Just got off the phone with a very nice lady from Orange, who was conducting a customer survey. (I’m not normally a fan of such things, but I quite want an N900 when my contract comes up for renewal, so I thought I’d try to get a gold star.)

The basic stuff for the survey was home security, and things – how worried are you about home security, do you check up on your home whilst you’re away, and so on. Standard 1-5 scale stuff, really.

Where I think I won’t have been useful is in the second half of the survey: of course I said I was fairly keen on keeping my home secure (although I wasn’t very fussed to check on it if I wasn’t there), but part 2 seemed to be about things I could do with a mobile to increase home security: would I like, for example, to turn off an alarm remotely, or be texted whenever someone entered or left my home, or be able to unlock the doors by text (I’m pretty sure there was also one about turning on the heating, so I guess thermostats are going out of fashion).

Sadly, this was the point in the survey where I jumped from looking like someone who is broadly in favour of home security, to being someone who wants nothing to do with it. No, I bloody don’t want any yahoo with access to my phone to unlock the doors to my house and turn off all the alarms: if I leave my phone unattended on a desk for five minutes today, and then I come back and it’s still there, I don’t have to phone the police. I’d pretty much like to keep it that way, but a 1-5 scale doesn’t really allow for that sort of clarification (and, to be honest, the ability to be texted if something moves in my home is just plain creepy. Have you people never watched Electric Dreams, or something?)

I’m just a little bit confused by the whole thing, to be honest. The woman running the survey was lovely – I think she was slightly confused by my answering all the questions that went “Would you like $suspicious_loophole_technology?” with a one or a two right after I’d answered all the “are you comfortable installing computer software/devices* on your home computer” with fives, but really… text me whenever someone enters or leaves my house? In what way does that increase security?

I figure that being the case, I either know who it is (say, Paul), or I can guess (possibly Ryan) or I have no idea (might be robbers, but what can I do, huh? Call the rozzers and tell ’em that my phone told me someone opened my door and I’m not sure who it was? Or do I have to opt for the frankly creepy-sounding CCTV-in-the-house which I (and probably Orange, or anyone who’s nicked my phone or got into the system some other way) can then view from my phone.

Now I feel bad for being unhelpful in a survey; I strongly suspect that I’ve just completely thrown the results. Eh, but what can you do? Would be vaguely interested to know if it’s just me that thinks this is A Bad Thing, though – am I missing the bit where some latter-day Mr. McKittrick comes up with a bunch of failsafes, or what?

*I’m not sure if by “Devices” she meant CPUs, extra RAM, new expansion cards et sim., but I assumed she did, because I couldn’t think of any other interpretation that wouldn’t just be embarrasing this side of plug & play.

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