Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why IrishWater really wants your PPS number and other private data.



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? 

44 comments:

  1. Big brother is definitely here!!

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  2. Dont give ur pps number to them its a scam to say they will c wat tax releif u get bk why do they want everyone in the house to give them there pps number its the owner of the house that pays the bills not the kids ask ur self why sud i give them my number fuk off i say

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    1. Cut the text speak and learnn to write properly.

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  3. Scaremongering at it's best. Saw the flag at the top and that was enough. Still read it though.

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  4. fantastic report guys and very informative. Thank you

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  5. Irish Water will also request Personal Public Service numbers (PPS numbers) from customers. This information will only be used to verify and validate that customers are entitled to any relevant water allowances and will only be shared with the Department of Social Protection for this verification purpose.

    That's in their Terms and Conditions. Stop this scaremongering bullshit.

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    1. scaremongering bullshit. !! Ha don't make me laugh ...explain this then.
      No water meters in most homes in this country. Hundreds of thousands will never have them due to the cost and outdated mains. How in that case can people be given a free amount when they are being charged a flat rate. and its not know how much is being used in these homes ...No need for PPS in those situations is there. A lot of Irish Water Workers on here today it seems.

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    2. And once the data is verified its game over. IrishWater are effectively being gifted a very valuable verified database by stealth.

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    3. Why not have a tick box and ask if you are entitled to income support etc and then have the PPS info entered ? Why request this from every person with a supply of water?

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    4. One person household no illness or other special circumstances so no need fir pps.

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    5. A load of scare mongering bull. Do you honestly think that The government are trying to con you out of your PPS numbers when they already have them all. If you think that they are using it for illicit reasons then feel free to contact the data commissioner to sue the government. Otherwise, stop trying to con people into not handing over their PPS numbers.

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    6. Gene Kerrigan in yesterdays Sindo:
      What is the legislation that prohibits privatisation? It's the Water Services Act of 2013, part 1, which deals with company formation.

      Section 5 (4) of the Act says that the Board will have one share in the company, and all remaining shares will be halved between the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Finance.

      Section 5 (6) says: "The Board shall not . . . alienate the share issued to it in accordance with subsection (4)".

      Archaic language, but clear enough. Under this legislation, the Board is indeed prohibited from selling its one share. But, see those three dots?

      Where those three dots are, the legislation says: "without the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance".

      So, the legislation prohibits the Board from selling the company - unless the government wants it sold. The law, therefore, specifically allows for privatisation.

      At which point, no doubt, our personal data will indeed become a saleable asset.

      - See more at: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/gene-kerrigan/never-mind-the-small-print-trust-us-30620675.html#sthash.luTt5Yht.dpuf

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    7. Anonymous at 7.20 AM Who said the Government were trying to con us out of PPS numbers, it's Irish Water. You thick?
      Brian Fitzgerald, they don't need our PPS numbers to do that. We are very capable of applying for our own allowances just as we do with electricity, heating allowances and other allowances. Gas and Electric companies don't need us to give them our PPS numbers to get heating allowances etc, we apply for those benefits ourselves.

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  6. D Nolan

    The thing to do is for everyone to give a wrong PPS number and Date of Birth and see how the scumbags deal with that. If there are any legal implications you can always say Oops! sorry I made a mistake.

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    1. Why not write to the data protection commissioner and ask why Irish Water are not on their register and put a formal complaint with respect for their demand for personal data.

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  7. I see people saying that this I'd just scaremongering and that they need this information to give relevant allowances etc.
    My mother is entitled to the household benefits package. This includes a certain allowance for electricity. I have never had to give electric Ireland any personal information such as pps numbers for this yet she still receives her allowance!! They won't be getting my pps number that's for sure!

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  8. They can fuck right off tierney o.brien and the scum in the goverment..not one penny!!×

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  9. They are all possessed by Satan I hope Europe destroys the dirty pigs at the trot

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  10. Why do they need to know sceptic tank details for water??? It's a load of crap. Tell them nothing. People in Ireland have to stop being so soft!!!!

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    1. To do you for.sceptic tank too?

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    2. I'd be sCeptical about that !!!

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  11. They already passed the personal data of Irish Nationwide to Vulture funds who bought the mortgages for a pittance (as low as 17 cent to a high of 40 cent in the Euro).

    I'm inclined to believe the above it has merit.

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  12. Ooo so scarey...So what are we afraid of here? That a water service company will sell you rish pps number to internet marketing companies in the future. What a laugh..classic scaremongering rubbish..Is this what it has resorted to?

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    1. Of course they will if it makes money and yes it has resorted to this - you don't seem bothered, do you work for Irish water? Or do you have to work for that matter?

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    2. It amounts to surveillance which is contrary to EU Data Protection laws.

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  13. Classy woman that Annette

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  14. Please do not feed the Trolls. Especially the spineless 'Anonymous' ones.

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    1. How about the ones with blank Google+, Facebook or other throwaway accounts?

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  15. I am amazed at how honest people become when they are anonymous. Obviously people thing they have a price to pay if they speak out against the system of their present exploitation.

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  16. What happens if we don't receive the post :) I am going to make a reservoir from the water that comes from the sky.

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  17. The tin foil hats are out in force in these comments. Turn back now!!

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  18. just dont wash..dont drink..dont flush the loo..wear your tin foil hat..and put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye... cause now Irish Water Owns It

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  19. What happens in other European countries where they pay for water, do they supply pps numbers to water companies

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    1. I also live in England and sadly pay taxes in both countries. PPS number is the same as a National insurance number. No one but the tax office , my employer and doctor/hospital have EVER requested this information. It would be highly suspicious if someone did ask for this... Water is metered here and this level of detail has never been requested.

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    2. in Spain they ask for your national ID for everything - a left over from a fascist dictatorship. my number is on my library card... I just got a water bill from may to August and I was charged 34 euros - 5 for direct consumption, 9 for cleaning that water and 20 direct charges - so I could wash myself with rain water and still pay 20 euro. However, water is a scare resource here which is well-looked after, and there's never any shite about not using water because it's been dry for a week. The reservoirs are kept full and can sustain the population without refillling for quite a few months. The electricity companies are effing us over here, too, though - 11% increase last month. The PP Govt is of course even further right than FG. Wait to see if you are charged extra for having the water fluoridated... !

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    3. Water metered in Germany and no national security number was ever requested.

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  20. I am still on the fence, the reason they want to know about septic tanks is because not only do you get charged for the water you use, you get charged for the water you waste. If you have a septic tank you only get charged for the water you use, as septic tanks are privately owned. What I would like to know is how do they calculate the waste water you have to pay for, is it based on what you use. And are the government going to reduce the level of tax we pay, since those taxes are based on services provided by the government. Since water is no longer provided by our government are they going to privatize everything and expect us to still pay our taxes. I didn't vote for our present government and this is exactly why!

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  21. Don't contact the Irish data protection commissioner. That is about as useful as a solar powered torch. Contact the EU equivalent and get onto digital rights Ire!and who have a good track record in tackling dodgy govt legislation. The EU Article 29 Working Party might also be a good place to contact.

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  22. You are fools to give these robbers any information. They should be hanging off the light posts along the Liffey. Traitors to Ireland deserve nothing less.

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