Information & the National Crime Check Service

We use social media between two conflicting urges – the urge to be noticed and the urge to retain our privacy. Both are important.

Social media allows our opinions to be heard by vast numbers of people. And it is indelibly recorded for all time. This means we must be careful about everything we say. It is widely believed that certain social media have the capability to record everything you type, whether or not you press the post button. Furthermore, major social media sites rake in billions of dollars every financial quarter – far more than they could possibly earn from advertising alone. Where does this extra money come from? National security and governmental agencies.

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What all this means is that like credit ratings, government bodies are building up a portfolio of information about you. That’s fine, that’s their job. It only becomes insidious when you are unaware of that information. Because then you are unable to challenge it should it be wrong.

Let me give you an example.

I had a friend who moved interstate. He was driving around his new hometown one morning when he was pulled over by the police. There were, apparently, outstanding warrants for his arrest. The policemen put his car’s registration through their database and he was flagged.

As one officer was talking to my friend, and getting his license details, the other was getting further information about the arrest warrant. There were, it seems, unpaid traffic violation charges in his previous home state.

My friend was completely unaware of these fines as he had left the state before he received notification of them. And whoever took over his apartment hadn’t forwarded his correspondence on.

In short, this was a simple breakdown of communication; not a nefarious criminal plot to escape justice.

Both police officers were terribly embarrassed. Arresting someone for unpaid fines is clearly ridiculous. There are murders and rapists out there who deserve the police time being wasted on my friend. But this is an example of the nonsensical logic of computer systems.

The thing is, this could have so easily been avoided.

People are becoming aware of having credit checks done on themselves, so they know if the information being collected is fair and true. But what about the legal information?

National Crime Check is a national Australian online police check service. NCCFor a small fee they give you the same information the police have about you. Had my friend had this check done he would have been surprised – he had no idea about these fines. But the surprise would be far better than the shock of being pulled over and told there was a warrant out for your arrest.

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