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UK Government To Spy On Computers of the Jobless 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-how-you-click dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs. It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews. However, their activities may also be tracked using cookies, so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities. Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would 'revolutionize' the process of looking for work. He said anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination.'"
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UK Government To Spy On Computers of the Jobless

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  • by Tim C (15259) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:28AM (#42357789)
    I appreciate that the headline just copies that of the original article, but I really do expect better of Slashdot. (I know, I know, I must be new here.)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:44AM (#42357871)

      TFA says "remotely monitored" which is sensationalist but at least moderately accurate.

      Slashdot says "spy on computers" which is sensationalist and inaccurate.

      Also TFA points out the elephant in the room. Cookies cannot be used without consent in the EU. So, just say "no".

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:57AM (#42357963)

        Also TFA points out the elephant in the room. Cookies cannot be used without consent in the EU. So, just say "no".

        And then get called into the job centre to sit in front of a feckless bureaucrat, who explains that he is awfully "concerned" about your "failure to play the game" as their tracking system has been unable to detect your participation.

        • by JosKarith (757063) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:50AM (#42358193)
          And then you have a prima facie case to drag the whole sorry mess before an ECHR court whose judges just love to piss from a great height on national policies...
          • Right. That always works so well for the masses
          • by beelsebob (529313) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:48AM (#42358503)

            You do? Since when is it your human right to be given benefits by your government? I mean, I consider it a pretty valuable social policy, but it's far from a human right. If the government attaches strings to getting your benefits, like "you must let us see what you're doing to try and stop needing the benefits" I see no problem at all with that, let alone a human rights violation.

  • in Germany jobless people have to report any application for a job to the agency and they have to apply for a certain amount of jobs per month or they get no welfare. Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-
    • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Evtim (1022085) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:41AM (#42357853)

      Yhea, same in the Netherlands. 1 job application per week or no welfare. Problem is you are not allowed to apply/take just any job. If you are let's say nuclear physicist and you apply to work as auto-mechanic, they tell you "you should find a job suited for you background, money has been invested in your education" Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

      From free market point of view I do not understand this at all. If a company X can get overqualified person for the announced salary, isn't that good for the company? There are no laws that regulate the salaries in the private sector. You get more performance for the same buck! Maybe that person wants to stop doing nuclear physics. Maybe there are really no jobs and he/she is so desperate that they want that job never mind the over qualification..also the tech jobs went East but we are not allowed to work anything else. So become permanently unemployed or die (the former eventually leads to the latter anyway)? What other options are there?

      This whole shit has to stop but the only way I see is total rebuild of the socioeconomic model of Homo Sapiens. Fat chance...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by disi (1465053)
        I meant that more related to the government knowing how many searches one did, which is a joke compared to other countries. I was once unemployed for three weeks in Ireland, went to the office, filled in a form and got a check end of each week. No questions asked to a maximum of six months, I think. This is a model I would support, no stress and within six months people should be able to find another job.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by hackula (2596247)
          6 months to find a job? Anyone is going to get a job should be able to get it in 3 months. What is really happening in month 5 that could not have happened by month 2? Don't get me wrong, I support unemployment insurance. I prefer someone getting a check in the mail to having the payment "manually extracted" from my wallet at gunpoint when everything goes all mad max. At the same time, there needs to be some sort of accountability. To receive unemployment, you should be below a certain net worth, not be usi
          • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:42AM (#42359377)
            >new trade with guaranteed job prospects

            >Most people are perfectly capable of building up a 6 month emergency fund

            >Anyone is going to get a job should be able to get it in 3 months

            I see you're from the "get into your job cannon and fire off into job land" persuasion.

            In the real world it's quite common for a person to do nothing but apply for jobs online (a thousand candidates per application) and offline (fifty candidates per application) for months with no response from anyone, not even a "thank you for applying."

            In Michigan a few years ago I applied at every gas station, fast food place, and grocery store in my town. I also sent a targeted application with a crafted resume and cover letter out every day and untargeted ones to hundreds of companies a week. not a single fucking bite. No my resume didn't suck, no I'm not insane, on drugs, or a felon.

