OPTUS hack - Put customer first

Australia is losing its culture of putting the customer first. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, and leading up to 1990s, before the ill-informed got their ways with the state and federal governments of pushing their corporate agendas through the very smartly coined slogan of ‘small government’ pushing for privatisation, the Australian corporate culture put the service and looking after the customer first.

Then the corporate lobbyists disguised as economic advisers managed to sway the people at the helm to slowly put an end to public service and bring in the idea of privatization in order to put the budgets in the black.

And rorting and the rot set in.

I see the OPTUS hack and then the company’s hesitation in accepting responsibility and absolute lack of willingness to do the right thing to foot the bill for its customers who did nothing wrong other than trusting their service provider – only a culmination of the process started back with the much celebrated the ’new era’ of privatization started in the horrid 1990s.

Today, the customer is no longer there to be served, but to be billed. You will get the same experience and feel no matter which service provider you have to deal with over the phone. OPTUS is just in consciousness because of the hack.

The mere fact that the company can withhold information on the size and quantum of hack, then not to commit to do the right thing by their customers exposes the ‘checks and balances’ promised at the time of the introduction of privatization.

The murmurings of some politicians who may easily be targeted by some influential lobbyists, are no comfort to the millions (including many in my office) whose data has been compromised.

The fact that the company can pussyfoot around the issue also points to the culture that does not guarantee or ensure ‘customer service’ in this new Australia.

Last week when a hacker managed to access the private information of up to 9.8 million of OPTUS customers, serious questions should be asked how the successive governments have neglected Australians and left them unprotected. Experts believe Australia’s privacy and cybersecurity laws are not fit for purpose in 2022.

Who is responsible for this? Not the average Australian customer. Then why should he or she be not compensated for not only fees paid but also any time they have to spend to secure themselves again be it getting a new passport, medicare card or driver’s licence?

Also read: OPTUS cyber hack – are you an OPTUS customer?

With the IT companies having unquestioned access to the people in power, they are able to sway the system being moulded to place more and more reliance on technology. The gullible customer, simply follows and then falls into the trap of ‘contactless’ delivery of services. Their confidential information is mortgaged to the use of new system.

Clearly – the whole system stacked AGAINST the customer who is helpless.

The politicians in some cases, may also be the unwilling victims of stacks against the average customer when cajoled by the pressure groups and lobbyist pushing for more ‘efficient’ and ‘streamlined’ system ravenous for more and more personal information.

Let us use this horrendous hack as the final wakeup call for our leaders to ensure the system is recalibrated back to put the customer first. If the customer is not in the wrong, there should be no wriggle room for the providers to not pay for their negligence.

Australians perhaps should see OPTUS hack as a test for Anthony Albanese. His government must ensure OPTUS not only FULLY foots the bill but also compensates its millions of customers for their time, trauma and financial losses.

If that means ‘killing’ the company, so be it.

Let Anthony Albanese show how Australia can lead the way to start serving its people rather than the corporate bedfellows of the mighty and powerful.

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