Tired of tethering my phone to get access to the Web, I finally decided to pay for an ISP so I can stream video and easily access important data such as this photo of a squid’s eye in a jar:
The only reasonable broadband provider in my part of center of the universe (that’s a local reference for Seattle readers) is Comcast. There’s also CenturyLink, which is by most accounts miserably slow. So I got onto the Comcast site and started going through their process and they asked for my social security number and birthdate. I refused to provide that because it’s none of their dang business and also a risk if anyone breaches their data center and bad guys get hold of it.
I found myself in an online chat with a nice representative who transferred me to another nice representative who absolutely refused to take my money without also taking my social security number in order to run a credit check. I said goodbye.
Then I looked up once again all my ISP choices and realized the Comcast near-monopoly had me by the digital gonads. I returned to Comcast and surrendered my personal info and so already have a bad relationship with them. They also tried to get me to rent a modem for $7 per month, which I declined, knowing that I could buy the same thing on Amazon or wherever rather than pay and pay forever for a modem. Another bad feeling generated.
When I called them later to ask a question, they asked for the last four digits of my social security number as identification; just to rub a little salt in the wound, I guess. After telling me how super secure they are with my data, this did not inspire confidence.
Someday I’ll look back on all this and laugh.