            Sometimes the jobs just aren't there.

            There's nothing more humiliating and painful than offering yourself and being rejected ten times a day. Go through the same experience and you'll have a lot more understanding and compassion for the unemployed.
            • by hackula (2596247)
              There are always places better or worse than others. It completely sucks to be in a place that is pretty much scorched earth. I get it. That is pretty much an apocalyptic situation though that happens rarely and in few places. If there are absolutely zero jobs where you live, then unfortunately you have to move. If you still cannot find anything anywhere, then you probably want to tweak some things about how you are looking for jobs. This is not really a commentary on unemployment insurance (which I happen
      • Because overqualified people quit out of frustration after you invest in getting them trained just right. Either that, or they try to boss everyone around.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Ironhandx (1762146)

          This isn't quite true.

          Over-QUALIFIED people are just fine, most of the time.

          Over-EDUCATED people are not. Where the two groups intersect, the Over-education takes the priority for being unemployable.

          The second group thinks the world owes them something. The first group has worked their way up and have enough life experience to know that the world doesn't owe them jack shit, and they should do their best at whatever task they are given.

          • Over-QUALIFIED people are just fine, most of the time.

            Over-EDUCATED people are not.

            A lot of folks are educated way beyond their intelligence . . .

      • by monkeyhybrid (1677192) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:18AM (#42358043)

        Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

        Move to Iran or North Korea?

      • Re:Germany... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:37AM (#42358139)

        If you are let's say nuclear physicist and you apply to work as auto-mechanic, they tell you "you should find a job suited for you background, money has been invested in your education" Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

        The problem is that a nuclear physicist can't get hired anywhere. Human resources tend to have the policy that they should hire only people who qualify precisely for the job. If they are too good, then it's assumed they will get bored and leave in no time.

        I read about some guy in the newspaper. He owned a company which died due to the financial situation. After that he applied for more than 4000 jobs and has been rejected for everything. He asked quite a number of those places to give a reason for the rejection and they all stated he was overqualified.

      • Re:Germany... (Score:4, Informative)

        by DarkOx (621550) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:07AM (#42358291) Journal

        From free market point of view I do not understand this at all. If a company X can get overqualified person for the announced salary, isn't that good for the company?

        Usually no. I don't know about Germany but in the US a statistic I have heard from more than one HR type is that employees usually cost an average of 120% of there normal annual compensation in the first year. This is due to fees with off cycle benefits enrollment, lost productivity of others while they train you for the company/job specific aspects of the position, anything else the company might offer like covering moving expenses, etc.

        New employees at just about any level beyond cleaner or mail room typically represent some level of investment (that added 20%) and its looked at that way rather than just as a pure labor expense, regardless of how the accounting is done. Over qualified folks are generally looking for a better opportunity elsewhere from the moment they arrive. Even if they do great work they are likely to be out the door as soon as they can. The company is then going to have to hire someone new at 120% cost.

        So from the perspective of many employees a correctly qualified person is a better investment. They will get more years out of them that way doing job they need done now, and if the company is growing perhaps they can manage to make the position grow at around the same rate the individual does which results in better economy for both parties.

      • by kraut (2788)

        Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

        Have you tried applying in North Korea?

        But yes, banning you from jobs you're overqualified for is a bit daft

      • by beelsebob (529313)

        The theory that leads to companies not wanting to employ overqualified people is that said overqualified people will be looking for something better constantly, or trying to one up their managers constantly. This leads in theory to them either not holding their job for long, and the company needing to start hiring/training all over again, or the manager getting seriously pissed off with the guy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LoRdTAW (99712)

        If you apply to a job which YOU KNOW you are overqualified for, then way send that resume? You don't go to an auto garage and apply for a job stating you have a PHD in mechanical engineering. You go there and tell them you can turn a wrench, replace a head gasket and rebuild a transmission, or are willing to learn those things. It like the time I went to CompUSA out of high school for a summer gig and filled in the application stating my prior computer knowledge was Linux/Unix, C/C++, Assembler, Networking

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "What was your last job? What did you do there? How about the job before that?"

