...free to think freely


1st August 2019

Banks are banks – and mobiles are mobiles

So far as I know neither people who operate a bank account nor those who possess a mobile phone fall into any recognised category protected by the law, yet that is the area in which discrimination on irrelevant grounds could soon affect thousands of vulnerable people.

For, it seems, the executives who run banks have now decided possession of a mobile phone should in future be a pre-requisite of operating a bank account. Moreover, the banks appear to have imposed this requirement in concert, so there is no competing organisation to which a non-phone-user can go for an alternative service. It is collusion to discriminate unfairly against those who don’t, can’t or just plain do not wish to use such a device.

This has serious implications for personal freedom and protection of the weak. There is no legal requirement on a citizen to have either a bank account or a mobile phone, just as there is no requirement to have a passport or a driving licence if one does not so wish. In a free society citizens are free to choose the services they wish to use, so making one dependent on another unrelated one is blatantly unfair and a denial of that basic freedom. It is also a burden on the elderly, those with disabilities which limit access to certian technologies, or those who cannot afford them. It goes to the heart of a free society, and what it means to live in one.

Regular users of mobile phones, who perhaps cannot imagine life without one, might wonder what all the fuss is about, but that’s how unjust policies always gain traction. The majority often fail to step in to protect disadvantaged minorities; that’s how oppressive regimes survive, because the majority see little reason to resist. That is, until you find yourself a member of a minority under attack, and in a free society, most will fall into one minority or another. The way to protect us all is to protect all, even the weak minorities, before it becomes too late.