Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sneaky is the generous term for it

In some haredi communities, tv and not the internet is still the issue at the moment. A reader from the UK sent me the following email. By way of background to American readers, in the UK you need to pay for a licence to own a tv set so that there is funding for the BBC, which is a state-owned channel (a bit like the agra in Israel):
It is rumoured that [a certain haredi school in the UK -- MS] has been ringing up the TV Licensing Authority masquarading as certain parents in order supposedly to check that their licence is still valid. Of course, if the TVLA confirms this, then they bring in the parents for a severe talking to or to suggest that their children may be better off at another school.
Quite apart from the appalling ethics of this, I suspect it could be illegal for reasons of data protection if nothing else. There are other issues relating to identity theft etc.
I.e., they've found a sure-fire way to confirm whether parents at the school have tvs or not.
I did a little check today and it is possible to get the TVLA to tell you over the phone whether your tv license is up to date or not with just a name and address -- I told them I was at work and had forgotten to bring my tv license number and they were quite happy to confirm everything was in order. I haven't named the school/city 'cos I don't want to get sued and this is, at the moment, just a rumor -- but if anyone knows of any CONCRETE CASES of this happening in the UK, please contact me.

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