/ data protection

On misinterpretation of the Data Protection Act

INT. AN EDINBURGH BUS. EVENING.

Our hero, JOHNNIE, is traveling home from a hard day’s work during which he was forced to code in Python. He’s tired, hungry and irritable. He is reading a BOOK.

SFX: JOHNNIE’S PHONE RINGS. IT PLAYS AN ACAPPELLA VERSION OF THE DOCTOR WHO THEME TUNE, BECAUSE OUR HERO IS FUNDAMENTALLY MADE OF PURE SOLID WIN(tm).

JOHNNIE
(answering the PHONE)
Hello?

THE STRANGER (v/o)
Good evening. Could I speak to John Ingram please?

JOHNNIE
Speaking.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
My name’s Bob Generico, and I’m calling from Jonson Smith Associates. For security purposes, can I take your date of birth please?

JOHNNIE
I’m sorry, you’re calling from where?

THE STRANGER (v/o)
Jonson Smith Associates.

JOHNNIE
And what, exactly, is Jonson Smith Associates?

SILENCE. A BEAT. THEN:

THE STRANGER (v/o)
We deal in personal business matters. For security purposes, can I take your -

JOHNNIE
Personal business matters? Well, that’s reassuringly generic.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
For security purposes, can I take your date of birth please?

JOHNNIE
No.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
I’m sorry?

JOHNNIE
You’ve phoned me. I have no idea who you are, who Jonson is, or who Smith is. There’s no way I’m going to give you any personally-identifying details.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
For data protection purposes, I need to ask your date of birth.

JOHNNIE
(laughs)
I’m not entirely sure that you’ve fully grasped the intricate nuances of the 1998 Data Protection Act, to be perfectly honest with you, Bob.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
For -

JOHNNIE
I’ll tell you what. You tell me your date of birth, and your mother’s maiden name just to sweeten the deal, and then I’ll think about giving you mine. How’s about that?

THE STRANGER (v/o)
Sir, if you won’t give me your date of birth I’m unable to continue this call.

JOHNNIE
Okay.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
Okay?

JOHNNIE
Yeah. I’m okay with you being unable to continue this call. I don’t even know what this call is about, so from my point of view terminating this call has no negatives, and has the not-insignificant positive of allowing me to carry on reading my book. I was just getting to the bit about the dragon.

THE STRANGER (v/o)
Okay. I’m going to have to terminate this call, sir.

JOHNNIE
Alrighty then.

With an expression of confusion on his face, JOHNNIE puts his PHONE back in his pocket.

Johnnie Ingram

A portable Geek-to-English translation unit. Atheist, pedant, undercover feminist. Stalker of stand-up comedians. Quite likes Doctor Who.

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