‘You are the weakest link’…

An email from British Telecom (BT) arrived in the Badger’s inbox last week. It communicated the ‘inflation plus 3.9%’ price rise of the Badger’s broadband in line with a  clause in his package contract. This was expected, but it was hard to take seriously BT’s accompanying narrative for the increase when the Badger can renew today with their promise of a free upgrade to fibre to the premises (FTTP) – if it becomes available during the new contract term – for 30% less than he’s currently paying!  BT, by the way,  appear unable to provide any date for when FTTP might be available in the area, and so the Badger considers their free upgrade promise as simply a marketing ploy of little tangible value.

As you might expect, the Badger’s started exploring the options for when his current broadband is out of contract in the summer. Last weekend, a mobile comms provider’s TV advert triggered the Badger to visit their website to look at their broadband offerings. The Badger didn’t dwell there long, but obviously long enough for their systems to kick into overdrive because over the following three days, there were a series of unsolicited calls from the same telephone number to the Badger’s landline. The Badger, as part of a long-embedded security and privacy discipline, never picks up landline calls from numbers that aren’t in his address book. A quick check of the caller’s number on who called me  revealed a ‘negative’ rating and that callers were, or purported to be, from the mobile comms provider whose website the Badger had visited. The number was blocked and after a couple of days the calls stopped.

There’s nothing particularly unusual about this because it’s a dynamic that many people will have experienced. However, it reminded the Badger to be conscious of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of marketing, to carefully consider inflation-linked price clauses when shopping for broadband, and not to be complacent because everything you do online provides data that others, reputable or otherwise, will use for their own purposes. It’s easy to become complacent, and there are always consequences from your internet searches and website visits!

The Badger’s wife always blames today’s technology when nuisances like that described above occur. The Badger, however, always tactfully disagrees and highlights that its human behaviour and human complacency in interacting with technology, rather than the technology itself, that is a root cause. He always points out that it’s rarely the technology per se that leaks information to feed the perpetual media frenzies that are a feature of modern life, its people! On this occasion, however, the Badger made a tactical error by reminding his wife that she should be careful when online because ‘you are the weakest link’.  As true and generally pertinent as the phrase might be, it didn’t go down well…


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