          What do credentials have to do with it? Or were you proposing lying about your employment history? Or perhaps lying about both your age and your employment history? 'cause yeah, that'll help...

      • No unemployment (and really, you get a small fine last I heard) but welfare is DIFFERENT (Uitkering in Dutch). You don't have to job hunt on wellfare, it is for people that are unemployable for whatever reason, in fact, it is meant as safety net for EVERYONE. And it is almost impossible to loose.

        "De (algemene) bijstand is in Nederland de inkomensondersteuning en ondersteuning bij het vinden van werk voor 'wie niet zelf in zijn bestaan kan voorzien' en voor wie geen aanspraak kan maken op voorliggende voorz

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Yhea, same in the Netherlands. 1 job application per week or no welfare. Problem is you are not allowed to apply/take just any job. If you are let's say nuclear physicist and you apply to work as auto-mechanic, they tell you "you should find a job suited for you background, money has been invested in your education" Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

        From free market point of view I do not understand this at all. If a company X can get overqualified person for the announced salary, isn't that good for the company?

        I don't know, Doc Brown made a real mess of my DeLorean

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        From free market point of view I do not understand this at all. If a company X can get overqualified person for the announced salary, isn't that good for the company?

        I would have thought so, too, until the last time I was unemployed a quarter century ago (I retire in a little over a year). There were no jobs in my field, and I went almost two years doing little more than looking for work, every day. Every job I went after I was "too qualified." The thing is, employers don't like turnover and if you're quali

      • by BVis (267028)

        It's the complete opposite in the USA. I've been on unemployment assistance a few times. If you are offered a job, ANY job, you are required to take it so long as you are physically capable of doing the work, and that includes heavy lifting if you don't have a documented disability. It's perfectly legal for someone from Walmart to camp out outside the unemployment office and offer jobs to whoever walks out of the office, and so long as it's done within view of an employee, they are *required* to take tha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      in Germany jobless people have to report any application for a job to the agency and they have to apply for a certain amount of jobs per month or they get no welfare. Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

      Sounds like common sense to me. I just wish governments had enough backbone to actually do stuff like that.

      Whenever you create a system which covers people's basic needs without asking anything in return you'll create a bunch of people who'll take what's offered then dedicate their free time to wheeling and dealing for beer money (usually doing 'easy money' stuff which is detrimental to society...)

      Why would anybody try to get a proper job when they can live like that?

      • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Coisiche (2000870) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:33AM (#42358113)

        It can sound like common sense but as with many thing the devil is in the detail.

        Consider cleaning parks for example. That's going to be a local council responsibility in the UK but in many cases the council probably contract it out to a private company. So within the current framework, if people on benefits are made to do the work then the private enterprise is getting the money for the contract but has lower labour costs. Who becomes the parasite then?

        In principle I have no objection to people on benefits having to carry out some civic function but I am very opposed to any private enterprise profiting as a result. That's why I am opposed to the current UK Workfare scheme. It's not creating jobs; it's just allowing private enterprise to get free labour, in effect making them government subsidised. If they're getting taxpayer funded labour, then I as a taxpayer should get a vote at their AGM.

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          There are many things which local councils don't do due to lack of budget, while they might clean parks they generally don't collect dropped litter from the streets in general (and dropped litter gets everywhere due to the wind)...

          And if a private company is doing such a contract using labour provided as part of the benefits system, then they should either be paying minimum wage to those people instead of benefits, or else the private company should be receiving a significantly reduced fee just for managing

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          That can be fixed...

        • You obviously fire the private company if you no longer have a job for them....

