Friday, December 21

Big Brother brought to you universally by the Conservatives

Next month will see the nationwide introduction of the Universal Jobmatch web site (the brain child of Iain Duncan Smith) which appears to be designed to monitor the activities of people on jobseekers allowance, as opposed to offering help in finding jobs (the biggest change needed is actually on the employers side, not the jobseekers side).

The site is effectively a data aggregator taking data feeds from various existing job search boards like Monster and Jobsite, so it doesn't do anything new and anyone looking for a job already uses the numerous web sites directly. So Universal Jobmatch creates another level of data duplication of peoples personal information on the internet. A target rich enviroment for hackers.

The site has already been hacked, with personal details of jobseekers accessed by some people setting up a bogus company in order to access the information. The government appears to be insistent on making our lives less secure, the question is what rights do we have to sue the government when our information is abused, who pays for all the hours spent changing bank accounts and cancelling credit cards ?
Have we got to a stage now where the only personal information that defines us and must be protected, is our bank account?

There is a big question mark over whether the governments Big Brother system is legal. Anyone on JSA can effectively be forced to apply for a job that the computer system thinks they are suitable for, this effectively is forcing someone to send personal data to a commercial organisation, the only choice being to do that or losing their jobseeking allowance. There must be a big question as to whether the government has the right to do that just because a person is unemployed. I don't know of any other government scheme where a person can be forced to hand over personal information to commercial organisations?

No one wants to be unemployed, individuals are suited to certain types of jobs and some people are naturally less flexible than others. You can't force people to be something they are not suited for and of all the political parties in the UK, the least likely you would expect to introduce such extreme and draconian ideas is the Conservatives!

The Universal Jobmatch web site also uses cookies that track a jobseekers actions whilst using the web site. On this issue the government has come up against EU law which gives individuals the right to reject cookies used by a web site. Most of the mainstream browsers also allow people to block cookies from individual web sites, so it looks like the EU are the saints here and are protecting our rights to some privacy.

When someone applies for a job using your name and personal information, who bails you out of jail when the impersonator takes money from their employer?
Who pays for the medication needed to counter the anxiety and stress?
(Maybe not all that realistic a scenario, but as yet the scenarios haven't played out in real life)

Another major issue with this system is the forcing of people to use computers and the internet. Because such systems are extremely dependent on wealth, resources and advanced cultural activity, there will always be people in society that will have extreme difficulties accessing the system. So the people that need it the most, are also the most likely to not have easy access to it.

If someone has worked all their life and finds themselves redundant in their later years, is this sort of harrassment that they really need? It can be a massive shock to the system, to find all the familiar methods of job hunting have now disappeared and understanding the risks of applying for jobs via the internet can be distressing.

This new system seems to a be a combined brain child of extreme political ideology and some young IT expert who has probably never read a book in his or her life from a paper page. Indeed the old paper CV and letter was a far more secure method of applying for a job than the easy to copy electronic files of today.

We all await for the first court cases that will see many jobseekers being paid significant amounts of compensation and costing the tax payer money. 2013 is going to be a tough year and the economy isn't going to sort itself out for many years to come, yet the Conservative still live in a fantasy land, whilst the flooding continues.

The greatest risk is still climate change, not a few thousand life long jobseekers.

Big Brother Watch

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