If it’s good enough for you is it good enough for a celebrity or MP?

January 31, 2008

You will mostly all have heard by now about the recent issue with double standards over data protection on the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs website. If you haven’t here’s a summary…

The HMRC (yes those lovely people who lost millions of peoples personal data) announced at the weekend that certain ‘important’ people such as Royals, celebrities and MP’s are blocked from using the online tax return submission tool on their website. The reason given? That those people require extra protection. They claim it’s technical issues as these peoples records are stored in a different system, however a treasury minister said in parliament that there are categories of individual for whome security is a higher priority.

So what are they trying to say? That their systems are secure enough for you or me to use but not secure enough for a celebrity or MP (one wonders whether the MP’s avoid this to keep their employment of wives and children out of prying eyes ;-))? If that’s the case then I don’t want to use the system either as I value my personal data just as much as an ‘important’ person does.

Crazy, no?

This leads me to wonder if any online banking providers have a similar rule in place? Imagine what would happen if it came out that your friendly high street bank didn’t let some minor celebrity use their online facilities because of security fears, we’d all be back down the high street like a shot!

The HMRC now have a message on their site explaining the issue and saying they are working to extend online tax returns to all taxpayers. Amazing that the people who are usually first are in this case the last.

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