A while back, in a large storm, a tree fell on my parents’ house (on the roof over their bedroom, to be precise). My parents were not contactable, and therefore, I decided to ring the insurance company to try and get someone to take the tree off the roof and fix the hole.
“I’m sorry, we’re not at liberty to talk to you for privacy reasons,” said the woman on the other end of the line. I explained that I could not get in contact with my parents and that the tree needed to be taken off the roof. I was happy to send in my birth certificate to prove that I was actually their child (seems ridiculous, but there you go). No, still not good enough. In the end, I called the insurance brokers, who were understanding about the whole situation and contacted the insurance company on my behalf. The tree was taken off the roof.
Well, of course I want my details to be private, but there is common sense as well. Sometimes it seems that organisations use the privacy laws as an excuse not to have to deal with your problem. It is really very irritating, and such obstructiveness serves no useful purpose. It just adds to the irritating bureaucratic red tape of life.
I wonder how well the privacy laws work anyway? They don’t seem to stop those people who call up at dinner time trying to get you to change phone providers. The people almost always seem to be calling from a call centre in India. But obviously the details gained by this invasion of privacy are not necessarily accurate. One of these gentlemen was convinced that my name was “Mrs. Foo” (it is not). We had a 10 minute argument about my identity, and after all that, I did not want to change phone providers. It is always a challenge to get rid of these people politely but firmly. We don’t get so many calls any more; perhaps I am on a phone spam black list. Now, there’s an invasion of privacy that I don’t mind.