyond belief.
Who is installing the water meters? A good friend of FG, Mr Denis OBrien. How OBrien got this gig is questionable at best. A year before the IrishWater tender he bought a company called SiteServ. SiteServ was bust and owed €100 million to Anglo. Other companies offered more money, but for some reason OBrien got his hands on it. Then hey presto, SiteServ’s debt was written off, this means that the debt was moved to the taxpayer. Then another hey presto, SiteServ gets the contract to install water meters. It’s not known how much SiteServ is being paid for this, even though it’s our money being used to do it.
The government and IrishWater tell us that water is a precious resource. Despite what the government and IrishWater want you to believe, we are not stupid and we know that water is precious. How many houses, bars or restaurants do you go into and see all the taps turned on wasting water? Almost none. The vast majority of people don’t waste water. Instead of spending €50 million on consultants, surely a public information campaign on how to conserve water would have been more appropriate? Maybe a subsidy to all households to have outside water containers to trap rainwater to be used for purposes where non treated water is required? No, instead they start with the usual bullying tactics demanding money and data. IrishWater is nothing to do with conserving water, it’s about lining the pockets of rich politicians, civil servants and their friends.
IrishWater spent millions on state of the art IT systems, we were told that this was needed to make it a world class company (in reality it’s so it can be sold off quicker). Yet, somehow in the first month of sending out its information packs it accidentally send out over 6000 letters with compromised personal data. Personal data from one person send to another, a data breach.
Can you honestly trust this collection of people with another of our most precious resources, personal data?