[Miscellany] Customer reviews, GDPR fines and musings on graduation

  1. Stick the film, then post a photo

I have recently ordered some black out film for a window that lets in too much light during the night. There are 12 steps in the instructions, starting with cleaning the window, all the way down to… taking a photo and posting it with a review, online.


Blimey, we are well and truly in the age of customer reviews and electronic word of mouth.


Here are two photos of the instructions. Apologies for the bad quality of the images: unfortunately, they sent the wrong film, and I had to return it. I suppose they would rather I skipped step 12, then.


2. Big fines for British Airways and Marriott, for data breaches

Last week saw the news of two large fines, related to customer data breaches. The first one was a fine of £183m for British Airways, in relation to an incident that took place in June 2018. The second, a fine of £99m for Marriot, related to an incident that took place in 2014 but which was only discovered last year.


The BBC reports that, in both cases, data were lost / stolen not as a result of a sophisticated attack on these companies’ systems. Instead, they occurred because of poor security arrangements. That is, companies are simply not taking their duty to protect customer data seriously enough. They were sloppy with their customers’ data.


John McAlaney wrote an interesting piece on The Conversation about how these fines are meant to work as a method of public shaming, by the regulator; and a means of signalling to other institutions what can happen to the them, if they do not take their data protection obligations, seriously. As the regulator seems keen to use the new powers it has, in light of GDPR, hopefully these fines will see a change in companies’ attitudes towards their customers’ data.



3. Graduation week musings

Last week, it was Graduation Week at Brunel. We celebrated the students’ achievements, and recognised successful alumni, colleagues and professionals. This year the graduation was especially meaningful to me, as child 1 is about to start on this very same journey. Twenty-five years ago, I was on the other side, as a graduating student; for the last 12 years, I have been sitting on the stage as a member of faculty; and, all going well, in three or so years I will be on the side lines as a proud parent.


Completed my module annual reviews. Now, finalising some paper revisions. Next, marking for the MBA course that I delivered last month.


What does the week have in store for you?



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