        • by hackula (2596247)
          Fire the private company, since they would now have people to do the job more efficiently on their own. Problem solved. If that had some other issue I am overlooking, then find something else for them to do. The point is that you are making them do SOMETHING so that they have an incentive to go do something better and get out of the system. Make them stack and unstack boxes. It really does not matter. Fill in potholes. Do jumping jacks. Take classes in a field that is hiring (nursing, welding, programming,
      • Re:Germany... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:40AM (#42358157)

        "Whenever you create a system which covers people's basic needs without asking anything in return you'll create a bunch of people who'll take what's offered then dedicate their free time to wheeling and dealing for beer money (usually doing 'easy money' stuff which is detrimental to society...)"

        Um...

        In my state, unemployment is an INSURANCE program that you pay into when you are working. You can only collect if you have paid into it. And you ALSO have to fulfill certain requirements, such as applying for a certain number of jobs per week and turning in those records so they can check up on you.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        I don't disagree with you in principle but let me play devils advocate.

        I left my job to do some traveling once and when i returned was voluntarily unemployed. So I was not collecting any assistance, however I have recent ( a couple years ago ) experience as an unemployed job seeker none the less.

        You work the web. You call your friends, and contacts, and sit by the phone. Well several times I got calls, to the gist of "hey just read you CV can you come in and interview today?"

        You want to be able to take t

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Can you really think of no reasonable way around that...?

          eg. The "slave labor" thing only kicks in after six months of claiming unemployment benefit. Six months is long enough for you to find a job, right?

          The idea isn't to make life difficult for the people who're actually willing to work, it's to get rid of the parasites.

          (Not that I'm under any illusion that the parasites will go out and find proper jobs if you cut their benefits, but at least it saves some taxpayer money...)

      • by radja (58949)

        it sounds like slavery to me, because people are forced to work and do not get any wages. A workforce for the government should be paid at least minimum wage, and not be on welfare which comes with a lot of other restrictions. The system asks a LOT in return for welfare... more than a job, in my dutch experience.

    • As with most systems there is abuse. There are people who want to abuse the system and get money to live and not work. Others just need it to help get them off their feet. If you push forced labor that should crack down on the slackers, however if they are trying to get off your feet finding a job is a full time job.

    • Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

      Or the government could help out and provide said park-cleaning as a JOB you could apply for!

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:53AM (#42359489) Journal

      Most EU countries got two systems, unemployment (typically limited in time and only available to the previously employed) and welfare (typically lower in amount but available to all who qualify by their need). It is NOT that easy to get kicked out of wellfare because it is after all meant to be a safety net to prevent people from sliding into absolute poverty.

      The whole getting the unemployed to work is however a bit of a sham. For instance it has been revealed that programs to get mothers working COST more then they deliver. If it costs 100k to get a person to work for 40k, that is just pointless really. It looks nice in employment statistics but basically the state is subsidizing the employer and the state is you the taxpayer.

      And if moms who work can't volunteer anymore at school and the school now has to hire people to do those tasks, you are even deeper in the red. And if they got to send their kids to subsidized daycare so they can work, that is even more money down the drain.

      Always suspect government figures on this subject. The idea to get the unemployed cleaning parks for instance sounds fun. Who is going to pay for all the hardware needed? Transportation? Supervising?

      It is often just really cheaper to have people sit at home on a minimum income. Not nice but if you want nice, stay out of politics.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

      As long as these people are paid a normal monthly salary for such work, sure, no problem. Or did I misunderstand, and this is actually an attempt to get unpaid slave labour? Coming to think of it, it probably is. And once you start such a program, you can expand it to provide workforce for private companies in a guise of "training" - perhaps for the very company that fired the person in th

  • overly dramatic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agendi (684385) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:35AM (#42357815)
    Is this using a new definition of spying that I'm not aware of? Tracking sure but spying is a bit dramatic.
    • by Tim C (15259) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:45AM (#42357877)
      If you read the article it's barely even that - they're tracking their use of that site, not their computer (or web) use in general. It really is a complete non-story.
      • by arkhan_jg (618674)

        In addition to only being logging the use of the government job search site, and associating it to a given user by cookies*, you're already required to show evidence to the Job Centre that you're looking for work, often by applying for vacancies listed by the Job Centre itself in order to keep your eligibility for Job Seekers Allowance, i.e. your unemployment payments.

