by Gil Hanrahan
If you want to purchase a phone or internet service from Telstra, new corporate policies demand you lay your soul bare to one of its 26,000 Filipino or Indian call centre operators.
If you simply request an extension of your internet allocation or a new phone be prepared for a Stasi-styled interrogation by a salesman whose brogue is heavier than a Highland Scotsman full of malt whisky.
There is no prospect of intelligently deciphering the fractured polemic demanding you reveal your date of birth, drivers licence number, occupation, home address, how long you have lived there, any government-given identity such as a gun or high risk machinery licence, how many dependents you might have, your ABN number if you have one or any other form of identification. All of this sensitive data will be handed to some obscure credit reporting agency.
If you don’t answer yes to whatever question is in the offing, you get no service, regardless of what you thought the operator said.
For the life of me, I am sure the fourth seemingly female operator I encountered after 5 days of trying to extend an internet allocation, asked me to show her my ……..you know what!
Then after questioning what she said, I am sure she promised she would show me hers?
It was a distant yet exciting cosmopolitan affair guessing which nationality would answer the call. Would it be a delightful Filipino gal or a nubile, swarthy babe from the depths of New Delhi?
I have never been subjected to such a barrage of unintelligent personal questions which leave a serious hospital examination floundering.
Can you imagine a rogue operator (Telstra insists its 26,000 foreign phone jockeys being paid $2.50 an hour all possess exemplary behaviour) selling this information on the open market to marketing companies or to the identity theft black market.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn appointed in 2015 should clean up his act and re-employ a reported 26,000 Australian call centre operators which would give a huge economic boost to the ailing economy. The lowly paid overseas operators took the jobs of 26,000 Australians.
Telstra has a total monopoly over rural Australian communications
Australian privacy laws have been thrown out with the bathwater by giving unknown foreign operators access to your sensitive information. Why are these operators so ‘anal’ about you giving your date of birth for identification purposes before they will speak to you? Fortunately this scribe gave them a false date of birth many years ago so the remainder of the private identification details they have on file are rendered irrelevant. How are these aliens able to confirm your driver’s licence number unless they have access to the Department of Main Roads data base?
If you do not comply with every question you will not get any Telstra product. All of this dastardly interrogation occurs on an open phone line which one of our pet investigators can intercept in 20 seconds using a Stingray device, the same as the police use to intercept any mobile phone call without the need of an interception warrant.
This readers is what you get for backing the political party duopoly for the past two decades.
Telstra Corporation is an abomination, a miscreant of deregulating Liberalism, spawned by the devil and borne of greed.
Its predecessors the PMG Department and Telecom braved the hideous privatisation ideology of the Liberal and Labor parties by defending their workforce of many World War 2 and Vietnam veterans, protecting them from the avaricious corporations that were circling the publicly-owned communications wagons in the 80’s and 90’s.
Telstra didn’t stand a chance with PM John Howard and his Jewish handlers lining up the profitable telephone utility for the clutches of his somewhat unsavoury stockbroker colleagues.
To get the grubby deal over the line in parliament palms were greased with gay abandon.
This scribe once worked for the federal government at the time Canberra chair polishers went into overdrive when the Liberals presented their bill to privatise Telstra in 1999.
Two members of parliament, without divulging which House, told me they were discreetly offered an Alladin’s cave of riches to support the privatisation of the only reliable and affordable public communications network in the country.
Remember the PMG, was a public utility created in 1901 which only ever charged users the cost of maintaining the network plus a small margin for future works and administration?
It was a proper government utility until Whitlam got his dirty hands on it in 1975 creating Telecom. In 1993 it was rebranded Telstra.
After the disastrous Whitlam era, incorrigible Labor PM’s Bob Hawke and Paul Keating bankrolled their futures after politics by floating the Australian dollar and clearing the decks to sell off our government-owned phone and power services. 1.
It was called 2. privatisation. Readers know where this infestation has led us. Right into the hands of the financial oligarchy so you can be their honorary slaves forever more.
- Privacy breach affecting 60,300 customers
- The true Labor debt inherited by Howard in 1996 was $56 billion plus $40billion of Malcolm Fraser’s debt carried through the Hawke/Keating period. This $96 billion was inherited by Howard.
To pay off this debt the Howard government sold $72 billion of government assets. Hence, the move to “negative debt” or surplus if you like ($72 billion – $56 billion = $16 billion surplus) was not due to “careful and responsible” budget management. Far from it – it was created by irresponsible selling of public assets, one being Telstra.
- Australian telecommunications services were originally controlled by the Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG), formed in 1901 as a result of Australian Federation. Prior to 1901, telecommunications were administered by each colony. On 1 July 1975, separate commissions were established by statute to replace the PMG. Responsibility for postal services was transferred to the Australian Postal Commission (Australia Post). The Australian Telecommunications Commission (ATC), trading as Telecom Australia, ran domestic telecommunication services.
In 1989, the ATC was reconstituted as the Australian Telecommunications Corporation.
In 1992, the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, a separate government body established in 1946, was merged with the Australian Telecommunications Corporation into the short-lived Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (AOTC) which continued trading under the established identities of Telecom and OTC. The AOTC was renamed to Telstra Corporation Limited in 1993. The name “Telstra” is derived from the word Telecom Australia (TEL from Telecom and STRA from Australia). The corporation then traded under the “Telstra” brand internationally and “Telecom Australia” domestically until uniform branding of “Telstra” was introduced throughout the entire organisation in 1995.
- On 12 July 2011, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released the findings of its investigation into a mailing list error that resulted in approximately 60,300 Telstra customers’ personal information being sent to other customers. The Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said “Our investigation has confirmed that while Telstra breached the Privacy Act when the personal information of a number of its customers was disclosed to third parties; this incident was caused by a one-off human error. It was not a result of Telstra failing to have reasonable steps in place to protect the personal information of its customers, as required by the Privacy Act.” – Wikipedia