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Privacy Skeptic Gets Robbed Online And RecantsPrivacy Skeptic Gets Robbed Online And Recants

Not everyone believes privacy matters.

Thomas Claburn

January 7, 2008

1 Min Read

Not everyone believes privacy matters.

Take U.K. journalist and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who hosts a show called Top Gear.

Clarkson, according to the BBC, believed that the furor over the U.K. government's loss of optical discs containing the personal information of more than 25 million U.K. citizens was much ado about nothing.To demonstrate that privacy concerns are overstated, Clarkson "published details of his Barclays account in the Sun newspaper, including his account number and [routing] code." He then provided information about how to find out his address, believing that all anyone could do would be to send him more money.

In fact, Clarkson found that someone used his personal information to send about U.S. $1,000 without authorization to a charity, presumably to disabuse him of his contempt for privacy.

"The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act and they cannot stop it from happening again," Clarkson reportedly said in his Sunday Times column. "I was wrong and I have been punished for my mistake."

The incident seems to have turned Clarkson into a true believer. According to the Guardian's account of the incident, Clarkson added, "Contrary to what I said at the time, we must go after the idiots who lost the discs and stick cocktail sticks in their eyes until they beg for mercy."

Here we just go after the idiots who lose data with lawyers until they beg to settle. But I have to say there's something appealing about cocktail sticks...

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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