        This way, if you're using a computer to search for jobs, using the official Job Seekers search page, that will demonstrate you're looking for

  • by Ckwop (707653) <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:39AM (#42357843) Homepage

    There's an opinion on-line that the UK is turning in to some sort oppressive totalitarian state. It seems like this summary was written with this view in mind. It makes a number of errors of omission.

    The article says it's opt-in! It only applies to that web-site too. That's obviously a huge omission to make from the summary. The summary seems to imply that the government would snoop on all traffic of a job-seeker and it was mandatory.

    Finally, people who are claiming Job Seekers allowance are requesting support from the government while they look for a job. It's not totalitarian to suggest that we ensure that they are actually looking for a job!

    As a taxpayer and a liberal democrat, it's something I support!

    • by jabuzz (182671)

      Not only is it not totalitarian to expect people out of work claiming Job Seekers allowance to be looking for work, it is actually a requirement to receive the benefit.

      In addition last time I had to claim it (about 15 years ago now) you also had show the evidence of the jobs you had applied for or you would loose the benefit.

      • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:30AM (#42358417)

        Not only is it not totalitarian to expect people out of work claiming Job Seekers allowance to be looking for work, it is actually a requirement to receive the benefit.

        Yes, looking for work is a requirement. A stupid totalitarian declares formal rules. A clever totalitarian creates a reasonable rule, then adds various dubious caveats. If IDS says that "anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination,'" then we're talking about the reasonable rule "jobseekers allowance only for those seeking work" backed up with the caveat that "if you're unemployed, it's your own fault," despite the fact that we're in a recession and unemployment is quite high.

        He's ignoring that indolence is not the only cause of unemployment.

    • Yes, in fact, this appears to be something the government is finally getting absolutely right! It kind of amazed me that such a service didn't already exist, but better late than never. Using technology to help improve employment at scale is an obvious and good idea, more of this please!
    • by pev (2186) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:08AM (#42357993) Homepage

      As I understand it from the news last night, it's currently been trialed as an opt-in system but will be rolled out as compulsory in the new year.

      I'm very much liberal but in two minds about it. I've never intentionally signed on except for an educational experience once where I was forced to in order to receive redundancy compensation for months of wages owed when an employer went into liquidation. Now I should explain that I'm an embedded systems engineer and live in a small town in somerset [frome-tc.gov.uk]The experience was fascinating but their system was catering to more laboring jobs than professional. I had to jump through the hoops (despite not wanting to sign on!) so had them trawling through their vacancies. They found me roles as cook, HGV driver, forklift operator, street sweeper... So I suggested searching for more useful terms such as "computer", "software" etc... I think the closest they ever got was IT helpline support in a company a two hour drive away.

      Anyway, my point is, if I *did* find myself unemployed and forced to take the JSA, would I want it dependent on a well intentioned but ultimately useless system deciding that I'm not eligible to get the money for support that I need because I won't apply for jobs that would never be on their system in the first place? Er... No.

      Having said that, the principle is laudable. I know a couple of people that work the system and have never worked an honest days work in their life and have no intention of doing so as they're quite happy on the JSA. But then, they're crafty and any system that's going to work and do the right thing for the majority of people probably wouldn't be capable of forcing them into work anyway.

      • by pev (2186)

        Sorry, bad grammar, I meant to type "can't apply for relevent jobs through their system as the jobs wouldn't be on their system in the first place" ...

        *pesky faulty brain-finger interface*

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        Well, the system should really treat claimants differently depending on their past experience, ie someone who has never worked a day in their life is given the harshest treatment while someone who has been working and paying taxes for years and is suddenly made redundant is given a bit of slack.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        The problem is that making policy to target a tiny minority who don't want to work screws things up for the majority. It doesn't really help with the minority either because they just get forced into a crap job, lose it because they don't want to be there and end up ineligible for JSA and unable to pay their rent, at which point the government has to step in and keep them off the street.

