Monday, October 25, 2010

The Immorality of Security Agencies

Last weekend I got new service with Verizon, and during the shuffle from one telephone service provider to the next my phone number was changed. They say it's going to take a week or so to get back.

In the meantime, it seems that our new temporary number has been leaked to every energy, lawn service, and home service company for 50 miles, all calling up to offer their assistance.

Most of these I give a "thank you, no, do not call again." A few when they try to push their "Free $50 gift certificate (with a $500 purchase)!", I tell them that it's against my religion to accept gift cards, since it interferes with our ability to worship Miyamoto and his most holy Mario Brothers.

But when ADT called about having a sign on my lawn - even if I didn't have the service, they'd give that to me for free as long as I put the sign on my lawn! I was very blunt that they should not call again, their services were not wanted, and they were to stop calling my house ever again.

"There's no need to be so rude about it," the salesman said. "We're not offering the service. We're working with the local police department in a marketing campaign-"

"You're working for a fucking evil company that wants to put a sign on my lawn to make people think that I support your taxpayer profiting company when I do not. Never darken my door with your shadow, and never take up my time with your phone calls."

And that's when I hung up.

Yes. I'm serious. I think that ADT and the other companies of their ilk are evil. They're as evil as health insurance companies, who stand to profit by finding ways to deny people's health care and pay CEO's multiple millions of dollars.

Think about what ADT does: they provide a service where you pay them every month, and when a smoke alarm goes off - they call the fire department. If a door opens when the alarm is set or a sensor detects a window is broken - they call the cops.

And I sit here asking - why am I paying you - to call the cops?

They show commercial after commercial of attractive white women terrified in their homes as a burglar kicks in the door the second their husbands leave. They cower while the alarm goes off, clutching children while ADT calls the cops.

And again, I wonder - why am I paying them to call the cops?

Why isn't this a basic service, where communities say "If you have the hardware installed, if the fire or break-in alarm goes off, the system auto-dials 911 and puts in a code that either says 'fire' or 'suspected robbery in progress'?

ADT is basically making money sitting between your home, and the services that your tax dollars pay for. They take in the profit when they're paid every month. According to David Cay Johnson, author of the book Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill), 99% of alarms generated by these security systems are false alarms, furthering costing the taxpayers even more money.

And there's no incentive to fix it.

So no, ADT, Brinks and the rest. I don't live my life cowering in fear. And I think your service should just be a part of a communities fire and police and other emergency systems. You can make money installing or selling the equipment, but after that, be gone.

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