The Question of Privacy


At work we moved offices. I am now taking a bus in the morning and in the evening. And so the next day after we moved I went to GMPTE Travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens to buy myself a weekly bus pass.

The pass has to go with a special bus card that has to have my picture on it. The form I had to fill in asked for my title, my full name, my address, and date of birth. And then it also asked for my email and my mobile number, so that GMPTE could keep me updated.

My perspective was that I’d rather not give out my date of birth and address – but this is mandatory. Filling out the mobile number and email address wasn’t a problem; nobody ever bombarded me with random calls, and as for spam email messages, they sometimes make a good lunchtime reading. But the first thing the gentleman behind the counter did upon glancing at my form was this: he vigorously started crossing out my email address and phone number.

– Don’t write there what you don’t need! – he was shouting rather excitedly. – They’ll be sending you things, you don’t need them!

– Well, I was actually interested in those things, – I tried to explain, while wondering what they would think at the GMPTE office when they saw my form.

– No, you don’t need them! Or you’ll be like one of those, they check their email all the time, “Oh, let’s see if I’ve got something!” – and he showed me exactly what those people looked like: their faces are all excitement, fingers dancing all over the keyboard.

– That’s OK with me, – I replied. – This is what I do for work all the time.

– Well, maybe you do but I don’t, – he replied.

As a result, I will not be receiving either email or phone updates from GMPTE.


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