        I suppose we could let them die in the gutter, but it isn't very fair on their kids and once you are homeless it is almost

    • Will be compulsory to use [bbc.co.uk] for jobseekers from next year (as in, 2 weeks from now).

      Have a friend who uses it. They checked the terms and conditions of signing up to use it (remember this is mandatory for those people who wish to sign on for benefits, e.g. somebody who has paid taxes for 20 years and would now like a little back from the taxes to help them get by on important bills for the next few months til they find their next job). If you register on the system, the terms and conditions currently note th

    • The article says it's opt-in! It only applies to that web-site too. That's obviously a huge omission to make from the summary.

      You've not visited a UK jobcentre recently, I take it. "Opt-in" at the government level is like (to use a corporate analogy) "recommendations" from the board that because "encouraged" at the upper management, "strongly encouraged" by the time it reaches middle management, and "optional, but if you don't do it it won't look good at your next pay review" by the time it reaches the ground-floor grunts. Every two weeks is your "pay review" in the jobcentre and if you think it's wearing having to defend your p

      • ... so basically, you wanted to sit on your arse for three months claiming unemploynment benefits without lifting a finger to actually get some money in those three months.

        Tell me, if you had a job starting in 3 months why didn't you (a) live off savings for 3 months or (b) take the crappy fast food job for 3 months? Why do you think the government and the rest of us tax payers should subsidese that 3 month gap of yours?

        • It is part of the taxes you pay when you get a job. It basically a form of insurance. Why shouldn't he claim what he has payed for? The system is WORKING as it should in this case.

        • The bit where I said "full-time"...? I meant full-time as in permanent. If they had only pushed casual jobs at me, fine, but they kept pushing jobs at me that weren't seasonal so I wasn't suitable. Others were in places that you couldn't get to without a car so weren't suitable. I was forced to apply, so I applied. The employers didn't even respond to me... because I wasn't suitable. In my life I've spent 3 months on Jobseekers, and 9 years working full-time, earning a good salary and putting money bac

  • Given how much permatemping runs rampant in the UK and EU (and if the US doesn't amend Right to Work to cover temporary workers, them too), it would be valid to turn offers for "temporary work" that isn't temporary. How about removing the avenues of labor classification abuse by employers as well as removing all the cost reductions?

    Spying on the jobless is just like the job tryout program that Tesco abuses and that some security company abused for the London Olympics - doing nothing to employers and not eq

  • Website owner dares to track users' interactions with the site. Surely this can't be allowed? The end of the world is nigh!

  • by pointyhat (2649443) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:52AM (#42357933)

    This entire scheme is crazy. Why?

    Number one: not everyone has a computer in the UK believe it or not, particularly the over 40's.

    Number two: every government run JobXYZ service only has minimum wage crap which is usually supported by government schemes or has chains of hundreds of applicants. Hiding these jobs behind a web site is just going to hide the problem.

    Number three: it's obviously a cost cutting exercise so they can stick some more booths in the JobCentre sites and get rid of more staff.

    Number four: There aren't actually enough positions to fill in the UK. We've automated or contracted everything out to other countries. People will be unemployed as they are not needed to keep the cogs oiled. Solving the employment problem in the UK is only possible by loom smashing now.

    Number five: the government manage to screw up every IT project out there. This will be another victim.

    argh.

    • It was approved of by someone whose nickname in the Army was "Drunken". Given that this was the British Army, where a certain officer was nicknamed "foggy" because he was wet and thick, that tells you a lot of what you need to know.
    • Number one: not everyone has a computer in the UK believe it or not, particularly the over 40's.

      But everyone on benefits has an iPhone, so what's your argument?

  • by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:17AM (#42358035)

    They want a workforce, but they have to assume it'll be unskilled. They can't put these people to work on virtually anything done by local councils as the unions will go ape and strike. A whole load of demeaning labour is already being done by people on community service sentences and there would be riots if they started treating unemployed people like criminals. That leaves them with one option - making deals with companies in the private sector for cheap workers, effectively being a US-style Welfare to Work scheme. Why does that notion fill me with dread?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Even when there are jobs they are shit. Low hours and low wages, but they still want skills. The government basically wants to force people into these crap jobs, suitable or otherwise. Best of all we get to subsidise these low wages through tax credits and housing benefit.

