Monday, 11 September 2017

an offer you can’t refuse

The data breach at a clearing-house agency that adjudicates the creditworthiness of individuals and corporations world-wide represents an incredible half of the population of the United States and potentially three-quarters of the UK but is still only about a tenth of the information that the company has aggregated on some eight hundred million entities of all shapes and sizes.
Not only did the company delay disclosing the loss of consumers’ data until executives could divest their portfolios of what would surely be a hefty financial liability, it’s also seeking (as one does, I suppose) to capitalise off this crisis those scope cannot be fully appreciated by demanding that those whom they’ve wronged (and we’re all guessing here since despite counter-claims apparently one cannot get confirmation that one’s personal and financial records have been compromised or are secure until one submits to the terms and conditions of their credit monitoring service) enrol in their credit integrity programme. The initial period is free to the consumer but the following years come with a cost unless they disenrol—which might not even be an option going forward. Even if a sizable majority remembers that their trial period is about to expire and opts out and the fee is a nominal one, the potential for profits are still huge—recalling it is half the population of America that’s affected and probably untold others. Who operates like this? We have to look out for each other.  The even bigger snare in joining this phoney consumer protection plan is that in the fine-print, by accepting this handout, one agrees to army of arbiters’ negotiations on settlement and will not engage in any grievance against the company (I imagine that this is legal boilerplate nowadays for most transactions of any type) in the future—essentially signing away the ability to sue the company for damages outside of a framework that’s constructed to be more sympathetic to big business.