Thursday, November 30, 2023 | Jumada al-ula 15, 1445 H
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The new technologies: Are they just today’s Trojan Horse?

Ray Petersen
Ray Petersen

Have you ever felt helpless in the face of the new technologies, like I often do? Are you aghast at the significant intrusions into our personal lives that the new technologies allow, like I am?

Or is this simply the price we pay for progress?

I get two messages a day telling me to get contactless bankcards, new mobile phones and new Internet packages. Now, I don’t trust the contactless card concept at all! I have a perfectly good mobile phone, and the phone/Internet package I have is that suggested as the best for me by my provider, so why should I change? Then there are Hindi movies, jokes, quotes, pizzas, furniture and much more I haven’t asked for.

I just don’t believe that we should receive marketing information unless we have requested it, and yes, maybe it isn’t a big thing, but it indicates that a third party, without my consent, has access to my phone, therefore my communications and my life, and that’s scary!

I’m not paranoid, I don’t think, but I do worry about so many databases having access to my personal details, and I always have trouble with remembering passwords. I had a system, but that’s gone because not only do I need new passwords, but substantially different ones, and my bank changes its passwords every six months, then Google wants a password not used “at any

time, on any other Internet source’’. It’s crazy!

I’m not immune to fraud however, and a month ago a transaction came through on my phone that was not of my doing, and after checking with my family, I googled the company that had withdrawn the, not insignificant amount. It shows as a fraudulent website, scam, not to be trusted.

So, I went to my bank and completed a letter of complaint and was advised that “the matter will be investigated, and if it is found to be fraud, the money will be returned to your account’’. Reassured, I left much happier. Now, this week, another withdrawal was made by the same entity!

I was livid! I called my bank’s call centre, and they ‘stopped’ my card, but explained that I would have to return to my branch to make another complaint. Grrrrrrrr! This I did, as I said to the manager, “I’m not angry, but frustrated. Why has my initial complaint not been actioned, and how do these criminals still have access to my account?”

He responded that the person who took my complaint had then gone on annual leave, and my file had been passed to another staff but for some reason, not actioned. “Sorry’’. Okay, so there’s an element of human error, but how can a bank, the custodian of so many people’s money, be so careless?

But to get back to the technologies. When I am, for instance, purchasing air tickets via an airline, I will usually need to provide a One Time Pin to confirm the veracity of the transaction. Or sometimes, when I’m overseas, even though I have advised of the dates and locations of my travel, I will have to contact the bank to reconfirm my identity before my transactions, particularly cash withdrawals, are accepted.

How then, are random transactions from offshore locations, so freely accepted? What are the banking protocols that decide when OTP authentications are required, and when they may be bypassed? Where is my comfort, my peace of mind, my security? The amount is inconsequential, what happens now is that my bank has lost my confidence because not their people, but their systems and technology

have lost my confidence, and put my salaries, personal information, and savings at risk.

Is this ‘progress’ and the benefits of technology? Must we accept the Trojan Horse we are sold?

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