Last night Channel 4’s Dispatches showed “Richard Wilson On Hold” (see #onhold at Twitter for comments) for myself it was one of the best and most accurate and even entertaining summary of the dreaded introduction of automated services that while modern companies believe enrich our lives and make our customer service better – Richard Wilson proved the complete reverse, showing beautifully how the modern consumer is fed up with these awful technological abominations!
In the programme Richard Wilson covered everything from automated telephone systems that allow the customer to not only listen to a voice recording but keep us listening interminably and at a call cost running into pounds – how they are not user-friendly and often confuse the elderly and vulnerable or the probably 99.9% of us who are either not so savvy with technology or quite simply don’t know or forget the option choices we are forced to press on our telephone keypads while listening to these awful machines!
He showed beautifully what most of us knew – that when we try to get cinema tickets we now can’t ask for them in person we have to try to talk to a voice recognition programme on an answer service that never works. When parking a car how trying to obtain a ticket via an automatic payment call service not only doesn’t work but is only there to save local Councils money through not having payment staff or wardens to help issuing tickets and checking meters.
And the dreaded service machine that keeps telling you ‘unexpected item in the bagging area‘ keeps telling you to ‘place item in the bagging area – please wait for assistance’! All again to save on cashier staff costs, and cause the customer aggregation and the risk of early strokes.
As Richard Wilson himself commenting on the programme ” ..automation has become a ubiquitous part of modern life – be it at the supermarket, when booking the cinema or trying to park your car. Retailers and service providers say that these systems offer us more choice, improve service and free-up staff to focus on helping us customers in other ways. But I want to know if this is really the case.”
“Like the rest of the UK, I welcome technology that makes my life easier – I would hate to have to give up shopping online and I love being able to make bank transfers over the phone. But not all automated systems are time-savers. In fact, many of them seem to make my life considerably more difficult, costing me time and money.”
The full programme link can be seen on the right of this page on my Vodpod videos, below is an except from the programme
Ricky Gervais is currently in the midst of a heated argument with a number of fundamentalist Christians that are responding with hateful right-wing anti-gay; anti-semitic, creationist remarks to his posting.
Gervais, is an outspoken atheist, and is no stranger to controversy especially following his remarks at the Golden Globe Awards and his recent use of the word “mong” that some felt was an insult to people with Down’s Syndrome has obviously drawn public attention before.
However presently as he’s been holding the “12 Days of Rickmas,” jokingly inserting himself in for Jesus Christ while suggesting followers do something to save animals each day to raise awareness for animal rights organization PETA.
One in particular, @GodsWordIsLaw, has engaged with Gervais. The Twitter user named Keith appears stridently anti-homosexual, a creationist, and disliking other faiths. On Tuesday, he tweeted “Happy Hanukkah to the pharisees…bah humbug #GenocideNow.”
Gervais has responded back with dialogue mocking Keith and appealling to more reasonable readers. One tweet from Gervais was “To all sane Christians. I know you’re not all like these evil fundamentalists. I don’t believe in your God but I believe in your kindness.”
Explaining his atheism Gervais said to one newspaper “I used to believe in God. The Christian one, that is ( I was born in a country where the dominant religion was Christianity so I believed in that one. Isn’t it weird how that always happens?)…Luckily I was also interested in science and nature. And reason and logic. And honesty and truth. And equality and fairness. By the age of eight I was an atheist.”
Ryan Dunn one of the main stars of Jackass and brother of Johnny Knoxville died yesterday in a car crash. Both he and a passenger died when the car they were travelling in – Dunn’s Porsche 911 – hit a tree and burst into flames in West Goshen, Pennsylvania.
The 34-year-old, who was driving the vehicle has already suffered accusation that he was drunk while driving – this follows comments on twitter by the US film critic Roger Ebert. Ebert is refusing to apologise over his accuations on twitter.
In the Universal declaration of human rights there are two interesting articles and it seems to me that they are both equally as important as each other however they can also be in opposition to one another – creating a subtle dichotomy in terms of the law and its interpretation the first article is Article
Article 12 states : “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” –
Article 19 states, however;
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Ths the dilemma the case of super-injunctions versus electronic expression of speech, from the micro-blogging site Twitter.
One a footballer taking out a super-injunction against the media’s printing of his affair with an ex-big brother model. And only recently ago worldwide Governments, the US included calling for legal action against Julian Assange , of Wikileaks decision to publish it’s US intelligence telegrams among the intelligence files it’s already published. So a footballer paying for ‘privacy’ law and Governments demanding ‘privacy on sensitive ininformation against Wikileaks published articles.
In spite of this the users and site owners on the internet are making history by disregarding either law or honour and choose to ‘publish and be damned’
Today however, Twitter’s new European boss has made clear that Twitter will co-operate with any local legislation and where users have been found to have broken local laws in their country that they will contact not only the user to inform them that they may face prosecution but also assist the authorities by providing user information should it be required. Users of Twitter have now been warned not to break their countries laws.
He has suggested that users who break privacy injunctions by posting on the site could face the UK courts. Of those users who flouted any privacy laws he said that those that did “bad things” needed to defend themselves – however he also warned that the site would hand over user information to the authorities where they were “legally required”.
Currently lawyers and the courts are looking to establish the identity of those people responsible for naming the footballer who had taken out the super injunction. These people will probably when found be not as fortunate as MP John Hemming who repeated the Twitter gossip to make Parliament aware on Monday of Ryan Giggs as named on Twitter as the person who had used a super-injunction to hide his alleged affair under the guise of discrediting the law surrounding the use of super-injunction. Mr Hemmings MP using his right of Parliamentary privilege to legally do so. He previously named disgraced banker chief Fred Goodwin as having taken out a super-injunction to cover a similar extra-marital affair.
Twitter‘s Mr. Wang told BBC reporters at the e-G8 Forum today though that social networking platforms have a responsibility to not to defend the user “but to protect that user’s right to defend him or herself”.
Legal jurisdiction and the internet is the hot topic at the moment at the e-G8 forum with Eric Schmidt of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook also speaking on the issue at the event. Many see that the US constitution allows for a clear cut answer – the freedom of speech over antiquated UK law , Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia likened the use of ‘privacy laws’ to secrecy and the Chinese government’s response to free speech “I do view it to being similar to the Chinese situation where they also cover up misdeeds of high ranking people,”
It is apparent that governments and popular celebrities preferring privacy and secrecy and the internet demanding open free speech will have to resolve this opposition to each other soon and unfortunately as the internet is global local jurisdiction and laws may now require a complete rethink.
Ryan Giggs is suing micro-social networking site Twitter over breaching a super-injunction that was taken out with the courts and revealing his name as the name of the player who allegedly had an affair with model Imogen Thomas.
Mr Giggs applied for legal action at the high court in London on Wednesday, in what is thought to be the first action against the US social media firm and its users.
The lawsuit lists the defendants as “Twitter Inc and persons unknown”. The latter are described as those “responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts” in the court document, according to reports.
As the Guardian points out today the ‘issue has nothing to do with whether or not public figures should be able to gag the media through superinjunctions – whether 75,000 Twitter users, as the Lib Dem MP John Hemming used parliamentary privilege to point out, should be allowed to gossip about a footballer or not is irrelevant’ , Richard Hilgrove (history correspondent) points out ‘the issue is to do with whether social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – massive revenue earning organisations – should operate outside the law that affects everybody else.’