…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
I wrote recently about ‘Pointless Technology’, and this is similar to that. It’s hard not to be without some tech these days; we all seem to need internet access in one form or another. I was quite an early adopter; I remember my dial-up days fondly – it is remarkable that one could (just about) video chat over a connection that was barely 40kbps… yep kbps, not mbps.
One thing I have failed to adopt though is smart phones, or tablets, and now I’m feeling how those reluctant PC adopters felt. My phone looks reasonable, but like my last one, it wont quite allow me to check e-mails, let alone browse the internet swiftly, or use apps.
Then today I was in the bank. I needed a replacement gadget that gives me a code when I put in my pin, for signing into internet banking; the screen faulty; or the battery was running down (again – it hadn’t been long since they had replaced it). I said it was faulty and asked if I could have a replacement. While they looked around and evidently didn’t routinely keep spares in the branch two things were thrown at me: The banking app would allow me to put in my pin and get the code, to which I replied my phone wasn’t capable of that, and then they said they’re not actually giving out the gadgets now and encourage people to use the app, and that… there should be a fee for replacement gadgets.
I would have objected to the final point, but it seems the member of staff was somewhat mistaken; I have since searched online and the bank will issue free additional/replacement gadgets, but the thoughts that ran through my head were similar to when I heard our local council charge us if they need to provide us with a replacement black wheelie bin; they provide them for free, they technically belong to them, and if they break, it should be their problem.
In addition to this argument I have already experienced one bank close its doors in my localest village, and then when I started going to the next nearest they closed that branch too (I closed my accounts with them). Then just recently this other bank informed me of reduced opening times; this doesn’t affect me so much because I can work around them, but the point is they are encouraging people to do all their banking online, which then leads to the branches being little used… and in order to do internet banking we have to be able to sign in, for which there are options, and the one I use is by means of their gadget. But now it seems I will, sooner or later, be expected to have a smart phone… and I’m not sure I want to comply.
Just like Contactless, which I also wrote about recently and criticised the banks, and requested a normal payment card without the feature, I will object to a smartphone-only login requirement. The combination of keying my pin number into a gadget and that gadget being able to track my location, makes me somewhat concerned about where all this tech is leading.