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HMRC To Erase Your Voice?

Before you even get to say hello you hear a “click”. What is that you wonder? Am I being recorded without my knowledge, perhaps?

Then the friendly HMRC customer service assistant answers the phone and says “hello sir, how may I be of assistance to you today?” And with those words you forget all about the “click” and just get on with your business.

But that “click” never really goes away, and everytime you phone up the HMRC hotline you hear the same, familiar…”click.”

It turns out HMRC have recorded the voice of 5 million taxpayers…without explicit consent from a single person.

“Click” – record voice – “Click” end recording of voice.

5 million times…again and again.

What happened here is HMRC automatically signed people up to a voice ID system, but many campaigners see this as them breaking the privacy laws.

Some campaigners have described the incident as “biometric ID cards by the back door,” while the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) said it was a “significant breach of data laws.”

I seem to remember similar things happening with airlines recently…in America, who are tapping into the FBI database to automatically check in passengers with the scan of an eye.

Just one “Scan” and you are checked in. But many passengers didn’t consent to their data being shared.

Back to HMRC and they are fighting back against ICO and the campaigners, with the CEO of HMRC himself, Sir John Thompson having this to say…

“I am satisfied that HMRC should continue to use voice ID. It is popular with our customers, is a more secure way of protecting customer data, and enables us to get callers through to an adviser faster.” he said.

The Contractor Accountants (CA) verdict on this saga? In our opinion although there is probably a lot of breaching and breaking going on right now, in regards to your privacy, perhaps this is just a new era of doing things?

If you want to get through to a HMRC advisor quickly and efficiently then maybe having your voice stored on a database isn’t such a bad thing, and having to give your consent to every thing, all the time, is just plain madness.

Kind of like those annoying website popups where you constantly must “agree to proceed” and that type of thing.

I don’t know. While storing information without your direct consent could be an issue, I just think that having to give your permission all the time is a real drag.

What I do know is that if you are looking for the best contractor accountants in the UK then you have found us. Just look to the right hand side of the webpage…NOW.

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