  • So, the Benefits Agency want to get people to apply for jobs through a website they run, and grind through some analytics to see who is applying for what - or even applying at all.

    Come on, Samzenpus, I know you fell for the tabloid sensationalism and all, but I'd expect better than that from you.

    • Not exactly. They have set up a website with poor security which may be in breach of the Data Protection Act, and their solution to this is to demand that people use it. The European Court is going to love this one.

      I estimate that over my career I've been a net contributor to the Exchequer to well into 6 figures, if not 7. If I become unemployed I expect some of that back. It should not be hard to devise a system which takes contribution into account in assessing benefits, but instead this Government choose

  • by DrXym (126579) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:08AM (#42358295)
    I'm failing to see the issue. If someone is claiming state benefit then the state is entirely within its rights to withhold or limit payments if it believes someone is deliberately not doing all they could regain employment. This is not a new concept. That said, the original article sounds sensational and credits the state with more intelligence than it possesses. I expect if they do anything at all it will be to run a nightly batch job that adds a few rows to the existing unemployment records of a person which say the last time they visited the site, how many jobs they looked at and how many they applied for. It might provide ammunition during an interview and help a decision stick but it's not going to tell welfare officers anything they probably didn't know from talking to a person.

    I think a payment card (which the article also discussed) is way overdue and would cut down benefit fraud and stop people using money they should be spending on food using it to spend on drugs, booze, cigarettes or the geegees.

    • I'm failing to see the issue. If someone is claiming state benefit then the state is entirely within its rights to withhold or limit payments if it believes someone is deliberately not doing all they could regain employment. This is not a new concept. That said, the original article sounds sensational and credits the state with more intelligence than it possesses. I expect if they do anything at all it will be to run a nightly batch job that adds a few rows to the existing unemployment records of a person which say the last time they visited the site, how many jobs they looked at and how many they applied for. It might provide ammunition during an interview and help a decision stick but it's not going to tell welfare officers anything they probably didn't know from talking to a person.

      I think a payment card (which the article also discussed) is way overdue and would cut down benefit fraud and stop people using money they should be spending on food using it to spend on drugs, booze, cigarettes or the geegees.

      Who cares if they spend the payment card funds on booze or cigarettes? I sure don't. Why do you feel the need to tighten the noose around people?

      • by DrXym (126579)
        How is it tightening the noose? Providing you spend the money on food as you are meant to, you are no worse off. However if you are a chronic alcoholic, or drug user or smoker the state should not be funding your habit and providing the benefit as a payment card puts a barrier in the way of using it as such. Second, aside from people abusing the money it could also discourage benefit fraud (since there is less discretionary money available) and detect patterns of fraud since it would go through electronic p
  • by DaMattster (977781) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:26AM (#42358393)
    This makes a strong argument for unplugging from technology altogether. I realize this article is probably a whole lot of sensationalism but it also serves as a slippery slope warning. If laws were enacted similar to this one, I would go old fashioned in my job search altogether. The reality of the situation is that only a small number of people will find ways to take advantage of a system. Should the majority be punished for the transgressions of the few? No, that is tyranny.
  • by randomErr (172078) <ervin...kosch@@@gmail...com> on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:57AM (#42358537) Homepage Journal
    I can just see it now:
    • - You've been matched to 'ditch digger.'
    • - I refuse because I'm a computer science major with a bad back. I can't take that pay cut
    • - We're sorry; you have refused a viable job. All benefits have been terminated.
  • It is fairly pathetic that first world countries in this day and age aren't able to provide the basic dignity of decent payed work to all its citizens.

    Anyone living in a country with involuntary unemployment has no reason whatsoever to be proud of their country. Developed countries my ass. More like undeveloped barbaric countries. All modern first world countries have the capacity to afford to provide low skill jobs to all their citizens (and the job possibilities exists as well) . They just choose to not d

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